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Christopher Wilson

Christopher Wilson is a British graphic designer (under the name Oberphones) and writer about graphic design. He graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1996 and the Royal College of Art in 2002. As a writer, his work has been published in Dot Dot Dot, Eye, and other magazines; he also designed, and wrote most of, the book Designed by Peter Saville. He worked as Richard Hollis’s assistant on many projects in the years 1999–2004. For more, see here.


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Richard Hollis designs for the Whitechapel: a graphic designer and an art gallery at work in twentieth-century London

Christopher Wilson

Richard Hollis was the graphic designer for London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery in the years 1969–73 and 1978–85. In this second period, under the directorship of Nicholas Serota, the gallery came to the forefront of the London art scene, with pioneering exhibitions of work by Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Joseph Cornell, Philip Guston, Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti, among others. Hollis’s posters, catalogues, and leaflets, conveyed this sense of discovery, as well as being models of practical graphic design. The pressures of time and a small budget enhanced the urgency and richness of their effects. Christopher Wilson’s monograph is an exemplary examination of a body of graphic design. This book matches the spirit of the work it describes: active, passionate, aesthetically refined, and committed to getting things right. As in Hollis’s work, ‘design’ here is a verb as much as a noun.

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‘This is one of the best books on graphic design ever’

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We agree with Michael Bierut, a serious reader and judge of graphic design books. He made this comment yesterday on the Instagram feed of Adrian Shaughnessy (another serious reader and judge of graphic design books). Earlier, in November 2019, Bierut had praised this book in a Design Observer podcast, rightly pointing to its special flavour as both design scholarship and design journalism. ‘It is just enthralling’, he said. In the podcast, Bierut tells how he found the book by personal recommendation – which is how so many books are sold and bought. Read more