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Gorgeous Vintage British Road Safety Ads, 1939-1946

“Lookout in the blackout — think before you cross the road.”

Vintage visual communication has a special kind of mesmerism — from travel posters to political infographics to science ads. But beautifully designed vintage PSAs and public-interest propaganda stand as a particularly striking echelon of design as a mind-mover, and perhaps a bittersweet testament to the downhill spiral of similarly intentioned modern-day creative efforts. On the heels of this 1969 bike safety manual come a series of stunning vintage road safety from the UK National Archives.

‘Shine your torch downwards when crossing the road’ (1939-1946)
Artist: Tom Gentleman
Pastel and gouache on paper. Graphite lines, numbers and inscriptions.
‘Drivers; make sure you can always pull up within the range of your headlights’ (1939-1946)
Artist: Tom Gentleman
Pastel and gouache on paper. Graphite lines, numbers and inscriptions.
‘Cyclists; make sure you can be seen in the black-out’ (1939-1946)
Artist: Tom Gentleman
Pastel and gouache on paper. Graphite lines, numbers and inscriptions.
Female and male figures walking at night (1939-1946)
Artist: Tom Gentleman
Pastel and gouache on paper. Graphite lines, numbers and inscriptions.
‘Take no chances. Keep death off the road’ (1939-1946)
Artist: Ashley
‘Lookout in the blackout. Think before you cross the road’ (1939-1946)
Artist: Pat Keely
Gouache appears to have been applied to thick paper stuck to a board support. Ink has possibly been used for the technique of air-brushing.
‘Look out in the blackout. Until your eyes get used to the darkness take it easy’ (1939-1946)
Artist: Pat Keely
Gouache appears to have been applied to thick paper stuck to a board support. Ink has possibly been used for the technique of air-brushing.
‘Cross only at the lights’ (1939-1946)
Artist: Pat Keely
Gouache appears to have been applied to thick paper stuck to a board support. Ink has possibly been used for the technique of air-brushing. There is a graphite mark on the board.
‘Lookout in the blackout – think before you cross the road’ (1939-1946)
Artist: Pat Keely
Gouache appears to have been applied to thick paper stuck to a board support. Ink has possibly been used for the technique of air-brushing. There is a graphite mark on the board.
‘Walk left of the pavement’ (1939-1946)
Artist: Pat Keely
Gouache appears to have been applied to thick paper stuck to a board support. Ink has possibly been used for the technique of air-brushing.
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Beautiful 1921 Woodcuts by Virginia Woolf’s Sister

Black-and-white beauty from a rare vintage edition.

It has been argued that music had a profound influence on Virginia Woolf’s work, her growing feminism, and her understanding of social class, sexuality, and pacifism.

The original edition of Woolf’s collection Monday or Tuesday (public library), published by Hogarth Press in 1921 in a limited run of 1,000 copies, featured stunning full-page black-and-white woodcut illustrations for Woolf’s short story “A String Quartet” by her artistically gifted sister, the acclaimed Bloomsbury painter Vanessa Bell.

The short story collection owes its title to a passage in a chapter titled “Modern Fiction” from Woolf’s classic 1919 treatise The Common Reader, where the beloved author contemplates the heart of storytelling:

Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day. The mind receives a myriad impressions — trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel. From all sides they come, an incessant shower of innumerable atoms; and as they fall, as they shape themselves into the life of Monday or Tuesday.

Though lacking Bell’s beautiful woodcuts, a standard, text-only version of Monday or Tuesday is available as a free Kindle download.

BP

The Edge: Hunter S. Thompson on the Burden of the Living, Animated

“The only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”

Last year, Gonzo: A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson became one of the year’s best graphic novels and works of graphic nonfiction. Now, visual artist Piotr Kabat has employed a similar black-and-white graphic style in this wonderful short animated homage to Thompson, based on an excerpt from the 2010 film Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. The title and focus come from one of Thompson’s most famous quotes, from the 1966 nonfiction novel Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs:

The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others — the living — are those who pushed their luck as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later.

For similar Thompson goodness in print form, treat yourself to Gonzo.

BP

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