FHK Henrion: The Complete Designer


I became aware of Unit Editions upon the release of Manuals 1: Design & Identity Guidelines. While perusing their site, I also ordered Herb Lubalin, American Graphic Designer and FHK Henrion: The Complete Designer. I will write a post about three other two books at some point.

Every book Unit Editions publishes looks fabulous, and FHK Henrion is even better felt in person than seen in photos. It’s a great example of how physical books cannot always be replicated in digital form. The book is a beautifully printed 544 page hardback with a foiled slipcase. The first 110 pages explore Henrion’s early life, the various disciplines he excelled in including advertising, packaging, branding, as well as exploring his legacy. This is an in-depth exploration of his contributions to design, and thankfully not a book full of images lacking context.

The bulk of the book focusses on his creative output and is divided into nine disciplines plus a section titled Artwork. This final section is a collection of drawings and camera-ready artwork that had to be prepared for every project before the computer era. I fondly remember PMTs and cutting rubylith at school and loved seeing these examples of craftsmanship.

The publication closes with an exhaustive list of FHK Henrion’s clients, teachings, awards, curriculum vitae, and bibliography. fhk-henrion-cover-detail fhk-henrion-cover-slipcover fhk-henrion-contents-1 fhk-henrion-contents-2 fhk-henrion-spread-1 fhk-henrion-spread-2 fhk-henrion-detail-2 fhk-henrion-spread-3 fhk-henrion-detail-3 fhk-henrion-spread-4 fhk-henrion-spread-5 fhk-henrion-spread-6 fhk-henrion-detail-1 fhk-henrion-spread-7 fhk-henrion-spread-8 From the Unit Editions website:

The designer FHK Henrion has no equal in British graphic design history. No UK designer – then or now – can match his sheer depth of accomplishments and range of abilities.

Born in Germany, he trained as a textile designer before becoming a skilled and celebrated poster artist. As a British citizen after WWII, he designed publications, exhibitions, household products, interiors and jewellery, and in the 1960s he became the founding father of modern corporate identity in Europe.

He had an exceptional talent for rational and systematic graphic design at a time when design was still a cottage industry. Almost single-handedly he created the model of the modern professional graphic designer.

Henrion was also a notable design educator, and an energetic spokesman for his profession. He published books, wrote articles, lectured extensively and was the force behind numerous design organizations. He was admired and liked by his employees, pupils and associates, and especially by his clients. But he was also a designer with a social conscience, and a designer who rebelled against the over-commercialisation of the design profession in the 1980s.

This book is the first comprehensive monograph of the work of FHK Henrion. Lavishly illustrated and designed with precision and flair, it charts his early experiments as a pre-war poster artist and culminates in his work as the creator of some of the most celebrated – and enduring – logos and identities of the 20th century, including Tate+Lyle, KLM, Blue Circle Cement and LEB.

FHK Henrion was the complete designer.

Unit Editions has produced an exceptional volume that is worth every penny. They offer free worldwide shipping (I received mine in Canada surprisingly fast), and even the packing had incredible tape adorned with FHK Henrion logos. Unit mails the book using plastic ‘protective corners’ to protect the book during shipping. I love their attention to detail.

FHK Henrion: The Complete Designer is published by Unit Editions, authored by Adrian Shaughnessy, and designed by Spin

Update: Print has a great interview with the author Adrian Shaughnessy: FHK Henrion Remembered, Revisited, Regaled

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