"You didn't have to live through the 70s and 80s to know that football design culture used to look a lot cooler."
In 1 Shilling Matthew Caldwell and Alan Dein deliver a deep dive intro the graphic delights of the matchday programme, specifically those produced between the mid '60s and mid '80s - considered by the duo to be the heyday of programme design (and looking at the examples on offer, who would argue?).
As collections of ephemera go, this ranks very highly, not just in the way the examples have been chosen and presented (this is a beautifully published hardback with stunning reproductions throughout), but also in the way that it repositions these humble publications back to a place of worth and importance. Reproduced in their hundreds of thousands each week, these programmes - stuffed into back pockets and often scribbled on - represented much more than just a factual account of 90 minutes spent on a Saturday afternoon; as Craig Oldham says in his excellent forward "They are a really important social, political, historical record for what was, but is much less so now, a fundamentally working-class sport."
What else is striking is the creativity, graphic innovation and pure flair on display here - these magazines were churned out weekly, but there's nothing lazy or dashed off about the examples seen in these pages. These are objects designed by designers, football fans all, creating for their own culture - and they knew how to make something eye-catching and exciting to hold in your hands. Chapters include profiles on some of the better known designers (with a central 50 pages given over to the groundbreaking work of John Elvin), the programme design revolution which began in the '60s, the future of the matchday mag and, of course, a few well chosen words from Craig Oldham.
This is a re-evaluation that is well overdue, and one that has been wonderfully realised. Both authors are, above everything else, football fans and collectors, and that passion is evident on every page and in every word. One day the work of designers such as Donald Addison (whose work for Aberdeen in the '70s should be on the design curriculum) will rub shoulders with your Peter Savilles, Barney Bubbles and Malcolm Garrets. When that day comes, we'll have 1 Shilling to thank for bringing their work to our attention.
Size: 178 x 246mm
Honestly, there's an Aberdeen programme here, designed by Donald Addison in 1970, that wouldn't look out of place in a book about Constructivism.