I’ve written a lot about the German designer Hans Hillmann in these pages and elsewhere, and the current exhibition running through September 27 at the Kemistry Gallery is a must-see if you’re in London (there are some great images of the exhibit here if you’re not), but I only recently came across the work of a peer and compatriot of Hillmann’s, Karl Oskar Blase. Born the same year as Hillmann, on March 24, 1925, and now in his late 80s, Blase was, like Hillmann, a professor at the Kunsthochschule Kassel. Art director of the German design magazine Form, Blase designed every cover of the magazine from 1957 to 1968. He is also renowned as a designer of stamps.
Throughout the 1960s Blase also designed film posters for the revival house Atlas Films (as did Hillmann). His posters are mostly a mixture of pencil or watercolor sketches and clean, sans serif type, combined most beautifully and dramatically in his Caligari poster. Though he rarely used photographs, I love his incorporation of blurred film stills in his posters for Mon oncle, The Last Laugh and Black Orpheus. He was fond of black and white (though that may have been an economic imperative at Atlas) with bursts of red and green, although the only post-1960s poster of his that I have found was his psychedelic blast of color for 1988’s Candy Mountain.