Category Archives: design

The Hammond Radio Museum

I find that I’m increasingly interested in both the appearance and function of radios, and how these two aspects interact.

Two summers ago, when visiting Guelph, where Dorothea and I were born and (for the most part) grew up, I visited the Hammond Museum of Radio. You can read a report of my visit in the Halifax Amateur Radio Club newsletter from October 2015.

The radios (and a handful of televisions) at the museum span the history of radio up to around the 1980’s. What struck me was the extraordinary effort some manufacturers made in cabinetry design. Hallicrafters, a manufacturer of communications receivers—not exactly a priority consumer item—went to great lengths to design functional but desirable rigs. I didn’t know this at the time of my museum visit, but the company hired designer Raymond Loewy in the late 1940’s to design the S-40A, which is one of only two Loewy designs that has found its way into the MOMA. Loewy’s work raised the aesthetic bar for other radio makers such as Zenith and Electrohome.

Christopher Chapman, 1927-2015

Christopher Chapman
He had a unique doorstop at his front door.

I was sorry to read in the Globe and Mail of the recent passing of Oscar-award-winning Christopher Chapman. He was an acolyte of Eric Aldwinckle, and I met him and his wife Glen at his Uxbridge home about ten years ago when researching a book on Eric. Christopher was a brilliant innovator who mastered the technique of choreographing multiple moving images in one large movie frame. He won his Oscar with the short film at Expo ’67: “A Place To Stand“.

He was a gentleman.

Design is in the Details

Recently sent to design students:

If you’re receiving this email, you have sent me information regarding your third assignment, but what you’ve sent is not what I’ve asked for.

When I was just out of school and had a burgeoning illustration career, I made a terrible mistake: I gave an art director what he didn’t ask for, thinking that he was getting better than what he’d asked for. I re-did the assignment, but word got around, and I never got another assignment in that industry. It may have been a good thing for me in the long run, but it was a difficult lesson to learn.

So please look carefully at the assignment brief and consider that if you do not pay attention to details, you may slide through school, but your career as a designer will be a short and/or unhappy one!