all these wonderful examples were won on ebay. i love each one more than the next. two of them fall into two of my collecting categories: german book design and the czech avant garde. the third, well, is just wonderful type. i don’t really care much about who designed these or their provenance. they provide inspiration. over the years i have found it extremely helpful when discussing a design direction with a designer to pull something that he or she might not have seen. you often hear that a designer shows up with his or her portfolio and it is obvious that they have never heard of such and such a designer. i recall being asked by my teachers if i had every heard of this designer or that designer. since i studied art history first, i think my method for studying graphic design took a more historical approach. does that mean knowing design history is important to being a graphic designer or a creative director? i recall working in a studio years ago. it was a wonderful place, an amazing carriage house. next to the entrance was a framed josef albers print. one day a messenger came in and asked if it was a josef albers. i was standing there with a young designer who had graduated recently from art school, so i thought i would let her answer. she said she didn’t know. of course i was shocked. i thought every design student would know josef albers. the ensuing conversation that took place among the designers in the studio was about whether it was important to know who josef albers was and did it actually matter. i felt it was important to know what had come before, and that the knowledge would imbue your design. however one designer disagreed completely. he didn’t see what value it would add. well, the conversation divided into two camps. this was twenty five years ago, and i felt pretty strongly that design history, art history, architecture history, hell, history in general, is pretty worthwhile. do I still feel as strongly? i don’t think I would argue with quite the intensity i did then. i certainly would not get bent out of shape about it. i don’t know the individual designers of these pieces. however not knowing might be just fine.