Phaidon’s monograph, Massin by Laetitia Wolff, is helping me rediscover the legacy of French designer Robert Massin (b. 1925). He may be most recognized for his dedication as an art director at Gallimard. This book succeeds in providing a breadth of information alongside design solutions that in their prime where regarded as revolutionary in the typographic realm. After reading the book in its entirety, you will learn from more than just the biographical facts behind an eclectic designer. The natural flow of the book takes you through the an influential period of French publishing industry (making cross-references on the way). Ending chapters provide supplemental sections for further insight into Massin’s depth of character, inspirations (i.e. His passions and theories intersecting music and design, and collecting type specimens). Every page provides a new design discoveryï¿½"from French book clubs of the 50s to the expressive typography of La Cantatrice Chauve. One section provides biographical information on all the illustrators Massin art directed while working on the Folioseries. And the graphic designer’s/collectors dream is the section with the rare glimpse into Massin’s work environment and collections of visual ephemera and thrift shop jewels. (example photographed spreads below)
Laetitia Wolff was the perfect choice for author of this monograph. She was the curator for the first retrospective exhibition on Massin, back in 2002 (Cooper Union). Don’t want to spoil the rest. If you are in the market to make a new Phaidon purchase, this is one to seriously consider.