In 1934, the celebrated editor of Harper's Bazaar, Carmel Snow, was on the look-out for a new art director – someone with the talent, and courage, to transform the title into the legendary fashion magazine it is today. Snow chose Alexey Brodovitch, a young Russian émigré designer who'd arrived in the US only four years previously and who immediately set about creating a revolution in editorial design.
Brodovitch's star shone brightly at Harper's – he was the first man to fully integrate text and image (standard now but revolutionary then), and he championed the work of great photographers like Man Ray, Herbert Matter, Lillian Bassman and André Kertész – but it was the book Observations, a monograph of the work of Richard Avedon, that confirmed his legend in design history.
In this exclusive video, London-based Swiss designer Daniel Baer (the man behind the design of our brilliant Joel Meyerowitz retrospective) discusses Brodovitch's unique approach, his "chaotic" layout and the lasting influence of one of the greatest monographs of all time.
Read more about Alexey Brodovitch, Harper's Bazaar and Observations in The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design, currently 50% off.