Designed in the USSR: 1950-1989 is another book from Phaidon. Not a cookbook this time but a rather topical design book which does indeed offer an insightful overview of iconic images from behind the Iron Curtain. There are some flag-waving posters, as one would expect, but even these have influenced graphic art far beyond the borders of the former Soviet states.
This catalogue offers a glimpse of iconic Soviet design from 1950 to 1989, featuring more than 350 examples from the Moscow Design Museum’s comprehensive collection. There are children’s toys, folk art, fashion and fabrics as well as household items and electrical goods. The book is arranged into three chapters – Citizen, State, and World. There is a whole spectrum here from the humble coffee tin to an Olympic torch.
Designs are still relevant
But is Designed in the USSR: 1950-1989 still relevant in this ever-changing landscape? I would suggest that these designs are as relevant now, and in some cases even more so, than when they were first produced. New artists and designers will welcome the chance to take another and focused look at work from this era.
One finds here economy, practicality, bold lines, sometimes a Soviet message and view of the world, and even the odd bit of whimsy. One doesn’t have to be a fan of this regime, or that which came after, to appreciate how important these designs were at the time. It’s all very retro and nostalgic but it still makes a design statement.
Designed in the USSR: 1950-1989 would be the ideal gift for any product designer or graphic artist.
Designed in the USSR: 1950-1989
Author: Moscow Design Museum
Publisher: Phaidon Press