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Issue Seventeen: Determined Productions

Today's collection is a series of cookbooks created by the Bay Area publisher Determined Productions. Amongst collectors, Determined Productions and their founder, Connie Boucher, are probably best known for their work with Charles Schulz and Peanuts—Connie, a former window-dresser, worked closely with Schulz over many years to produce a barrage of Peanuts merchandise, including Schulz's first book in 1962, the international best seller Happiness is a Warm Puppy. Connie is considered one of the "pioneers" of modern character licensing for her work with Schulz, as she popularized several branded product formats for Peanuts that are still in use today—like the themed calendar and the novelty gift book—as well as established conventions around royalty fees for character creators.

In addition to the Peanuts paraphernalia that established the company early on, Determined Productions quickly extended their reach into other artfully designed books on zeitgeisty topics like astrology, the occult, and booze. The images shown here are from a series of international and topical cookbooks written by Connie’s sister (and de facto D.P. editor in chief) 
June Dutton; the series grew out of June’s love of cooking as well as her many years spent living abroad with her children, and features recipes across a wide range of regions, holidays, and themes.

While all Determined Productions books have a unique look, I’ve always found this series particularly joyful for its bold typography, highly saturated colors, and perfectly odd artwork by frequent collaborators John Astrop, Eric Hill, and Ann & Bruce Butte. Their collective work is exemplary of the postmodernist pop aesthetic established by artists like John Alcorn, Milton Glaser, and Peter Max, as well as of the psychedelic undercurrent inculcating San Francisco design at the time. 

This issue's featured archive is Re:collection, an amazing online database of Australian graphic design history created by Dominic Hofstede. The site is beautifully curated, and intermixes snapshots of interesting design artifacts with more in-depth pieces about notable Australian publications, designers, or studios. My favorite discovery thus far has been the designer and art director Les Mason, an American expat whose impact on the design scene in Melbourne in the '60s and '70s was quite profound (and likely a subject of a future issue of this newsletter!)

As part of an archive-oriented class I'm facilitating next month via Hyperlink Academy, I recently created a Casual Archivist slack group for collecting-curious folks to mingle and share finds—If you'd like to join, please respond to this email and I'd be happy to send you an invite!

Want to try hunting yourself? The Casual Archivist database and archive resource list here has some great places to start.

Looking for something specific? I can help. 
Email me!

A newsletter by Elizabeth Goodspeed
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Elizabeth Goodspeed
1 Bell Street
Providence, RI 02909

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