Project Description


In about 1949, Marber joined an evening class in drawing and painting at St. Martin’s School of Art, London. During this time he befriended a member of staff, Roger Nicholson and a lifelong friendship began, which later included Romek working for Roger, and his brother Robert, on their Cunic office partition system.

When Robert turned to publishing, establishing Robert Nicholson Publications in the late sixties, he enlisted Marber as designer, triggering another successful collaboration. Robert had seen a gap in the market for well-designed, informative pocket guidebooks and in 1968 he produced Nicholson’s London Guide, the first of many Nicholson’s guidebooks that Marber would design covers for and the all-important internal typography. Marber’s ingenious register, clear layout, and attractive presentation of technical information was accessible and simple to use. The book was an immediate hit, at home and internationally. Marber designed a number of other Nicholson’s London guides which followed, including specialist guides for students and visitors. The most successful title, Nicholson’s London Street Finderwith Marber’s distinctive cover design, featured Marber’s arrow logo for Nicholson’s placed at the bottom right corner of the cover with its street map reveal. Such was the popularity and commercial success of the London street guides that many were reprinted in various editions and formats, in large numbers which brought Marber considerable repeat royalties. At the start of the 1970s, when Robert embarked on a new venture of Guides to London, Marber was appointed consultant designer to Robert Nicholson Publications. Realising that there was nothing about the River Thames, in 1969 Robert published Nicholson’s Guide to the Thames. Further guides on other popular themes were then released using the same concept of each section of map including references to pubs, towns and villages, and places of interest. Marber’s carefully considered information graphics were well-received. While the Centre Pompidou in Paris wrote to Marber to enquire about the possibility of using examples of Marber’s typography for Nicholson’s in their cartography exhibition, in the 1971 catalogue, Making The City Observable, the American architect and graphic designer Richard Saul Wurman declared, “Nicholson’s London Guide is one of the most convenient and comprehensive pocket guides to any major metropolitan centre in the world”.