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PROVO | Amsterdam’s Anarchist Revolt


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Provo | Amsterdam's Anarchist Revolt

947.6 kem 1
designer: Josh MacPhee

 

The title of the book strongly indicates that it is of political context. Provo is based on a political struggle in the mid 60′s, that focused on provoking violent responses from authorities using non-violent bait. It is an Amsterdam-based anarchist, political, social and art movement. Its interventions where staged into the symbolic and everyday spaces of Holland. What is interesting to look at, is that the activists involved with this movement, where really creating their own distinctive posters, graphics and other forms of art, such as political spectacles and street theater, illustrating their beliefs and intentions.
Walls and words, silk-screen posters and hand printed flyers where the revolutionary media passed out in public. The Provo radicals would carry out total black or even totally blank banners, purposely provoking the police in a ‘ludic’ attitude. They would relate themselves to Dada, constructivist movements, Bauhaus and other Russian ways.

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They took existing rules and decided to play within them, to see how far they could push the limits of those rules.
They were not allowed to use actual slogans, so they decided to use unwritten banners. They made use of the ambiguous nature of play: They were protesting, but at the same time not protesting. There were no forbidden slogans on their banners, but at the same time, the slogans were ever so present throughout their absence.

pro0102-provo-artists-book-god-nederland-oranje  Anarchy

 

 

It is a simple, black & white book. Its design is intentionally simple, in this way successfully highlighting the content of the book, erasing any type of decorative matter. Looking at it’s outline, it is clearly characterized within the Provo attitude. It is not modern or in any way trying to draw attention through some kind of unusual graphic design. The pages are matte and the text produced with a bold, black typeface. The only evident, decorative detail are some thick black lines and squares either on the sides and bottoms of each page or in the beginning of a new chapter. The ink on the paper seems quite thick, giving the impression that if you rub the pages in the book you can almost able to scent, as well as feel it.
Consequently, it successfully carries out a very strong depiction, that the book itself, could be an original Provo pamphlet or poster. The do-it-yourself feeling is well portrayed through its design. The cover of the book itself is also represented by a successfully eye-catching Provo poster, illustrating a pair of gigantic feet ready to be chopped off by a tiny white figure.

It’s photographic documentation is much intriguing.

The designers background totally reflects upon the the books context and therefore explains his design. Josh MacPhee is a Brooklyn based artist, activist and archivist. He is also a print-maker and a self-taught historian of 21st century left politics. He established a distribution system called ‘Justseeds’, a decentralized, worker-owned cooperative of twenty-five other artists. Justseeds relates to social and environmental movements and issues in order to get more radical art projects out to the public. Their work illustrates an extraordinary aesthetic range of radical movements during the past 50 years and explores the rise of powerful countercultures that evolve beyond traditional politics, creating distinct forms of art, lifestyles and social organizations. MacPhee’s simple aim is to use art, such as visual and graphic work, to inject protest politics into public discourse.

Besides Justseeds, MacPhee also organizes  the ‘Celebrate Peoples History Poster Project’, an ongoing poster series in which  different artists create posters to document and remember moments in radical history. He himself, has a big collection on political posters. He collects, for instance, Cuban political posters as, while according to him, they are some of the “most aesthetically diverse, experimental and impactful in the history of political posters.”

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Josh MacPhee
No Fence Uncut
offset printed postcard

043Steps1_400

Josh MacPhee
Three Steps
3 color screenprint

VISUAL CULTURE OF PROTEST
VISUAL CULTURE OF PROTEST
VISUAL CULTURE OF PROTEST
VISUAL CULTURE OF PROTEST

A wise man


Thursday, October 30, 2014

DESIGN-RESEARCG1.pdf

She put a spell on me


Thursday, October 30, 2014

   

The book was staring at me. With its big shiny, purple letters saying BOEZEM, the Dutch word for bosom, and its firm, solid appearance, almost like a brick. What could this book be about? Anyway, this title, the bookmaker must definitely have been aware of the confronting and maybe also provocative impact it has on its audience. Me, in this case. I found it daring. I found it also daring that there was no picture, no nothing on the cover, except for those letters. I felt like touching the book. I lifted it from the shelves and it surprised me once again. Whereas I had considered the book as quite minimalistic and probably consisting of just the two colours black and purple, it actually had this very subtle grey pattern on the side, looking a bit like stars in the galaxy. When opening the book it had more surprises for me. So much information! Totally not the white, sterile pages that I had expected, with maybe equally sterile pictures and once in a while a minimalistic amount of text. There were drawings, there was text, dark green as well, and both black and white pictures and full-page colour prints…

“I want to make books with a high amount of density and content.”

BOEZEM

 

Says Irma Boom, the designer of BOEZEM. You can say that in that sense, this one is a very typical book of hers. Just during a first sec google-investigation, I found out that she is probably the most famous Dutch book designer of the moment and that she has made over 250 books. It made me wonder; if I had known this designer Irma Boom, would I have known that the design of BOEZEM was hers? In other words: if aperson makes this many books, is his or her ‘handwriting’ visible in every single one of the books? Is it even evitable? And maybe even more important: would a clearly visible signature of the designer rather thwart or support a proper presentation of what the book is about?

On the other hand, it made me wonder about what it is in specific that makes people like her books so much. I knew that I had already experienced it in kind of an intuitive way, when getting drawn to her design for BOEZEM. And the way I responded to this book must be an experience a lot of people have when seeing one of her books. Otherwise, she would not have been praised so much as a book designer. But what are the more concrete causes for this?

In order to find out more, first I decided to get more informed about her books; about what kind of projects she has done and about the books` appearances. I started searching on the internet for interviews and articles and I also went to the bookshop Nijhof & Lee that has two bookshelves dedicated to Irma Boom`s designs. To get more of an overview, to hold the books, and experience them as the objects they are. Some of her projects that were the most striking to me, seemed to be also the most famous.
For example, there is the SHV Thinkbook (not in the book shop) which is a jubilee book for SHV, a family owned company with interests mainly in the energy-industry and it is a collaboration between Boom and the art historian Johan Pijnappel.  It weighs a little less than 4 kilograms, has 2136 pages and is made up of poems, quotes, letters, advertising, interviews, reports, speeches, memos and photographs from the company`s archive. The book has no page numbers, because it is not meant to be read from beginning to end, but as a ‘voyage’; you have to discover things by coincidence. The touch of Irma Boom becomes maybe the most expressed in all the little details: the poem on the side, the text on the cover that only becomes visible after the book is being used, the fact that there are a lot of pictures in it of family members with their dogs…
Another example is N°5 Culture Chanel, a book printed with no ink, because all the text and all the images are embossed. Just like the perfume, you see it, but it`s not there. This book as well has some interesting detail. The book for instance has a height of 5 centimetres, referring to the name of the perfume, and it is fully white and goes in a black box, referring to the relation between Chanel and black and white.
Furthermore, there is Colour Based on Nature, which consists of colour diagrams that are derived from 80 natural locations designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. The book pages have to be torn open in order to let more diagrams appear. Another notorious example is Sheila Hicks: Weaving as a metaphor. One of the many beautiful details are the rough edges that refer to Hick`s tapestry.

Those are just some examples, but they already show how variant the projects are that Boom has done. Every book is a totally different object, having an original style adapted to the subject and interesting new details, and with a totally different format.

“Perhaps every book I make is kind of a failure that I constantly  want to improve by the next book.”

 

But still this doesn`t necessarily exclude that there are some resemblances throughout Boom`s designs, because there definitely are. They differ from returning details – little obsessions maybe – to approach of book design, but one thing is clear: they are indispensable for a Boom-design.

What the books are known for in the first place, is their object-like quality; they are almost like pieces of architecture. This I experienced when seeing BOEZEM and having the association of a brick. Boom sees the book as a container of a lot of information, an ongoing thing, with a permanent quality (of spreading information), in contrast to the internet. And this of course should be manifested in and attained by the design of the book. This is also why the books` edges are almost always incorporated into the overall design: to make it one whole. Besides, a lot of the books ask for interaction and this way a relation is stimulated between the viewer and the content.
Next to that, attention to detail is what`s very much essential for a Boom-book. Through those exceptional details, Boom is really able to make –mostly symbolic– links between design and content. Otherwise there`s these recurrent little features Boom seems to be fan of, such as embossment, reversed chronological order, and every publishers` worst nightmare: the white cover.
But actually most of all, her books scream uncommonness, everything in it is opposite of what you would expect.
So, the designs certainly have things in common and are in this way sort of connected, very much also approach-wise. This you can call Irma Boom`s signature, but I think it would go too far to define her signature by an obviously present personal ‘imprint’.
But let`s get back to the other questions I raised in the beginning of the article. As a book designer, is it actually desirable to have your signature visible in your designs? And if not, is it even avoidable?

 

“Making a book you should do with your heart, intuitively”

If this is Boom`s belief, how can her own ideas and preferences of aesthetics not prevail? But still, by saying that she wants to make the book for someone and not just a book, you might actually conclude that Boom tries to keep out anything that refers to herself, as a book designer and as a person, so the book can be fully centred around its subject. You could translate this statement of Boom`s to the aim for objectivity. But just have a quick look at her books, and you are assured that her books are far from objective. Her taste, her humour, and her willingness to experiment always become apparent.

And the fusion of Boom and a subject, it seems to work. The adding of a little subjectivity of Irma Boom, so to speak, seems to lift the subject. It seems to give it a structure, a context, a voice maybe… This effect is also enhanced by the fact that Boom is often the editor of a book as well. Maybe this kind of ‘subjectivity’ that Boom incorporates in her designs is part of what makes her so successful. So, in case of Irma Boom, she is sort of depending on her signature and thus it is very desirable for her and her audience.

From a different standpoint of view, if someone, a publisher, a company, or an artist asks her if she wants to make a book for them, wouldn`t they want to let shine through in the design a little bit of the ‘handwriting’ of Boom? She is so renowned that it is such an honour if she makes a book for you. Let it be visible, they would probably think. Besides, it obviously sells better when people know that she is the designer, or it could mean something very good for one`s career… look at Sheila Hicks. The already mentioned and many awards winning book that Boom made for her, instantly gave her a huge career boost. Of course, you can also question why customers buy one of Boom`s books in the first place. Is it because they are actually drawn to the book itself? Or is it because they are drawn to the fact that the famous Irma Boom has done the design? Looking at it in this way, does Boom`s signature perhaps stand in the way of properly presenting the subject? Anyway, fact is that the people she makes books for are almost always very content with the outcome. And who knows better if the subject is well presented, than the subject itself?

Simple as it is, that is what Boom does: she evokes excitement. At the time, her own wild ideas excited herself, and through realising them she shares with us that feeling. Going for the realisation of these wild ideas, it also takes some courage, and I think this is also something a lot of people respond to. Boom is not afraid. She is not afraid to personally connect herself to the subject, she is not afraid to not know at forehand what the exact outcome will be, she is not afraid to take her time (it took her five years to finish the SHV book), and she is definitely not afraid to do the uncommon. But most of all, she is not afraid to disappoint her clients or to not do what they want. The risk-taking in combination with her ingenuity and eye for beauty are always the recipe for a special result. Most people love this specialness, but of course a risk-taker has a lot of enemies as well. In the beginning it took Boom probably a lot more courage to not listen to them than nowadays, since she is a very respected and many awards-winning book designer.

It all started with a very intuitive attraction to a book that turned out to be made by one of the world`s most famous book designers. Now it ends with me feeling like having at least partly unravelled the magic behind it. But even if I might have unravelled the magic a little bit, the spell that Irma Boom`s books put on me, is definitely not broken.

Don’t judge a book by its cover


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Esther de Vries is a graphic designer specialized in book design. Among many projects, she made two books on her father, the sculptor Auke de Vries. The two books, dealing with the same artist, are yet very different, the first one, Auke de Vries Photo Archives, being much more intimate than the second one, Auke de Vries: Sculptures, drawing and work in public space, which is more meant as an chronological overview on the evolution of the artistic career  of Auke de Vries. But what is surprising is that both books are very different from the first impression the reader can get just by watching the cover.

 

 

Indeed, at first sight and because of its very strong cover and size, the biggest book seems to be one of those very classical and sometimes deadly boring art books that present an exhaustive view of the work of an artist. But going into the design and the content of the volume you can experience it as an actual novel object. A lot of different materials are used in the book, making it exciting to go through, and a great importance is accorded to the process, thus gathering a collection of sketches, photographs and forms that helped or influenced the artist with his sculptures, and even pictures of the artist working in his studio. On all those pictures the text is set in a indubitable playful way, sometimes covering the images.

 

 

 

An other particularity that makes the book playful and thrilling is the use of very thin pages presenting a compilation of different forms, cut from a photograph of a work of the artist and magnified.Those pages refers to the collection of forms that the artist developed and used constantly in his work, that Esther was keen to scatter through the pages as what she calls an alphabet.

 

 

 

As for Photo Archives, the fabric and very simple cover makes it look at first glance as a secondary book, very small and discreet, soft, not meant to go through the years as the other one. But once more the design and content makes it very special, in a precious and sprightly way. While the other book is meant to present mainly the evolution of the artist’s works, this photography book shows through the collection of pictures the process that took place even before the artworks, as a wandering in the thoughts of the artist.

 

 

 

Here the relation to the reader is completely unusual, as there is no chronological order or reading direction. The reader, who is more a viewer since there is no text, can open the book in the middle, at the end, or open the same page again and again, led to wander in the same way that the artist was wandering when he took those pictures.

 

 

This is also a quite seducing book, designed between rule and coincidence with a set of colors and places for the pictures that are sometimes cut in two by the Japanese binding, leading the reader to focus on a particular shape that recalls Auke de Vries’ work. Thus, the two books are very different from the first feeling you can get from them.

 

Yet, maybe Esther’s work, or at least those two books, deals a lot with feeling. That is to say the very strong feeling that the reader can get in both cases of a close connection between the work of the artist and the design of the books which pay homage to this work. It might has to do with the fact that both books where meant to be made by Esther herself, and not to order, hence the liberties in the design. This is also allowed by the very long process that the designer went through while making those books, meticulously choosing each picture and composition, trying all the colors with each image again and again, changing direction until being fully satisfied, regardless of time.

 

All that makes both works very touching and the enthusiasm of the designer becomes very apparent, discovering a treasure made of all those pictures and willing to share it, making it as complete as possible to preserve the emotion aroused by the pictures themselves.

 

Photo Archives catalog number: Vrie 5 (Rietveld Library)

Sculptures, Drawing and Work in Public Space catalog number: 832 E 13 (Rijksmuseum Library)

art essay > web journal > printed reader > automated design


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Publication: e-flux journal, Hito Steyerl – The Wretched of the Screen

Publisher: Sternberg Press

Designer: Kloepfer-Ramsey-Kwon

Rietveld catalog no: stey1

 

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e-flux sprung out as an autonomous platform for art critique and comissioned art theoretical essays in 1998, eventually launching a monthly online publication consisting of a text heavy PDF in near A4 format, in 2008.

Jeff Ramsey (of design studio Kloepfer-Ramsey-Kwon) studied graphic design at Werkplaats Typografie in the Neatherlands around the same time as e-flux was drafting their online publication. Through a local contact he was given the design assignment, containing few artistic restrictions. Working with a programmer he developed a tool that would operate according to a number a pre-determined rules (ie pictures should stand alone on pages, be placed as close as possible to their point of reference in the text, be sized according to importance; which in turn are factors assigned by the writer or editor, not the designer, when feeding the text into the template).

The first 5 issues of e-flux journal were supervised by the designer but have since been laid out solely by the editors of e-flux. The template tool is thus a wysiwyg-layout software custom made for this particular purpose.

As the number of web based journals grew e-flux aspired to publish a physical, printed paper reader; grouping new and previous essays by theme. Some of thus far 8 published readers are named/themed:

What Is Contemporary Art? / Are You Working Too Much? Post-Fordism, Precarity, and the Labor of Art / Moscow Syposium: Conceptualism Revisited 

For consistency, the printed reader is almost an exact, but cropped, version of the online journal, fitting one column of text per page instead of two (see below)

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 11.23.23 AM

(PDF  journal in grey, paper reader in white)

 

e-flux have gravitated towards simplistic and to-the-point design since day one. Helvetica was their web type, so in order to connect the journals to the existing material Kloepfer-Ramsey-Kwon developed a similar “quite-like-Helvetica-but-not-Helvetica” typeface for e-flux, arranging the text to reminisce of the original on-screen reading. Pages are filled edge to edge with a sans serif type. Short margins, vertically oriented notes (page numbers/titles/etc) clearly differentiate it from, for instance, the pocket sized novel, which would often be printed in a similar shape and format.

 

 

e-flux_Jalal Toufic_Final_spreads-3

 

 

The design is intentionally simple in material as well as execution; highlighting the content without decoration or gloss. No waxed paper is featured (not even the soft and fairly fragile cover). Pages are deliberately matte, uniform and sobre. A dignified quality is communicated when the recipient holds a copy of the reader in their hand. The format is small, slightly below A5, fitting comfortably in one hand – yet thick enough not to be flimsy. This is a type of printed matter that lends itself to be carried, used and actually red without becoming tattered. It is also a book who’s look wouldn’t suffer if it did, since no ambition towards “pretty” is made.

 

Aside from e-flux Kloepfer-Ramsey-Kwon work with other large art clients such as MoMA, Carnegie, Whitney Museum and Guggenheim. Catering to art institutions as well as individual artists (for book and graphic design) has been a conscious strategy. The co-founders wished for greater freedom to execute their ideas – which they often get when working when artist – contrasting institutions, which tend to be more bureaucracy oriented and constricted by earlier graphic profile, printing methods, etc. K-R-K also believe that the art circuit allows for a greater intellectual challenge for them as design professionals, for instance: inviting the client to collaborate on an assignment might lead to ideas and solutions the designers alone would not have arrived at.

 

The actual design process varies, from luck/intuition with “first version is the best version” to long stretches of tedious pushing, tweaking for weeks until a direction which is ready to be presented to the client appears. Strategically, all while being able to produce large volumes of work (see Saddam Hussein covers at www.kloepfer-ramsey.us/ for example) the designers prefer to present only one idea to the client.

“We are constantly going for higher quality work, so we keep on sketching – but once we arrive to something we believe in, we’ll present that and start re-working it with the client.” – Jeff Ramsey

 

http://k-r-k.us/

http://www.e-flux.com/about/

 

The Indefinable Nature of Graphic Design


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book cover

 

catalog numbers

Can I make everybody happy?: 750.1 bra1
I Heard They Ripped It Off: 750.1 eke1
Our Daily Debates: 750.1 stö 1
37 Assignments: 750.1 sir 1
Talks about Money: 750.1 bar 1

 

In the following essay, an almost complete series of books will be discussed in comparison to each other, regarding the design, layout, and publishing choices that the respected artists/designers or publishers had to face. The books in question (both written and designed by) are: Talks About Money by John Barclay, I Heard They Ripped It Off by Robin Ekemark & Brita Lindvall, 37 Assignments by Indrek Sirkel, Can I Make Everybody Happy? by Dag Brandsæter & Noa Segal, and Our Daily Debates by Nina Støttrup Larsen. The books in this series enquire into the different fields of graphic design, where the basic understanding of what graphic design actually is seems equivocal. They investigate this lack of definition in the different fields as a means to contribute to an otherwise arbitrary profession. The focus will be on Can I Make Everybody Happy?, which will be used as a base for comparison with the other books of the series.

All books share a similar front cover, namely a white background, with a black stripe of thick spray-paint horizontally across, that sometimes covers the title. If you place the whole series next to each other, you will see that the lines join up, and it looks like one fat line of spray-paint on a white, clean surface. The title is written in a specific font that is used throughout each book differently, including fonts such as Comic Sans for Talks About Money or Courier New for 37 Assignments also seen below. In I Heard They Ripped It Off, Robin Ekemark and Brita Lindvall created a new font for themselves in “an attempt to tell a story from the closest point of a source”.

 

talks-about-money-1

 

 

Can I Make Everybody Happy? designers Dag Brandsæter and Noa Segal had decided to compose the book of emails that had been sent back and forth between colleagues that mostly disagree on plans concerning the graphic design of specific, unknown projects. Ironically however, is that the blurb on the back describes how confrontations by e-mail are prone to make people aggressive and defensive, and that matters are best discussed face to face. This ironic addition to the production of the work coincides with the theme of the series, namely to investigate the miscommunication in the graphic design world.

In comparison to Can I Make Everybody Happy?, the layout in Talks about Money is a similar type of communication. Dialogue is displayed in speech-bubble format, discussing how much graphic designers can sell their work for. There are, like every other book in the series, chapters, which in this case are divided into a logical structure of explanation. Unlike Can I Make Everybody Happy?, the content is a constructive discussion, where graphic designers ask themselves how much they are worth, further accentuation the lack of definition within graphic design. Below is a picture to get an idea.

P1311_5220c3bf4f83a-580x387

In I Heard They Ripped It Off, the chapters are a lot less distinguishable. There are no chapters, as this is a retelling of a story about a specific project, the “Experimental Jetset”. There are divisions sometimes, to make the reader pause for effect, with a blank page. I heard They Ripped It Off seems like a personal encounter with the graphic design choices that have to take place during a project. The retelling of the story in the book feels more personal with this custom scribbled font. 37 Assignments focuses on the variety in 37/100 chosen graphic design assignments over the course of 2002 – 2007 at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, to investigate potential patterns with the projects. To preserve the voice of the teachers, the texts are edited as little as possible: only specific dates are removed to make the assignments timeless and universal. All Assignments are presented anonymously, in an attempt to stress the entire approach of the department not simply the individual assignments. In a way, this book differs from all of the previously discussed, and dives into an almost scientific way of investigating graphic design.

Our Daily Debates is another new approach to investigating the indefinable nature of graphic design. The book is structured like a script, between Nina, Sirkel, and some other colleagues. They joined together to debate about graphic design, their future profession. In a way, this book is similar to I Hear They Ripped It Off, as the wall between reader and writer is once again broken down by the layout choices of the book.

IHEARDTHEYRIPPEDITOFF_853

 

IHEARDTHEYRIPPEDITOFF12_853-1

Subsequently, the series contains a variety of books that each contains their own specific design and content layout, sometimes seeming totally unrelated. However, the indefinable nature of graphic design is thoroughly reflected and investigated upon in these books, due to their contrast in content, difference in font choice, or disparity of the choices made to display the content. Therefore, the series works successfully together as a whole to provide a tangible examination of an indefinable, arbitrary, profession.

Untitled


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Untitled September Magazine, by Paul Allman

 
library number: ell 1

 

In the book Untitled September Magazine by Paul Elliman designed by Julie Peeters, you can find about 600 pages of glossy magazine, including scans from Vogue amongst other brands that make the book indefineable in the first place. You have to go inside and try and read another kind of ‘text’, that is not said in words, but images, textures, and relations.

The book was published in 2013, inside a collection of scanned pictures from magazines, which is important for the perception of the details of the images themselves. With this you can also even sometimes feel the texture of the print. Paul Elliman collected the images for many years, roughly 10 years. However, according to colleague Julie Peteers, nobody is really sure of how long Paul has been collecting. In the end, Paul Elliman had this collection of photos, as he is a designer/typographer, and assembled them. Before the book was published, the images were presented in a different perspective, namely an exhibition or poster. For example, a poster designed by Paul Elliman called I can no longer drink Tea, seen below, published by Colophon and Casco, as a contribution to the exhibition Latent Stare at Casco, Utrecht (link below). The book was a part of an exhibition by Paul, hosted in the MOMA in 2012, and the book was presented as one of the objects. He exhibited the book lying on the floor lying next to a brick with the same measurements as the book (also seen below). The effect of this is that that the nature of the book is not a book anymore, but it has transformed into an object that is treated more like a sculpture of a book, with insides physically visible as details of a sculpture.

I can no longer drink Tea, Paul Elliman

I can no longer drink tea, Paul Elliman

Casco exhibition link: http://cascoprojects.org/future-park-i-teach-me-to-disappear

Paul Elliman at MOMA

 

Paul Elliman at MOMA, 2012

 

Here are some images that relate to the rhythms, patterns, relationships, and close-ups that I was talking about earlier.

IMG_2085IMG_2086

 

IMG_2087IMG_2088

 

Paul Elliman joined Julie Peeters to put all these images together. In the beginning it was a lot more images, but they had to select images one bye one, to determine which pictures would make the cut. The work together was that they would put the images together one by one, and make decisions about what details, rhythms, forms, or psychological relationships would exist. At the first glance, the book is very thick, which is also the reason for the name September Magazine, which comes from a concept belonging to Vogue. Vogue would always publish their thick winter issue in September, which resulted in Julie and Paul deciding to imitate this magazine structure. For example, you have foldout pages of certain images that are similar pages to that of the magazine in Vogue. Unlike a magazine, the structure is very different. There are no constrictions, descriptions, texts, or information anywhere on the pages, as the pages are exclusively close up shots of picture scans. However, uncharacterized photos are sometimes seen in the book, like pornography, or ‘disgusting’ images. That gives a different tone to the book, totally different from a fashion magazine. And after a time, after seeing relationships in the pages, it is like seeing storyboards between pictures that create a rhythm from one picture to the next. Because the book is mostly about fashion, humans, and society, Paul and Julie managed to reshape the human form in a bit, with strange oppositions.

After studying and ‘reading ‘the book many times, you see types of languages or feelings that you can interpret in your own way, each their own. There are parts of shapes and combinations of close-up parts and bodies, put together in a certain way, that create movement. It makes you want to flip the page, until you have seen all the images. The only piece of text that was found in the book was a small quote on a note between the first pages that supports this feeling:

It lives, it breathes, it gives off – fragrance?
I don’t know what it gives, a vibration that
we can not name because there is no name for it;
even when my patron said “name it”;
there is no name

-       HD, A September magazine
 

To conclude, Untitled September Magazine by Paul Elliman is a collection of images of detail magazine scans that are put together in a specific way, so that you see relationships, patterns, and rhythms that together form a unique feeling of an exhibition, rather than a normal book.

 

 

MVRDV Buildings


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MVRDV Buildings

The reason why I chose this specific book was its colour and image placed next and on each other. It has caught my eye and wanted me to read and analyze the book. Page after page I got to realize a type of system that the designer , Joost Grootens carried out.

MVRDV Buildings is the title of the book which has been published by 010 Publishers and can be found at the Rietveld Library under the “716.9 rub 1″ library catalog book number.

It is a complete overview of MVRDV’s architectural practice on total 20 years. To me, this has been a positive discovery while analyzing the book. It was a very good surprise. I am very much interested in architecture. The way I have understood was that the designer has deliberately chosen and created a way or a method to display and present this portfolio of the architect firm. My impression was that this “method” is a way of telling a nice story or even a nice joke. A way to share important information with people.

9789462080126_mvrdv_buildings_500

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 21.51.42 Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 21.51.33 MVRDV Buildings Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 21.52.11 Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 21.52.16 Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 21.52.24 Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 21.52.30 Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 21.52.38 Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 21.52.41 Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 21.53.14 Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 21.53.59  Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 21.54.32

Another relation was to explore Joost Grootens own book. The book called I swear I use no art all, has been written by the designer and has summarized 100 books, 18788 pages of book designs throughout 10 years in the field. The interesting part is to see how, the originally architectural designer became a graphic designer. The book describes his relation to publishers, supporters, authors, collaborators, printers, workplaces and studios. A very personal way of presenting the changes and development of his own working field has made me realize how nice it is to make a summary of your own development. Even though I can not yet make a summary and create a descriptive portfolio of the last 10 years of my work-field I have already imagined creating the mapping of my family or origin.

000897file 000900file
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A part which describes beginnings in a overview and shows how one project led to another by encounters or collaborations and led into a new project caught my interest. The designer has focused on presenting how non-book projects evolved into book projects. This made me think about my own encounters i had in my life that has influenced some decisions later. Furthermore, allowed me think in a non project based way. It also made me think of the origin and allow me imagine the beginning.

As a personal mapping I was first interested in looking online for my origin in order to see routes and possibilities to reach Santiago, the origin of my father, and Budapest, the origin of my mother. I have also looked for the distance between Amsterdam and Budapest. Nowadays, it is very easy to travel between my hometown and Amsterdam which is the city i have chosen and encountered on my own. I have first visited and met the country at the age of 16 and already new one day it will be my home. Due to the fact that I can not connect to my origin nor to my parents because of their divorce I currently have to focus on the present and the decisions I have to make every day. Choosing to study but first of all choosing to apply to the Gerrit Rietveld Academie has happened by chance. Threw the Academie I have also encountered the Design Academy in Eindhoven. These two Academies are important in this case because interestingly Joost Grootens who has graduated in the Gerrit Rietveld Academie is now a teacher in the Design Academy.

At this point I have immediately remembered my past with both academies. At one point in the last two years I have met students in Eindhoven who have shared a lot about their work process and further information of their studies. This also made me consider to apply to that school. Although I have never succeeded to enter the Design Academy I have got to know more the Rietveld.

Once again choosing MVRDV Buildings proves how interested I am in design, how fascinated I am about architecture.

I knew I had a good feeling about the book’s black cover.

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 20.02.39 Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 20.02.53 Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 20.05.11

To conclude, black to me is a colour. It is a comfort zone and also a strong feeling I  have towards it. Black to me is the house I wanted to have and the friends I wanted to play with as a child. Black is also the material I preferably wear during my daily life and it is the ink I like to draw with. Black will never leave me and will always be part of my decisions in the future.

Syndicate of original and contemporary typography


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Typeface as Program
Applied Research and Development in Typography
Designed by David Keshavjee and Julien Tavelli
Catalog number: 757.3 kel1

The book “Typeface as Program” is a book about the graduation project of David Keshavjee and Julien Tavelli. They graduated at the ECAL/University of art and design in Lausanne, Switserland.
The first thing you will notice when you see this book is, of course, the cover. As seen in the picture, this cover contains the colours red, white and black. I think this, and the typeface on the cover appeal me the most at first sight. It also seems like a book that makes you come closer, because you see the cover but you cannot read at first side what is written on the cover, because it’s vertical. You also do not yet really understand where it is about and what you will see inside. The title is situated very small in the left corner, so that makes you come closer. When you read the title, Typeface as Program, more questions will pop up. Where is this book about? Why did they situated the words like this?

When you open the book you’ll see a very outstanding orange colour which I really like. Then you’ll find the table of contents and introduction. What I don’t really like about that is that it’s vertical written, so you have to turn the book which is not very practical. It does look nice.
I do really like, what I also already mentioned in the beginning, is the typeface. If you actually start to read this book you’ll find out the whole book is about this typeface and how they produced and developed it.
The size is a little bit smaller then A4-size, which I like because it fits easily into my bag, and A4 mostly doesn’t. The cover is soft but not too soft. The size and the material makes the book approachable because it is not too big and heavy to open it.

The book is representing the graduation project of Keshavjee and Tavelli. It’s also collaborated by other people. The project “Creating tools, Using tools” earned Keshavjee and Tavelli the Federal Design Grant in 2009. This project is realised by several steps. They decided to develop their own tools. First they programmed a script that could automatically generate character sets based on a group of specified variables. Then, whit the digital font they created with this program, they made wood types and an automatic layout tool. By combining these tools, they printed the posters seen in the beginning of the book. Using a digital font and manual wood types, they wanted to contrast different kinds of languages. In the result you can see the programmed and the random. Their type design is impossible to regenerate with either only traditional- or digital methods. The typeface was based on the idea that the, let’s call it, “DNA” was only contained the letters “o” and “n”, and from those two letters on they built the complete Latin alphabet.


Programme, their typeface

The typeface is called “Programme”. Primitiv is the first version, which was automatically generated. Its very light, almost like a sketch with a skeletal structure. Later they made more calligraphic cuts. In the typeface it’s possible to see marks made by pen, brushes or computer. The typeface looks, even though its automatically generated, almost like an old typeface.

After their graduation project they, of course, didn’t sit still. They went on a lot with combining different tools and using them in a twisted way, to try to reach an innovating and interesting effect. Seen in the catalog “Acid Test”, you see their first experiments with chemical products.


Acid Test, 2010, in collaboration with Tatiana Rihs and Körner Union



They tried to work completely manual, without computer but with for example tape, razor blades, acids or brushes. They were trying to understand better how colours on colours overlay and how chemicals would react on other material. “Les impressionists Magiques” is a final product of the best outcomes they got by using these new tools, shapes and gestures. They try to see the good also in “mistakes” and unexpected surprises. It marks their work. They push tools to their boundaries and use them in a wrong/different way to get new results.

Video of Keshavjee and Tavelli trying out their new methods

 

They made several more catalogues, booklets, posters for festivals and record covers. Also, they work a lot in collaboration with other artists. The last book they designed was “The Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the year 2013″. Again they combined new methods, for example all the parameters in the book are changing all the time. Furthermore are some pages glossy and some aren’t. They also used different screening types. This all comes out in a book full of varieties.


The most Beautiful Swiss Books, 2013

Untitled September Magazine


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Untitled September Magazine

Designer: Julie Peeters

First take a look at the book. Where is the title? Where is the text? I even don’t know where the first page is. Inside, you find pictures of body party, positions, gestures all collected from fashion magazines. Frame by frame from different rhythms, surfaces and hidden stories.

Text is irrelevant in this case for me.

“Reading” this book page by page is much more interesting than reading only text.

Who stands behind the decisions?

IMG_1752

 

It is interesting to investigate how the process starts when you are faced with so many bits and pieces of pictures.
In order to sum up the reason for my decision, I have to admit that I have been driven by my curiosity.
Realizing that I have never seen such book before let me explore it further.

Rietveld library catalog no : ell 1

 

A Photograph Revolution


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos are two former students of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Both graduated in 2009 ; Blesa from VAV and Delfos from graphic design. They have been working together ever since between Barcelona and Amsterdam. From 14/05/13 to 07/06/13 they held an exhibition at Rietveld library where they exposed a selection of Blesa’s secondhand books in a window display, opened at a certain page. It was a mute and powerful visual essay of the figure of the boy throughout images from the 1920′s to the 1990′s. Later on, two other former students of the Academie (Anton Stuckhard and Andrea Sergio) designed Boy Politics, a book that archives this exhibition in a very efficient manner that, to my opinion, is really coherent to the way Blesa and Delfos work. Without any fuss, they encapsulated the spirit of what was the starting point of a larger project that Blesa and Delfos have been working on ever since : « Werker ».

 

Boypolitics1

 

Werker magazine is a long term project and concept that asks many questions and got more and more complex over time. There are 8 different werker projects but usually more than one edition by project.

The artists define them as « contextual publications about photography and labour that inquire into the possibility of formulating a contemporary representation of work » They are all mute analysis of a situation that they try to depict as most objective a manner as possible. They are often the following or addition to an event (exhibition, lecture…) like for Boy Politics. Werker 2 , for example, was realized for the exhibition « 1979, A Monument to Radical Instants » in the Virrena Centre de la Imatge of Barcelona (2011), dealing with the issues of daily life in crisis of working class young men. Knowing that photography is the medium that communicates best the essence of a situation, Blesa and Delfos have realized a very accurate observation of several situations.

 

werker2_6

 

An example of that accuracy is the « Cinema Diary » edition of werker 6 (that you can find in San Serriffe book store, along with other werkers. It is « a collection of photo diaries that reflect on the current working conditions of the youth through self-representation and amateur photography. » It is the summary of a young artist’s (Matthijs Diederiks) side job at a Pathé cinema. In this small book (x) from which the cover is handwritten by Diederiks, you can find an extract of his working contract.

 

Werker is the story of how graphic design and art meet through photography (amateur photography, secondhand books images, internet pictures…) aiming to deliver a message : Images have power and that power is into the wrong hands, the people must take it back. Blesa and Delfos are indeed strongly politically engaged with revolutionary ambitions. Let’s focus on « werker 7 : the language of revolution ». This exhibition followed by an edition of newspaper (once with and once without image) was inspired by the words of Ariella Azoulay in a lecture she gave at the museu d’art contemporani de Barcelona in 2011 in which she did an analysis of Egypt’s revolution through images from the internet (you can find her lecture here : x). Werker 7 questions the revolutionary image, the revolutionary language, the role of mass-media in all this and the function carried out by photography in construction of a global revolutionary language. All the images chosen for that project were found on the internet.

 

Werker7_index

Werker7_index_zoom1

 

Werker takes its name from the « Worker Photography Movement » :  a group of amateur photographers that appeared in Germany in the 1920’s, following the steps of the first socialist photography experiences in the USSR which extended into the rest of Europe, the USA and Japan. The first group of amateur photographers to use the camera as a tool to fight class-struggle. When I found out about this origin, the work of Blesa and Delfos came clear to me to its full extent. Werker 3 is a « political kitchen calendar » developed within the « grand domestic revolution – user’s manual », a long term living research initiated by casco office for art, design and theory in Utrecht. it is a call for students, artists, domestic workers (and so on) to contribute to the collective gathering of materials. A call for amateur photography as an observation of domestic space. The assignment was « Think politically of your domestic space and contribute to werker 3 ».

 

Werker-3-A-Political-Kitchen-calendar_MG_2047

 

Finally, I found in the « Cinema Diary » an extract from the book Der Arbeiter-Fotograf from Willi Münzenberg (1931) that I thought was very relevant to Delfos and Blesa’s approach, aims and tasks.

« Photography has become an indispensable and outstanding means of propaganda in the revolutionary class struggle. (…) For an illustrated book is easier to read (…) than the lead article of a political daily. Photography works on the human eye (…) the bourgeoisie caters for the mental laziness of the masses and also makes a lot of money. (…) Much more important is the political effect (…) a skillful editor can falsify every photograph into its opposite and can influence the politically naive reader. (…) The revolutionary workers of all countries have to realize these facts very clearly. They have to fight the class enemy with all means. Just as the workers of the Soviet Union have learnt to make their own machine-tools (…) the proletarian amateur photographers have to learn to master the camera and to use it correctly in the international class struggle. »

 

Here are Delfos and Blesa’s aim and ambition : an anti-propaganda revolution guided by photography.

Boezem on Marinus Boezem, designed by Irma Boom


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Boezem by Irma Boom

Boezem, designed by Irma Boom
Rietveld Library catalog book number: 17451

I picked a book designed by a very famous dutch designer: Irma Boom.
I am not the only one to like her designs…
This book about Marinus Boezem, a dutch conceptual and arte povera artist, is a book you can`t possibly miss when letting your eyes scan the book shelves.

It`s kind of reminding me of a brick. It looks firm and solid.
The size and the thickness contribute to that as-well as the letters and the colours on the cover.

Letters  are filling up half of the page, only capital letters, creates also the association of a brick or a bloc.

Just two colours are used, let`s no room for doubt what to focus on. Also because of the fact that the book is all black it catches your attention.

I liked the fact that this book is really out there and therefore it`s screaming to be opened.

Also what made me want to take it up and open it, was the content of the title. It says ‘boezem’, which means breasts. I thought it was cool that there was no shame about putting this word in such big letters on the cover. Although it`s just the last name of the artist, it takes some shamelessness to do that.

 

Cover gives a little bit that minimalistic feel, but not so much the inside.

I liked that the inside is designed in a way that it gives you the idea that there is A LOT of information in there. I think that`s because of a good balance between pictures and text and also the pages are quite filled up.

Besides, the book is just really thick.

Because of the mix of text and the pictures that are sometimes small size, sometimes full size, sometimes black and white, sometimes in colour, I also had a little bit the feeling that I was reading the newspaper.
Even the paper was a little bit newspaper-like. Because it`s not the snow white kind of paper and it`s not smooth and shiny.

There`s a lot going on in the book, but it doesn`t feel like the content is coming across too chaotic. Sometimes there`s a fully green page, to vary on the black and white, or a full page photo. Also the side of the pages form a pattern together and that connects them.

Because Boezem was a conceptual and arte povera artist and a fan of non-artistic materials,
it`s good that the book is not too smooth, too styled, too shiny because there`s so much in the book, it feels like your looking into the head of Boezem

 

Can I make everybody happy?


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Book cover

The book encompasses the nature of graphic design. Nowadays, when people speak about graphic design, it is never totally sure, if they are talking about the same thing. The books in this series investigates different fields of graphic design as there is currently a lack of one concrete definition. This means to contribute to the discussion and awareness of an otherwise apparently arbitrary profession.

I chose this book because the cover, designed by Gijs Stork, was appealing at a first glance to me. After looking through some of the content, I understood that the cover coincides with the issues that are being discussed in the book, such as, to take one example: the diverse and sometimes undefinable field of graphic design.

Name of Designer: Gijs Stork

Catalog Book number: 750.1 bra1

A precious little book


Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Even if it doesn’t looks to be at first sight, here is an exciting and playful little book, collecting a good number of pictures made by Auke de Vries, and designed by his daughter, Esther de Vries.
Auke de Vries is mainly a sculptor, and I was attracted by the fact that this book doesn’t show any sculpture but pictures as sketches for hiswork. Thus I didn’t chose it because I found it was an important book or design, but because it reveals a lot, in a touching way, on the author, his research and inspirations. And so do the design of the book. The relation to the reader is also interesting to me, since it is not a book that you can read, but a book that you can watch, open in the middle or in the end, browse, wander through the pages in the same way that the photograph was wandering, physically and psychologically, when he took those pictures. looking at all those images awake a lot of ideas in me.

Catalog number: vrie 5 (Rietveld Library)

 

Content Is King


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2008

-THE PRESENT ISSUE

-Laurenz Brunner

Rietveld Library code: 758.3 brun 2

The most beautiful books 2008

-THE PRESENT ISSUE

-Laurenz Brunner

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books is an annual contest of the most beautiful books in Swiss, which started in 1943 at the suggestion of graphic designer Jan Tschichold. Designing the catalogue itself has always been a desirable task and the job is handed to the most popular designer each year. For Brunner it was a big achievement to secure the catalogue for three years with his concept of ; -The Past Issue(2007), -The Present Issue(2008) & -The Future Issue(2009).

In the making of this catalogue Brunner positioned himself in the middle of the whole process. So he could influence what the content of the book would be, choose which people were interview and what other text and essays were chosen to be in the catalogue. With this he could higher the value of his concept for each of the three catalogues. The three catalogues all have different perspectives on books and bookmaking in Switzerland, with his time based theme he creates a frame where the interviews and essay fit in.

Although the three catalogues share a format and you can clearly see that they are a series, they are have such a different atmosphere. The first time I picked up the three I was immediately drawn to -The Present Issue, I think it was mostly the humorous approach it has.

How he blends together infographics, photographs and adverts to create this strong theme.

The photographs have a really ironic approach to pop culture and modern cliches, my favorite spread of the issue is two photographs, the first one is a news photograph of miss universe being crowned and the second one is a portrait of a street sweeper with a man dressed in a Harry Potter book costume. The infographics are all connected to books, bookmaking and books in culture in a modern context, with a few random book connected instructional pictures in between the texts. The adverts in the catalogue are clearly carefully chosen, all book connected. All of them really straight forward, half of them are for contemporary books and the others are for book related technology, like the Amazon Kindle pocket reading computer.

Brunner used his typeface: Circular, that was under development at the time. A typeface that has spurred a lot of attention since its arrival with its fresh approach to the classic 20th century fonts. He achieved to make something new and modern by reworking the geometric sans, drawing from Futura, Neuzeit Grotesk and other classic builds. My favorite glyphs of this exciting font is the lowercase “t” and my native lowercase “ð”.  He also made the font; Akkurat which was a big success in 2004. He has a true talent of reinventing the classics, with new perspective.

Circular-fonts-sample

Circular sample- http://lineto.com/Lineto.com/Frontpages/2013/16+Apr+2013/LL+Circular+Type+Specimen.pdf/

“LL Circular is a new take on a classic genre, first explored by Paul Renner?s Futura (1927-28). In the process of developing the font, the purely geometric approach gave way to more complex formal conception, resulting in a geometric sans serif marrying purity with warmth. Striking a balance between functionality, conceptual rigour, skilled workmanship and measured idiosyncrasy, LL Circular is a friendly sans serif text font with unmistakable character yet universal appeal.” -Lineto

 

With his typography and his layout talents he makes each and every page really aesthetically pleasing, and he makes it really easy to read and functional even though it is in Italian, french, german and english. He made this 200 page catalogue really interesting even though you don’t read one word. All the elements work so well together and are really true to his concept for the catalogue.

 

A smile for you


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

            

What is happiness to you? How does it smell, taste and feel?

Cover A smile for you

Jeppe Hein is a Danish artist based in Copenhagen and Berlin. His work attempts to be inclusive and tactile, whilst at the same provides a stimulus for contemplation.

The book tries to depict the artist’s representations of three dimensional work within the context of a two dimensional medium.
First of course I was attracted to the front cover. My eyes followed the confusion of coloured dots, like spatter from an ink-jet printer. Until they found the centre; a blister free of colour where the title nestled and seemed to lift, like the title suggested: “A Smile For You”. And then, off-centre; top left following the curve, the artist’s name. Tinier, but somehow less intimate. Different font. Lighter in colour, perhaps, but a statement nonetheless. Ownership.
I browsed through the book and saw that these elements were replicated throughout; the lack of margins, the differing fonts and point sizes, sometimes with serif, sometimes without as if each page was a different room of the exhibition. I became a visitor among the others. And there are many others. I am one of those looking at them, trying to look within.
I realised that the depiction of the artwork was an attempt to reflect the conceit of happiness. The expression of such is difficult; emotions are subjective; happiness is maybe the hardest one to express in a creative medium. I therefore found it interesting how you could try to express happiness in design and in the content of a book.
Books are neither happy nor sad. It is what is contained within and the ability of the author, the designer, and the illustrator; the bookbinder and most importantly the consumer who decides that.

I feel like a have an intimate relationship with this book, it’s precious nevertheless I’m not afraid to use it, look at it, smell it, crease it, read it and ignore it. As long as it’s on the bookshelf it will always be there. A small happiness in my head.

 

The book was designed by All the Way to Paris a Danish-Swedish graphic design studio based in Copenhagen. Founded in 2004 by Tanja Vibe and Petra Olsson Gendt. ATWTP and Jeppe Hein have a personal relationship together. They have been working as a team for the past six years. In 2008, the designers produce the graphic identity for “Karriere” a restaurant ran by Jeppe Hein and his sister. Also, in 2009/2010, they created a logo for “Circus Hein,” a circus show held in Orléans, France. The designers touch can easily be recognized. The colours and typeface are echoed throughout their work.

 

Circus Hein posters
The catalogue’s design is a close collaboration between Jeppe Hein, his studio and the graphic designer. The artist decided on the selection of images and came up with the idea to include the postcards, engaging the reader to participate by sharing his thoughts on happiness.
The photographs of the artist’s installations and drawings are inviting; the reader can easily travel through them. The choice of mat photo paper is important. The depiction of these works attempts to be as truthful as possible. Many of the photographs enable the reader to see the audience’s reactions to the installations and how by using everyday materials Jeppe Hein tries to reflect the serenity of introspection through voyeuristic engagement.
The designers were able to incorporate a collection of intriguing dividers into the catalogue. Each introduced by an element on the previous page that relates to it somehow. Their content is different from the rest, they’re special. Every divider consists of a short reflection on happiness. These small and grainy pages are significant. They allow rhythm within the book.

At the end, you can find the index of the work featured in the catalogue. The information is printed in landscape format, more convenient to gain space, but also to radically separate the exhibition content and the index. Though I find it uncomfortable to read a hefty book in this way.

 

I thought I could use this research for personal reasons in addition to the design aspect. Expressing and understanding what makes me (feel) happy is complex. I can identify when I am intensively happy or deeply sad. But never what’s in between?

 

And I still can’t.

 
What is happiness to you?

http://www.asmileforyou.net/

Postcards A smile for you

 

   Rietveld library catalog no : Hein1

De Komedie Van De Overeenkomsten by Arthur C. Danto 2002


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I chose this book because of it’s dark red crocodile/snake like cover, with its light blue text. The cover is soft and flexible, but still stabile and firm. I spotted the book immediately by its contrasting colors, and small thick size. I like the fact that the first two, and last two pages associates to the cover by their light blue block color, clear of text. The design is strong, graphic and individual.

The book is mostly all text, except for one page with a picture of a painting.
But i really like how the text is setup in ‘boxes’ placed in the middle of the page, very simple.
The designer of the book is Felix Janssens, a dutch graphic designer and creative director at Total Identity. He has been using the exact same design of this book, as for other authors but with the cover in different colors.

DE KOMEDIE VAN DE OVEREENKOMSTEN

Can one have a conversation with an artist who is no longer living?


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY

front page

HOW TO MAKE A catalogue – Sterling Ruby / Robert Mapplethorpe

 

Prep time: 1-2 months
Cooking time: 2-3 months
Total time: approx. 3-5 months

 

Examples: approx. 1000

 

Before you start you need to collect a few people to work with. Besides that you will need:

-       Corporate identity for Xavier Hufkens

  • Typeface: Swift* by Gerard Unger

-       Pictures of art work/photography

-       Pictures from the exhibition

-       Exhibition notes by Sterling Ruby

-       Essay by Ed Schad

-       Gold coated mirror board (spiegelkarton)

-       Red ink

-       Pressing machine

 

When you found just the right team you collect all the images and structure them. Arrange them as you would hang the exhibition.

 

Then you add a good portion of graphic skills and mix it all up.

 

Now comes the difficult part – time to press the cover. Here you will need to add a lot of patience and some overwork. First you start out by printing the red title on the front cover twice to keep the typeface in place. The material is very easy to damage, so be careful to avoid scratches when you uses the pressing machine. When the title is printed on successfully and you’re happy with the outcome you let it dry. Let it to dry for a couple of days to make sure the ink is completely dry.

 

After this you end up with the final result, which should measure approx. 21,4 cm. broad, 26,4 cm. long and 1 cm. thick. This size will make it more suitable for shipping to collectors, friends etc.

 

Hope you’re happy with your result – enjoy your catalogue!

 

* Swift (1985) has proved its worth in corporate identities, magazines and newspapers and occasionally in books — it is a versatile type and can be used in a wide range of circumstances. It is a striking type, with large serifs, large counters and letters that produce a particularly strong horizontal impression. This means that words and lines in Swift are easily distinguished, even where there are large spaces between words, as can occur in newsprint. Swift’s large, robust counters were designed to improve legibility particularly in newspapers. It was designed in the early eighties, when papers were less well printed than they are today, and its special features help it survive on grey, rough paper printed on fast rotary presses. Today it is used more often outside newspapers than in. The current Swift (1995) is an improved version with technical and aesthetic enhancements, and has been expanded into a family of twenty-four variants.

 

///////////

 

BONUS INFO

A catalogue representing an exhibition of Sterling Ruby (American artist 1972) engaging with the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe (American photographer 1946 – 1989).

“Can one have a conversation with an artist who is no longer living? What are the natures of autobiography and biography? Why is psychoanalyzing Robert Mapplethorpe so compelling?”

These are some of the questions Ruby has been working with towards creating a whole new line of works.

The catalogue itself catches your eye right away with its reflecting golden cover and the red stained typing on the front. I wanted to figure out why especially this shiny cover caught my attention and found this phrase online:

“We have long been obsessed by shiny objects – from the latest glimmering gold iPhone to the sheen of a pair of high heels. … It is humbling to acknowledge that despite our sophistication and progress as a species, we are still drawn to things that serve our innate needs–in this case, the need for water.”

 

exhibition

2009-12-sterling-ruby

Title: Sterling Ruby/Robert Mapplethorpe
Designer: Rutger Fuchs (living and working in Amsterdam – http://www.fuchs.nu/)

 

 

The different similar.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

IMG_7218

William Eggleston’s Guide.

Photographer: William Eggleston.

Author: John Szarkowski.

_______________________________________

Brohm Areal.

Book concept: Joachim Brohm

layout, typeset: Heike Nehl_moniteurs, Berlin

_______________________________________

William Eggleston’s Guide is an intriguing photography book. the pictures come from the first one-man show of color photographs ever presented at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museum’s first publication of color photography. The book i am going to talk about is a reprint of the original from 1976, the books are very similar accept that the new plates have been made from digital scans from William Eggleston’s original 35mm Transparencies.

  The first thing you probably notice is that the book is bound in a textured cover inset with a photograph of a tricycle and stamped with yearbook-style gold lettering. this makes it noticeable when let’s say it’s laying on the table, it is hard to overlook and invites you to open it. The book starts with a essay by John Szarkowski, the pages are coloured green with thick black letters. After the essay the serie of 48 photographs from William Eggleston’s home town and surroundings. On every page there is one pictures on the right and a small description on the left. The photographs are completely isolated from each other. The thing that struck my eyes was the placement of the pictures on the page. Altough most of them are centrally placed on the page some of them are placed in such a way that they could continue on the blank paper. Overall the design is a bit bland and not to exciting.

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When I was in Germany, I went to the “museum der bildenden künste leipzig”. In the book store of the museum I came across a book from Joachim Brohm and printed by Steidl called ‘Areal’. This Photography book reminded me of William Eggleston’s Guide, and i immediately saw a connection between the two books, so i bought it. Joachim Brohm undertook a photo-urban project of long-term observation. for roughly a decade,from 10992 to 2002, he took photographs of the same location- on the outskirts of a german city. As it was being redeveloped from 1950s commercial/industrial district into a gentrified post-industrial services centre and living area. In a meditative return, Borhm cartographically captured the premises, their buildings and materials, and chronologically documented the changes and developments during this period. Brohm’s pictorial idiom-characterized by a dissolved centre, layering and compositions referring to the continuation of space beyond the picture’s limits-is both documentary and deconstructive. So where ‘William Eggleston’s Guide’ photographs seem too continue on the pages of the book, the photographs in ‘Areal’ refer to the continuation of space.

What I found interesting is the way you can see this in the book design. ‘Areal’ is a very “clean” book with big images of which most are placed in landscape, So you need to turn the book too see them. underneath the images there are numbers existing out of the year the photo is taken followed by to others. In the middle of the book there is a index with a overview of all the  numbers. I like how the two book work together, although there is not a real connection between the two, they feel really similar, content-wise but also design-wise. There is a certain emptiness or void that fill these books, if you open them you get a kind of sad feeling inside but it is hard to figure out what that is. Like a cross between melancholy and  sentimental, but not only the photographs give you this impression but the whole design of the books as well.

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Rietveld library catalog no : egg 2

A performance in n dimensions


Monday, June 16, 2014

 

While the screen of the device you are using shows that Designblog has a relevant two-dimensionality to it, this text will take you along perspectives from single dimensions to two-and-a-half, three, four and even the ever flexible n dimensions in which Designblog simultaneously exists, to expose its other realities.

 

Address

http://designblog,rietveldacademie.nl is an address.
[http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/A/address.html], a pointer to a location. An address refers to a particular spot, a one-dimensional unit that is typically part of a thing with more dimensions.

An address like this has two kinds of capacities:  one is understood and used by machines, and the other is for humans. In its machinic capacity, designblog.rietveldacademie.nl points to a specific series of states of tiny logical gates, that are part of a memory disk in a server owned by some provider.  That’s where Designblog resides in what you could call its latent, purely informational state. In this state Designblog is inaccessible for humans.

The human-facing capacity of the address points to a location on the worldwideweb. This address holds particular information on what it points to. In terms of content, it suggests its visitors to relate to what is behind the address as a time-stamped list of musings (a weblog) contextualized in the particular world of meanings known as design. But the address also ties the web location to a place on the physical globe, mobilizing some spatial –geographical- reference frame. It shows the blog is affiliated with an art academy: the Rietveld Academie in The Netherlands.

When a human calls upon that address – when it is clicked by you in this text, for instance – a command is sent to copy a section of that series of logical states from the server through fiber optic cables, through a couple of routers to the computer or phone where the click was performed. The browser on that computer (yours, that would be) than has the specific task and ability to allow that series or logical states to inform the screen of its computer to display what we have come to think of as the frontpage of Designblog.

 

Page

The ‘page’ is home turf for the graphically oriented. A two dimensional surface, that can passively hold various two-dimensional artifacts in a fixed relation to one another. The page was a helpful metaphor to be able to relate to the strangeness of networked information, as it was performed by snippets of code. A rewarding, but also frustrating metaphor for the graphically oriented: neither is there a real surface, nor is there a fixed two-dimensional relation between any artifact and any other. Still, although the page doesn’t exist anywhere but in your lazy perception, it doesn’t really hurt to think of Designblog as a collection of pages.

But there’s more…

The latent, machinic state is now activated. The address opened its front door, and revealed what performs not only as a page, but also like a place. An online, publicly accessible part of the Rietveld Academy, that indeed has some characteristics of a classroom.

 

Place

A place [http://asounder.org/resources/auge_nonplaces.pdf] is an appropriated space. A location with layers of stories, traces of events. A place offers corners, furniture, a means to sit down and be there. A place ties to identity, to individual identities, or group identities. At places, relations become entangled. Anything can talk to who- or whatever also happens to be there. A place is somewhere you can be with your experience, somewhere to orient from. This possibility of being there, (which is different from ‘looking at’) this possible sensation of presence, subtly mobilizes a notion partiality.

Over its years of existence Designblog has become a place with a deep accreted inside, a vast archive of contributions by Rietveld students: worded observations, found media-items, responses to assignments, to each others contributions, linked to each other, to other addresses on the web, clustered and flagged by tags.

Unlike a classroom, the inside of Designblog is at the same time its outside: the stuff inside is crawled and indexed by the bots of Google, that provide the endless amount of entry points for the querying audience.

In this sense Designblog is like a Klein Bottle,

[image search: Klein Bottle:

an object with two-and-a-half dimensions, of which the outside and the inside are one unbroken surface.

Every corner of Designblog either links to some item in the vast non-dimensionality of the web, or is accessible from it. Things inside Designblog are not even closer to one another than to things accessible through other addresses. Everything  on the web exists at more or less the same distance from everything else. If this is a classroom, it is an extremely open classroom.

[img search: open classroom:

 

Space

Designblog has a lot of placeness, but clearly also still has endless space. To call  it space [http://mith.umd.edu/digitalstorytelling/wp-content/uploads/GibsonW_Burning_Chrome.pdf] pulls the attention to its not yet actualized potential. It brings to the front that whatever it is, it could house a great many future developments, without ever loosing that quality of potential. In the sense that any member of the blog can always open up a new empty page (a sub-address) to fill, Designblog performs as space. But this spaciness, because it is part of the web, has no particular kind of dimensionality to it.

[img search: white cube:

 

Nest

Designblog is a collective, open archive, an accessible history of students’ online work. But to say (like you would say of an archive) that informational artifacts are ‘stored’ there would be misleading. The artifacts are not stored in its structure, they are its structure, as well as its decoration.

Like a birds nest is made of twigs, threads, leaves, wires, found things that are sufficiently twine able, Designblog is made of its twines. Also a nest is a place where one can land and fly off from. A nest is a place that holds up who dwell there, but that does not cover them. A nest offers place, but has no real inside. All that seems to hold for Designblog: as a groups’ nest it offers a place to land, to contribute informational twines to, and to fly off from.

[image search: large nest:

 

Body language

When language deals with space and location, it stubbornly uses the body as implicit reference. The language of spatiality is about here or there, behind or in front, up or down and in or out. The web captured the human imagination through the metaphor of cyberspace. This spatial approach offered important and helpful familiarity, and has made the internet inhabitable, so to speak.

Spatial concepts have played and still play a crucial part in helping people to relate to networked computing. But insisting on spatial notions also fixes the relation between people and the online as a spatial one.

 

Time

And it is through the time-perspective – the fourth dimension- that other Designblog realities reveal themselves. Because the most essential aspects of Designblog are processes.

The emergence of Designblog, (as of all blogs) follows a time line, that would be one-dimensional if it didn’t fold in on itself, and looped to earlier contributions. Twining may be an apt practice by which to perceive the development of Designblog: both making and responding to what’s there, simultaneously creative and reactive.

Time is also the room in which learning takes place – the process of one thing informing another thing, the process of information, the raison d’être of a school.

 

Performing

All agents related to Designblog are engaged in some act of distinctly time-based performance. A performance of and for a particular audience – you.  Some of those acts come down to straightforward, unambiguous execution of tasks, others are more elaborate and creative.

Your computer or phone performs its web browser, for you. The web browser in turn performs the latent code of Designblog to make it active and accessible, again to you.

Designblog performs its fuzzily structured content, never showing more than a glimpse of its vastly twined labyrinthine body. It responds to your clicks by turning a differently dressed little facade, by offering a new shadowy inroad, or by suddenly pointing a spotlight in your eyes.

Members perform the mysterious part of author – transforming found things into new source material. They create independent, informative agents of text or (moving) image, that in their turn perform the act of information on your sense organs.

And the members add tags to their agents, to suggest similarities or difference between their agents to you. These tags perform as frames through which to move with your mind, frames that you put on to shape your perception. Every one of those tags performs like one of n dimensions along which the content of Designblog can be morphed, when you travell along it. Allthoug it is not so much you who travels through Designblog, it is more that Designblog travels through your screen – you stay put, Designblog performs the moves.

But you are not undergoing this passively. You are the last performer, performing the score of Designblog, following the by-roads and sideways. By your clicking you act upon your pseudo-conscious choices about what material is allowed to inform your perception. Your clicks and non-clicks manifest your own perspective in the material of Designblog.

 

Klaas Kuitenbrouwer Augustus – September 2014

(written for the occasion of the presentation of the online artefact Designblog at the Graphic Design Biennial in Brno, Czech Republic.)

 

Dijon


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

DIJON_1100

This post is showing drawings with strange heavy atmosphere. The color 64 Dijon translates that feeling. [x]
When i hear Monday i see Red, Tuesday is Green, Wednesday is Blue and so on and so on. Synesthesia is a condition in which one sense or concept is also perceived with another concept. What if each post could be link with a color?

matter of drawings


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Finding your way in the Designblog, we all do it in a different way. What catches our interests? What do we remember of it and how do we connect it to other links, artists, events, books etc? I was browsing thru the Designblog and ended up in the category ‘Beeld en Taal’ (image and language), went into the illustration part and found this post: Considerations on the matter of drawing.  Luca Carboni is explaining his fascinations for drawing and asks himself if drawing is one of the oldest way in which mankind is expressing itself, is drawing a medium in which the Zeitgeist is always an important part.

In drawing you can see the influence of the time. Luca says: ‘As an expression of time it’s the best medium to communicate something of that moment, every idea, process, image.’

8e90d8fe-ab97-11e2-9637-ae88113b62bc    Luca connects this with the book “The New Yorker Album of Drawings 1925-1975” from the Rietveld library. The book exists out of different cartoons from “New Yorker” magazine in the period 1925 till 1975.  Cartoons made by: Saul Steinberg, William Steig, Richard Taylor, Peter Arno, Charles Barsotti, Geoge Booth, Barney Tobey, James Thurber, Charles Saxon and many more. One of the best known is Saul Steinberg who worked for almost 60 years for the New Yorker. The magazine is a combination of fiction and journalism. The cartoons in the magazine have always played an important role. Above that, until the 1990s they never used photographs but only illustration.

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When I read the post for the first time, I immediately made the connection with the artists Brecht Evens (born in 1986). He is a Belgium artists who makes a lot of cartoons, illustrations and strips. I think in his beautiful watercolor drawings  you can see that the time we live is an import aspect, just like in the album of drawings from the New Yorker. Evans worked for the ‘New York times himself. A part from that he published two books. Most recent: “De liefhebbers” [The Making Of] (2011) and before that “Ergens waar je niet wil zijn” [The Wrong Place] (2009).

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In the cartoons of the New Yorker the zeitgeist indeed plays an import part. And it is this what makes those drawings so smart and funny. Is this all that matters?  Was it only the time we lived in, that played an import roll. We still do admire the drawings and cartoons these artists made. The drawings still speak to us.

Brecht EVens2

The same goes for Brecht Evens. There is something mysterious about these drawings that always holds our attention, regardless of the time in which we live.

the orthogonal allegory of browsing


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

 

BrowseMap-sketchIMG_3148-2

 

This is a search that started as a response to the 'Orthogonal Allegory Thesis' I found at the the essays page of Designblog. It shows the dynamic of my browsing, dealing with the facts I bumped into, as well as the associative impulses that coincides with it. I tried to translate my sketched browse history into a text version, to make it more readable ! If you click it, an interactive pdf. version will create that experience for you.

Curves


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

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Capture d’écran 2014-06-04 à 14.38.24

 

If I tell you architecture, you’ll tell me SQUARE

If I tell you nature, you’ll tell me ROUND

We obviously link architecture to geometry, structure, squares, etc… and nature to organic features and therefore curves and irregularity.

Therefore what is interesting is the notion of curve in architecture.

We started seing curving architectures at the same time as the introduction of movement in art (cubism, kinetic art, futurism, chrono-photography, mobiles, etc….)

Beyond the fact that it’s aesthetically seducing, and beyond the fact that it is bringing movement, curves are attracting more attention from your brain.

Psychologist Oshin Vartanian made researches on what was going on in people’s brains as they viewed two rooms — one with rounded features, the other more rectangular. First of all, the ones that were confronted to the curvy one were more likely to define it as “beautiful”. They also displayed more activity in a part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex that, among other functions, is linked to the brain’s ability to regulate and process emotions.

Curved buildings can point to nature, whereas angular buildings contrast with it. Straight lines and angular shapes are disconnecting a building from nature, and humans natural state. It is reducing everything into a harsh and boxy aspect, which we naturally don’t identify in so much.

I observe (on a very personal level) that in the end my attraction goes to buildings balancing the angle and the curve. The final reconciliation between “organic” and “organized”. People like Frank Gehry, Herzog et de Meuron, Oscar Niemeyer, Zaha Hadid, Rudi Ricciotti and many others are/have been working on it and succeeded quite well so far, to bring new rules and esthetics to modern architecture, inspired from the so called international style and reconciled with more organic references, as well with new materials that are more environmental friendly.

I am starting for this occasion a tumblr “Curves” where I will be developing this idea through posts and references, grasping a lot of elements orbiting around this, and that is starting from this thesis that I invite you to read on Orthogonal Allegory in Architecture by Anton Stuckhardt [graduation essay [x].

 

Memorization


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How does the history of browsing stay in your memory?
How do we perceive the visual experience of websites which are opening up in new windows?
I question myself and try to observe my behavior when I am browsing around Internet webs. How do I chose the website and what makes me choose them? What determines if I like to stay on the page and look properly through it or if I click to the next page?
What is my choice based on? What visual experience do I get? What videos do I chose to click on? Is it exiting enough to look what is next? I think most of my internet browsing is based on visual experience, except particular situations when I am looking for certain subjects, where the context is more important than the visual experience.
Almost every morning, when I am starting my day, like a due during the breakfast I check my mailbox, read the news and brows around interesting blogs . Mostly they are about music, art, fashion,  news, or just whatever captures my eye.
“Capture my eyes” what are they capturing exactly? I think it is the matter of personal choice, what color, forms, shapes you are attracted to.
I find out that my choice of webpage is purely based on visual impression and it does not necessarily have anything to do with content. After I browse trough what stays in my memory and for how long?  What do I keep in my mind and what can easily be forgotten?

 

I choose to open Designblog for the first time, looked at the first page which comes out and then close it in 1 minute. I sketched my first impression immediately, what was there? Few geometrical shapes, and bright attractive colors this was the most catchy and noteworthy things.

 
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Next step, I simply let myself browse for half an hour, without forcing myself to memorize, reading most interesting things, watching concerning videos or look at images and illustrate my memories. As a result I had same expressive geometrical shapes and specifically recognizable colors, also some words or sentences from the context.
What was my experience? Well even if I illustrate and was attracted by colors, mostly I memorize the context of the posts and the idea what it was about.

 
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After this I browsed around in 1 page for fifteen minutes

 
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Finaly I watched a video, not paying attention to the surroundings

 
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Fishing Trip


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

fishintrip_1100

project by Annelotte Lammertse + Anouk Hoogendoorn

Body types


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

When I was going through the blog, this tag got my attention. When I see the title I think of different bodies with different shapes, fat, thin, skinny… First I just went through the photos and didnt read the text. I wanted to see how my relation with the post will be just considering photos without the text. The post is actually different from what I thought it would be.

It’s interesting because there are many artists that use their body as an art work or use their bodies to develop their ideas. In this post, there are bodies that are formed to shape like alphabets and numbers. Also activists and protesters that write on their body or for example girls that get naked and go to Vatican to protest against religious laws against them.

There are so many things that you can do with your body. I did a project on using human body to shape like music notes.

 

music_1 music_2

music_3 music_4
 

‘beautiful morning’ ( comment)


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

When i saw this tag, i felt i needed one. A beautiful morning.

the text described various things, but the interesting part i got out of it was, live life slow, and you will enjoy it the most. when you get fed up by everything else, you should just focus. focus on what is there, and see what it brings you,

what is really there (?) always that question that is there. is it that, what we feel, what we see, what we touch, maybe even what we miss. a slow beautiful morning, will pass by. what will attract our eyes? dirty dishes, stains on the windows, some old clothes on the floor,  the things you knew that you had to do? the things you thought they would stay away, the things you don’t want to see coming, the crack in the wall, crumbles on the table, the flowers next to it, the people outside, the blue sky that is there, the birds who are nesting in the tree next to your house, your nephews birthday that is coming up, your birthday will be soon to, the sun that is getting up, your breakfast that taste’s much better now, the things you accomplished yesterday which you don’t have to do again, your favorite shirt clean and on again, your music on the background, the realization you will have to go outside to go to school, the sun on your face, the train you manage to get this time, and the school that starts your day again. the people who you missed during holiday, the tea in the morning, fresh baking smell trough the school,

Eventually it is the way you look at it, the way you remember it, will feel it, recognize it again and again.

‘Just look at the bright side of life.’

Storm


Monday, May 5, 2014

STORM_1100

The black and white pictures but also the deconstruction and chaotic idea in typography in this post made me choose the Storm color card. [x]
When i hear Monday i see Red, Tuesday is Green, Wednesday is Blue and so on and so on. Synesthesia is a condition in which one sense or concept is also perceived with another concept. What if each post could be link with a color?

mutating ideas


Monday, May 5, 2014

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Blue drawing

 

I’m interested in taking forms and colours from the world around me and then making objects and drawings which share a similar form or colour. I was interested in the post “shades of blue” by George Kratochvil. A colour chart by Ignaz Schiffermüller, made in the 18th century, to ‘distinguishing between blue’s in the nature’, was the inspiration for a small sculptural work of blue abstract forms. Schiffermuller began by observing the shades of blue in the nature that he observed as a biologist and made an abstract representation of them in the making of his colour chart, which takes the shades of blue into the form of rectangles in a grid pattern. Kratochvil then observes the colour blue, the shapes in a grid pattern, and transforms it into his work. I now come and look through the design blog and am interested in the colour blue, I search for this keyword, open the post that has been made and comment on it. I also observe the shapes of Kratochvils sculpture and have created a drawing which uses them again with the colour blue. The use of past artworks as inspiration causes ideas to mutate in strange and interesting ways- thus is the use of this blog; to provide a library of ideas and images of which to take and re create things from. The drawing I have posted today is part of a dialogue that was started in the 18th century and now exists in a digital way on a blog where you are reading it and entering that dialogue.


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