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"graphic design" Category


So you like patterns?


Sunday, November 26, 2017

The book I choose to research is called ‘Biogea’ and was written by Michael Serres, and designed by Jason Wagner. Published in 2012 by Univocal Publishing, which Jason Wagner co-created with Drew Burk.
From the design of this book and from other books that Jason Wagner has designed I can see hints of his personality if not that then definitely his direction of interest. The way all the patterns are so precise and clean cut gives me the impression that he has a methodological nature and an obvious love of patterns both simple and complicated, while enjoying a subtle use of colour. As seen in another book designed by Jason Wagner ‘Variations on the Body’, which is also written by Michel Serres.

Variations -Cover

The fact that Jason Wagner is a part of the Univocal means that a critical look at the company can give an insight on the designer and ultimately the design itself.

Univocal Publishing was founded in 2011 as an independent publishing house specializing in small-scale editions and translations of texts spanning the areas of cultural theory, continental philosophy, aesthetics, anthropology and more. Univocal’s books including Biogea combine traditional printmaking techniques with the create evolutions of the digital age and feature letterpress covers designed by Jason Wagner, who demonstrates the technique in a video.

https://youtu.be/qwQSNhor1EQhttp://

Using techniques similar to this the publishing company oversaw the printing and binding of books from 2012 to May 2017, in which it ceased operations and merged with another company. This could seem to fall down to Jason Wagner who is stated to be moving on to pursue other projects.

But why did I choose this book? I decided on this book for a variety of reasons. I enjoyed its’ simple yet complex design containing a neat revolving spiral-like pattern which is placed in the middle of the book and looks pleasing to the eye. The pattern it self drew my gaze as I found it really intriguing as it resonated with my own interest in complex and unique patterns which I like to create.

The plain colours and easygoing layout of the book for me made it feel more approachable. The design it self didn’t take anything away from the content, for sometimes I feel that the cover of a book can sometimes give you false expectations of what it contains. Being misled into buying something based on its looks. This book however balances this nicely I think by not taking anything away from the content but instead relating and highlighting the themes within.

Biogea

The Typography is placed on top of the design and relates to and supports it nicely. Accentuating its colours and giving the book a clean and natural feel. The pattern initially drew my attention to the book, but as I took a closer look I found that the texture around the design on the cover felt good to the hand and gave it a thicker and more solid feel. This impacted on my decision as the pattern and texture subtly blend their delicate qualities together to create a book that i found aesthetically pleasing. While the design since imprinted on a thicker material felt noticeably different making it stand out from other designs and books.

The almost scientific complexity of the simple and delicate design also relates well to the content of the book for it’s a mixture of poetry and science. While also presenting a philosophy that merges the humanities with all creation. This has made Michel Serres “one of the most intriguing thinkers of his age”, and I believe is a reason why Univocal publishing has design and printed most of his books. Because of the authors philosophical and poetic inquiry sings praise of earth and life, and what Michel Serres names singularly as ‘Biogea’. The design relates well to the content as it mixes light fresh colours with an intricate pattern, which gives a natural clean aesthetic relating to some of the topics within the book. Some of the obvious examples being the use of blue in the typography which links with text within. “ Today we have other neighbours, constituents of the Biogea; the sea, my lover; our mother, the Earth, becomes our daughter; this beautiful breeze which inspires the spirit, a spiritual mistress; our light friends, the fresh and flowing waters.

Even though the design itself is quite precise it has a sense of movement to it and gives the book a poetic feel to it, this also relates to the content, as it’s a mixture of poetic statements revolving around natural themes. “In these times when species are disappearing, when catastrophic events such as earthquakes and tsunamis impale the earth” the author wonders if anyone “worries about the death pangs of the rivers”.

The author asks the same question of philosophy “as the humanities increasingly find themselves in need of defenders. Today, all living organisms discover themselves part of the Biogea”. Knowing the content of the book also ends up shaping my view on the design of the cover as the series of lines almost create a shield like swirl or sea creature, protected by the bold strong title Biogea.
 

Biogea, designer: Jason Wagner, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 157.3 ser 3

The spoken History of the young worker


Saturday, November 25, 2017

The magazine was on the shelf and the first thing that i picked up, I was immediately drawn to this magazine. The first thing that I noticed was the size – A3 -, demands your attention, gives importance. The cover is the picture of a young man, the eyes immediately captured my attention, eyes that tell a story. They make want to know what he has to tell.

Front

The dialogue in the magazine is mostly told in black and white photographs, what relates to the titel ‘’The spoken history of the young worker’’. The pictures are strong, dynamic, a lot of energy. There are also pages out of newspapers or other magazines from all over the world relating to the young worker. I think they this to connect the workers from all over the world as one unity.

What really spoke to me about the young worker is how relatable they are. Boy’s my age working, revolting, search for freedom. A peak into a different age but we still want the same at the core.  The story of the everyday people that is not what I typically think of when I think of design.

The Worker Photographers from the ’20s were the first amateur photographers to use the camera politically. They were pioneer in what we could call a ‘civil and collective use’ of photography. Far from having a rhetorical approach to Worker Photography, they are interested in their radical practice of photography based on self-representation, self-publishing and image critique

On page 3 you immediately get to know the spirit of the workers, what they have to say.

They are all different

temper

ambition

adaptability

team spirit

On the first page you have a collage for the youth photography programme and on the 4 and on page 4 an NEGATIV-ENTWICKLUNG. So on the first 3 pages you have the spirit of the worker and an mannual how to tell the story of the people. A manual to carry on the revolution.

Page 45/46 touched me the most, the plumber woman that dreams of going to college and the trainees that riot after the suicide of one their colleagues. Both heavy in the themes, and emphasizes by the word SCUM how we treat these human beings.

What i loved about the magazine is the IMAGE ACT, you can take it out of the magazine and made out of green paper. Image Act takes inspiration from the speech act, a concept in linguistics that explains how words can have qualities that go beyond the information they convey and materially affect our existence. These sound files are archived and accessible online at werkermagazine.org/imageact . The speeches are given in their own languages.

Werker correspondent aims to develop an autonomous and economically self-sustainable community of reporters and subscribers. the intention of this network is to function as a direct unmediated information source, communicating the everyday realities in different parts of the world.

Rogier Delfos is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He studied a BA Graphic Design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, an MA Critical Studies at the Sandberg Institute and is currently teaching at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. In his artistic practice he works with publishing as a communication technology that creates a multitude of social behavior. He experiments with an array of techniques of publishing to express his desires and micropolitics and spread alternative views on labour, gender, education and queer sexualities. His definition of ‘publishing’ has a wide and foremost artistic understanding; he is using various forms of printed matter, film, online platforms, installations, workshops and—as a more recent involvement—by way of writing and performative lectures.

Because this magazine is all about telling the story of the daily worker, how do tell a story. I decided to show the world of the the daily worker at the Albert Cuyp market. Young boys that work there but also men that work there for over 20 years. The pictures are taken in the night when they breaking of the market, that is when the workers have the most interactions with each other. Chatting with your neighbour from 3 stalls down, breaking off to rebuilt it all tomorrow.

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Werker Magazine #1, designer: Marc Riog Blesa & Rogier Delfos, Rietveld Library Cat. no: werk 2a/b

Judge a book by its cover


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Book Cover     Illustration 2

Sound file: ‘Front Cover’

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The blue colour of the spine was the first thing that attracted me to the book ‘Walls That Teach’. I reached up to grab the book and upon closer inspection I discovered a beautiful cover with an interesting layout of text and attractive illustrations. The layout of text on the back of the cover for example runs horizontally, forcing you to turn the book to the side to read the text – something that reoccurs occasionally within the book. Despite the title of the book and the topic – architecture of youth centres – being an unknown topic to me, the design of the cover intrigued me enough to give the book a chance and look within it.

Typo 'w'

I opened the book and ran my fingers through the pages to feel the paper. The book felt light and the paper felt thin. The colours of the paper were the next thing that I noticed – they vary between green, white, and black paper. The main texts appear on the green and black paper. The illustrations and images appear on the white paper. The white pages are laid out horizontally requiring the reader to turn the book to its side in order to look at it.

Sound file: ‘Chronological’

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Young Pioneer Palace 3

The way the font (Gil Sans, Gill Sans Infant) is used and the strokes of the letters, the layout of the paragraphs, the letter spacing, word spacing and line spacing give a feeling of space on the pages without giving the impression that the page feels empty. The letters, words and lines are spaced quite far apart. The Paragraphs are centred on the middle of the pages, leaving a space of about an inch on either side. The strokes of the letters are also light (there are specks of white on the text that is black). All of these factors contribute to the appearance of the pages not looking cluttered.

Sound file: ‘Playful Typography’

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Illustration 4

The illustrations throughout the book are very imaginative. The first illustration is on the front cover. it is an architectural drawing of a youth centre with illustrations of people demonstrating how the space would be used – people are dancing in a disco, some people are playing table tennis, some people are sitting around and some people are working.

Sound file: ‘Illustrations’

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However, these illustrations change inside the book. The people depicted in the illustration on the front cover are no longer contained within the walls of the ‘youth centre’, but are left to roam freely over the pages. Sometimes at the bottom of the page you will find a couple walking hand in hand. On another page there are people playing table tennis. On another page beside a paragraph about the planning of a youth centre there are a group of people meeting around a table discussing something.

Illustration 5

The contrast between these illustrations and the more practical architectural drawings within the book is really amusing. For someone like myself who doesn’t know much about the topic of architecture, small details such as the people wandering through the pages really capture my attention and encourage me to read. The different photographs of the youth centres under construction, how they were used and exterior shots of the buildings punctuated throughout the book also adds another dimension. The combination of how the text is put together, the illustrations, drawings and photographs really brings the book to life for me.

Sound file: ‘Images’

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Book Images 2 Book Images 3

My first impression of the book was that it appeared to be playfully made. This struck me as being funny because the topic of the book is about youth centre architecture, but the topic of the book suggested that it could be heavy to read. Upon opening the book and reading it, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the playfulness of the cover continued throughout. All the different elements brought together really encouraged me to read. I think that the intention of the design element of the book is to inspire the audience to interact with the book and create discussion. All in all a very well designed book.

 

Walls that Teach, designer: David Bennewith & Sandra Kassenaar, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 718.5 pie 1.8 met 1

Orange


Saturday, November 25, 2017

 

Orange to catch the eye and then black and white.

Creating pleasure, stimulating sight.

Images contrasting, dark and light.

Clashing shadows tend to fight.

Hundreds of books, a sea of bindings.

Holding stories, facts and findings.

A linen cover caught my attention.

A decision made with no suspension.

 

The book AR-artistic research was conceived through a one-year collaboration between Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)and the German company Siemens-Stiftung. Multiple artists contributed essays to the book about their work and how they combine art and technology. The book is designed by Novamondo (Berlin) and no individual names of designers are given which may mean that a number of people were involved in the design of the book.

AR-artistic research has 131 pages bound in a hard cover. The image on the cover, designed by Jae Rhim Lee, has an interesting circle structure in fluorescent orange. Later in the book you come across the same image and realize the circles are mushrooms. The fluorescent colour really caught my eye. The orange/red colour fills almost the whole front of the cover. The image is screen-printed onto cream coloured, linen-like material that is very pleasant to hold. The hardback cover has the quality of a painter’s canvas.

 

ar-artistic-research-45

 

 

Looking through the book I immediately realized this fluorescent orange plays an important role in the design of the book. The colour returns on almost every page, usually emphasizing significant images or important parts of the text. The rest of the book is printed in black and white. The futuristic fluorescent orange in combination with traditional black and white create a fascinating relationship with many surprises.

AR-artistic research has four chapters that have no images. These chapters, which are full of text, were surprisingly one of the first things to catch my eye when I first looked through the book. In these chapters the designers play with the three colours (orange, black and white). I think limiting yourself to these three colours is an interesting decision. To experience this limitation myself I decided to experiment with the colours.

 

boekslides3

 

I combined black with the fluorescent orange and afterwards I did the same thing using white. Throughout my experiment I used the same orange tone, yet the colour seemed to change. This effect is called the contrast effect. It is an effect that you see everywhere though I had never properly taken it in. Using the contrast effect within design, you can create a structure of importance in size, shape and colour. The designers of AR-artistic research make great use of this effect. The fluorescent, eye-catching orange is a good contrast to the more inconspicuous black and white. The designers also create a lot of contrast in image and font size. This gives the reader the impression some images or sentences are more important than others. It also creates interesting layouts and some very fine prints.

There are five images in the book that cover two complete pages. The images are mainly photos and in every image the light and dark juxtapose each other. My favourite image is of white mushroom roots on a black background (see GIF below). The simplicity of the image and the differences in light and dark are very impressive. I think it was a good decision of the designers to dedicate two pages for this image. If the image was smaller the reader might not give it as much attention because of its simplicity.

 

boekafbeeldingen2

 

This is the first time I have focused on the design of a book instead of content, which was an interesting experience. Not only have I learned a lot about the book’s design but I have also learned a new way of looking. I hope now not just to read the content of a book but also to read the design. I have also fallen in love with this particular colour of orange.
AR–Artistic Research, designer: unknown, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 700.8 met 1

We Have Skype


Friday, November 24, 2017

“All languages are foreign.

The best books are found, not sought.

Peace, plenty, truth, and love.”

- We Have Photoshop 2017.

 

12/11/2017

Dear creators/members of We Have Photoshop,

First I will introduce myself; my name is Sterre, I am a Dutch student at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.

For a design research assignment called ‘Books by Design’, I am analyzing the design of your book ‘Gilles Deleuze’s ABC primer.’ I found it at our school’s library and was immediately attracted to its playfulness. The only thing that bothers me is that there’s always a grand distance between the reader and the creator, I would love to let go of that distance by having a small talk with you, that would help me understand your way of decision making.

Does We Have Photoshop also have Skype? I would love to wake up in the middle of the night for a nice conversation with you!

Let me hear what you think about it and hopefully I’ll see you soon through my computer screen.

Kind regards,

Sterre Troquay

15/11/2017

Hi Sterre –

Nice to hear from you

and sorry about the delay in getting back to you.

I’d be happy to help with your project by having a chat on Skype.

I live in London so the time difference won’t be a big deal however,

I’m currently travelling between India and Russia

and won’t be back in London until the evening of the 19th.

I’m pretty busy during the day next week

but would be happy to chat after 7pm London-time

if that isn’t too late to be of use for your project.

Monday would work well for me

but it could be a different day if that isn’t good for you.

– Mike

 

17/11/2017

Hi Mike,

Thank you for responding!

Monday 7 pm London time is perfect!

My username on Skype is: Sterre…...

I’m looking forward to it!

Kind regards,

Sterre

 

20/11/2017

Skype video call

So, you work together with other designers within the studio called ‘We Have Photoshop, right?

Yes, that’s right.

 

Can you tell me a bit more about the genesis of the studio?

I started the studio together with my friends from collage.

We used to study at the Yale School of Art,

though the studio was never registered as an official company.

 

How do you work together? Do all of you work on each project, or ..

No, as soon as we graduated from art school,

most of us moved out of Brooklyn and the group scattered a bit.

Sebastian lives in Moscow, Rebecca in Chicago,

Andrew still lives in Brooklyn and I live in London.

The distance makes it hard to work together on projects,

that’s why the studio barely exists, most of us have other primary jobs now.

Whenever we work for a client,

one of us takes the job and we sometimes help each other completing the job.

Most of the time we consult via Skype, but I sometimes go for a visit.

 

You designed ‘Gilles Deleuze’s ABC Primer’. Was anyone else involved in the designing of the book and was there a client that had influence on the outcome?

I designed almost the whole book.

Only the title page isn’t my idea, Sebastian worked on that.

I think there’s a clear contrast between his work and the rest of the book,

you can tell it’s been designed by someone else.

This project really originates from my own interests, there’s no client involved.

It started about 8 or 9 years ago when I found videos

of a series of interviews according to the letters of the alphabet.

They were broadcasted on French television after Deleuze committed suïcide,

I believe This was one of his conditions for taking part in the interview in the first place.

My girlfriend at that time, now wife, speaks French quite well and also works as an academic, so this subject was very interesting for her as well.

We thought: if this book doesn’t exist already,

we could make an English translation of it.

We sent an email to ask for permission to translate the interviews,

 but they never responded,

so we figured that we could just do it since they’ve never said no.

My wife did the translations and the content and I did the design.

 

Did you know that the book was in the Rietveld library?

No, when you publish a book, you never get to know who buys it.

Nowadays that’s already different, now they do tell you in which country it’s been sold.

But we also never really wanted to publish it.

We wanted to make a translation to give it to our friends

because we thought they should read it as well.

….

I don’t really give clear answers to your questions, do I?

 

Yes you do .. But I also wouldn’t mind if you didn’t .. I just want to hear about everything you’ve got to say and at the end I’ll try to write a research in the same conversation-like style that the text of the book is written in. So, that’s why I’m also recording this ..

So, have you read the book then?

Yes, I’ve started on it and I really want to continue.

 

Yes, they have a pretty amazing conversation ..

That’s one of the reasons why we were attracted to doing this,

because the text is really good. I have read it a couple of times now,

but I can imagine it’s very hard to understand for someone

who’s not a specialist in theory.

It’s very dense, it’s very particular and specific.

 

They talk about a lot of different subjects as well.

Yes. The interview is structured by the letters of the alphabet,

but throughout the interview some ideas and subjects

return in the conversation they’re having.

 

I feel like the playful design of the book is really in contrast with its logical and chronological context. The cover of the book for instance: the letter ‘Z’ is on the front and the letter ‘A’ is on the back, shouldn’t it be the other way around? Is it a joke?

cover

Yes, it’s definitely a joke.

But still the cover of the book makes sense: When you open it, and look at the cover,

the ‘A’ comes before the ‘Z’ and the spine serves as a space between the letters.

Can you tell me a bit more about the design of the book and the decisions you’ve made? I’m also interested in your working process.

Of course.

 The design of a book really depends on the content

and I always start on the structure.

But for me, it basically means: adding, adding, adding,

and afterwards scrapping things till almost nothing’s left

and then I’ve probably done enough ..

At the time I made the book I was very interested mapping one structure onto another.

The text is made the same way: by translating the French sentences into English,

 the text becomes a bit distorted at first.

The design of the book visually mirrors that.

You can see that very well on this double titled page.

doubletitle_wit

Something that was also interesting for me is the running footer

which moves from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ across the bottom which makes it look like a small film.

The same thing happens with the structure of the chapters,

which are also divided by the letters of the alphabet.

What I really like about the book is that it looks very logical, but in fact it’s completely illogical. I don’t want it to be completely understandable, I like it to be a game.

aisfor_wit

Yes, that’s exactly what attracted me so much! We’re actually doing some bookbinding at school at the moment and I feel like this is very useful for my own book design as well. So, are you satisfied with the end result? Are there things you would have done differently?

Yes, I’m actually pleased with the physical design of the book.

Of course, there will always be things that you don’t like, but can’t do anything about.

The glue binding for instance:

the first version of the book was way more flexible than the latest version.

That’s because they used a lot more glue for the latest version.

I also prefer the paper of the first version, I’m not sure why they changed it ..

 

Thank you so much for your time and great help! I just have one more question: Would you like to take a selfie with me over Skype?

Selfie

 

Gilles Deleuze’s ABC Primer, designer: We have Photoshop, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 157.3

Visual depiction of intimacy through design


Friday, November 24, 2017

A thick, soft bound minimal book. Deep wine red cover, blank, apart from the title- “Eva Hesse, Diaries”. From a side view, multiple black lines appear – opening the book up at one of such, the viewer discovers fully blacked out pages. Clearly a separation of some kind, and this is where the curiosity started – one of the reasons why I picked up this book to research on it.

Book cover

To some extent reminiscent of a elderly and minimalist bible caused by colour and size, opening this book immediately provokes a certain curiosity; especially the confrontation with cutting through content and context sharply through a simple, basic idea – to separate each diary with coloured pages enforces the reader or viewer to get a rough insight to the actual content of Hesse’s Diaries already.

The 20 second intimacy that occurs to a person when looking at a book for the first time has always fascinated me somehow – the endless possibilities of reactions one might digest, from a deep attraction to complete indifference, and how the slightest change in design, especially typography can make the most significant change.

 

According, “Eva Hesse Diaries” reveals a very appealing approach typography wise.

Every new page usually starts with the date of the entry, which truly summons the feeling of physically opening up and reading through her original diaries.

Another attention catching factor supporting the previous are the visual irregularities in which layout and state pages are left, some being nearly blank and some completely filled, but always seemingly decisive.

As an example, turning the page to find one single sentence only may leave a vibrant impression on the viewer. For further underlining of importance, paragraphing has been used with a similar effect.

paragraphing

In the optic chaos one might expect reading a diary, this design makes us stumble upon aesthetically pleasing organization due to provision of the books typographic grid in which the manuscript pages had been divided into eight columns.

For stronger visual insurance of clarity the font size is standardized whereas uppercase, underlining and crossing outs are retained. As an extra insight content wise, some of the original materials of her diaries such as notes and loose pages have been added.

sketches

 

The design of this newly gathered selection of Eva Hesse’s diaries was awarded the bronze medal in “best book designs from all over the world 2017” and selected one of the “most beautiful Swiss books 2017” and was planned and mainly made by Johannes Breyer during his internship at the design company “NORM” in Zurich, led by Dmitri Bruni and Manuel Krebs.

To get an insight into Breyer’s approach in and understanding of design, we might want to look a bit closer at his persona itself.

He is a half German, half Chilean graphic designer currently based in Berlin who studied in Zurich whilst being occupied at NORM before he graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

 

http://www.norm.to

Nowadays he focuses mainly on printed matter such as books, and type design.

His interest in graphic design roots in a passion he found himself captured in during his youth where he claimed to have been an excessive gamer. Gaming led to him and his online friends stumbling upon web design which stuck to him as a field of interest so such an extent he decided to pursue this newly found passion – which leads us up until now.

Momentarily he runs a Swiss type design practice with the designer Fabian Harb called “DINAMO”, which produces typefaces and exclusive alphabets.

http://www.abcdinamo.com/about

Breyer is interested in creating and deducing the best system for each project and each product. From his perspective, it is better to hold personal preferences back, otherwise the content may be too easily forced into a form without relation to content or cause.

One of his beliefs include the fact that he thinks of passion and general curiosity as a more vital factor to success and progress rather than following an institutional education, although he’d rather work within a tight set of rules during the process of a project, claiming such set of rules to provide the necessary freedom to not run in circles with the same questions over and over again.

 

Overall, this design accurately depicts a visual insight into the artists personal life in an aesthetically pleasing format that certainly deserves the attention it has gotten. To achieve the effect of a reader entering the mind of a complete stranger could be described as a phenomena, considering the fact that in a social surrounding people interact on a mostly superficial basis – depending on the individually desired extent of social interactions. Exposing the raw content that makes up our persona, sharing every single vital thought, including angst and paranoia, socially unacceptable thoughts and processes in mind is something most people fear – but it also awakens a greater curiosity. To gather personal content together and deal with such sensible material in an appropriate manner could be considered an honorable task, anyhow this book is certainly worth giving it a look at.
Eva Hesse Diaries, designer: Johannes Breyer, Rietveld Library Cat. no: hes 9

Book or object?


Friday, November 24, 2017

I love books. Looking at books, or preferably full bookshelves, has always made me happy. It is not that I loved books because of the way they looked, but rather because of the knowledge that they represent. I’ve always seen books as a medium for information, as a source of knowledge, and because of that, I thought that the content was the most important part of a book.

When I started to make a book myself, I focused on the content, seeing the design as something ‘to worry about later’ or even, something ‘not to think about too much at all’. However, at the same time as making my own book, I did a research on a book designed by Irma Boom. Boom is a Dutch ‘bookmaker’, as she calls herself, who challenges the traditional formats of books. She doesn’t treat books as simple PdFs prints, but rather as architectonic objects. The shape, weight, and size become important aspects of the design because these aspects influence the experience of reading the book just like the content does.

To illustrate this, Boom has prove she could as much make a book that is 170 x 225 x 113mm height and weighs 3.5kg,  than a book smaller than the tip of your pinkie. The experience of handling these two ‘objects’ are completely different. While the first one is hard to hold because of the weight, the other one is hard to hold because there’s only a small surface to hold on to. The experience of these two books would have been the same if they both had been read on a computer.

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Boom handling her smallest and biggest book. 

Another book made by Boom is Misfits. Misfits has an outstanding shape too, which spoke to me immediately. The book is bound in the simplest way, but it is an unusual way for a book so thick. It is bound by one thread that holds more than 300 pages together. Like Boom says herself, the book is essentially ‘just a pile of paper, stapled, folded and that is it’.

misfits front

The middle of the book, where the thread binds the book and the pages come together, is also used as the center of the content. The works that are showing in the book come here together and are ordered in a catalogue. This is also useful when flipping through the book, because this is the place where the book will open naturally. Here, the way of binding influences the structure.

misfits middle

I like that the book is unusual, as well in the shape of the book as in the structure. This makes the book interesting to look through. The book is simple in the mechanism that is used to bind the pages, but it isn’t so straightforward in the mechanism to organize the pages. At the same time, the simple solutions that are used in the book connect the book to the work of Hella Jongerius, the artist whose designs are shown in the book. She tries to find easy solutions in her designs as well.

Another book designed by Boom in which the physical shape fits the content is Elements. Elements is a book, or rather a collection of books, that accompanied the exhibition ‘Elements in Architecture’ at the 2014 Venice Biennale. It is a sort of frame that beholds 15 smaller books, each representing another fundamental part of architecture, such as floor, wall, ceiling, balcony, elevator and ramp. The fact that the book is a collection of different parts, different elements, strengthens the content of the book.

elements shelf

The complete collection of Elements standing in a full shelf with other books designed by Irma Boom.

Elements and Misfits both are books with an unusual physical shape. These books got my attention because of their shape, not their content. For me, they where more ‘objects’ than ‘books’. Books are of course always objects, but when does a reader become aware that it is an object? When does a book become more than content, fitted in pages?

Boom’s books are often seen as works of art. I think that one of the reasons for this is their object-quality. They are interesting to look at as object and don’t necessarily need their content to be interesting. This makes them almost like autonomous works of art.

In my own project too, I’m trying to make the design of the book interesting and fitting for the content. I let myself be inspired by Boom’s book designs and made, like Boom did with Elements, a collection of smaller books. These books are bound in the same way as Misfits is bound. In the middle of the book I placed the most important pictures, like Boom used the center for a summary. This way I hope that when someone opens the book, the most important page is immediately visible.

own collection2kopie

own middle

Researching the way Boom uses the physical elements of a book to enhance the content made me aware that a book could be more than just printed out pages, bound together. I realized that books are objects too. I have my own copy of Misfits now, which is not standing in my bookshelf, but proudly on top of it. I haven’t read a page of it yet, but I’m in love with the book already.

Misfit, designer: Irma Boom, Rietveld Library Cat. no: jonger 2

Paper Senses


Friday, November 24, 2017

 

What                 about

         a     paper      experience    ?

 

Texture      //////////////   Size///////////////////

////  Shape//////////////////////////////////Smell

 

 

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Reading is normally the first motivation for buying a book right? But it isn’t always the case, at least not for me. There are so many different things that can bring you to this mysterious and incredible object: the book. One of them is the paper experience and since ages it is a full and really particular sensorial one.

 

In fact, only for this reason,  I spend hours and hours in book shops searching for something attractive. But what does it  « something attractive » mean? After spending four years studying Graphic Design in Switzerland, I have learned how to understand layouts, how to make them attractive, and how to manage different information to make them more accessible. But Furthermore I’ve learned that the base of all the work of a graphic designer is sensibility. How to play with visual and tactile senses. How to make you curious on a subject that you don’t really care about just by the shape of a book. The content of it, is for certain the most important thing but some people can look at a book in a totally different way.  For instance, when I buy books, pay attention to the layout or the paper, more than to the content.

 

 

Through the broad variety of books available in the Rietveld unique library, my eyes fell on a small and independent  magazine called « The YellowPress ». It was created by the St Lucas School of Arts of Antwerpen. This magazine’s particularity is that for each one of their periodical they gives the opportunity to all students, alumni, researchers and professors of the school to share their on-going research and/or output / results. This enables a diversity and an open-minded perspective of the magazine and creates the possibility to reinvent the layout’s atmosphere and dynamic. This explains the reason why each periodical has a completely different shape, typography and layout design.
I chose to focus my work on the first number of the periodical made by the graphic designer Ward Heirwegh who teaches graphic design at the St Lucas School of Arts.

 

Cover

 

More precisely, I’ve chosen to work on the Periodical #1 because at first sight it was the design of the cover that I noticed. Therefore, I focused only on the design of the magazine, not on the content. First of all, we can see how images are articulated with the text in a way that they interact with each other and play with the space of the page. The fact that they are using a card board for the cover but also for the Editorial and Colophon was at first something that I’ve found really playful and unusual. The cover is normally more straight than the content but in this case, they played with the same paper inside of the book and bring an other dynamic.

 

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The back cover is also interesting because they played only with text elements and the size of the text, which gives a special interest to the pages because the integral empty space. That is one of the knowledge of a good designer to know how to manage the white space and make it interesting. As many Graphic Designers, they used only text and play with the idea that it can become an image.

The color of the cover has been something really intriguing because it is a fluorescent yellow. This choice gives a certain impact to the cover because it catches the reader’s eye. Among the four pictures on the cover, only one is in color and the others are only black and white. From my perspective,  this gives a tension to the way that it is framed because of the repartition of the space.

 

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  image3.1

 

Moreover, the dynamic is followed by the utilization of all different kinds of paper for each edition. As I have mentioned previously the cover and the Editorial are printed on a card board and the four projects are presented on different papers. By this simple act, they created a different atmosphere for each periodical and gave another dynamic to the work. One of the first things that I usually like to look at when I’m discovering a book is the choice of paper. This simple fact allows you to give a whole sensibility to your object. Furthermore, what differentiates a printed book from a digital book is precisely the choice of the material and also the images can be really different depending on the paper and the quality of the printing. The paper is the real contact with the object and therefore a full sensorial experience. The magazine’s choice to change the paper for each project gives a different feeling to each work and invites the reader to discover/ experience something new every time . From my point of view, this is one of the most important characteristic.

 

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By conducting my research, I saw that The YellowPress is variable for each project. I liked the fact that they have found different dynamics, playing with the space and the different typographies. They have chosen to use different typographies for the different parts of the magazine and by this means, we can distinguish the different parts of the magazine: for example, the Editorial, the introduction to a work, the information of the pages, etc. The fact that they mix different kinds of typography shows that they care about each shape and dynamic of the typography and about what experience they could create on the ready. It is a subtle way to play with the content.

 

binding

 

On this periodical, one of the things that I’ve really liked was the bookbinding. They have work with a sew and stick binding and it gives something really attractive to the object. By the fact that the layoutis really clean and nice and you have this industrial binding which brings another dimension to the project, more experimental and practical.

After my analysis about the layout of this magazine, I think that in the first place I was actually more attracted by the choice of the different papers than about the layout itself. I still like how they  have constructed and organized the magazine but I’m really interested by the texture. What I’ve also really enjoyed about this magazine is that they didn’t respect the common codes that magazines usually follow. A magazine is usually based on a specific grill and respect certain typography and system for each periodical. In the YellowPress, they adapt and change every time every thing.

 
We are at a time when the value of paper is being questioned and compared to digital. It is essential to see in this medium a real quality and sensory experience that I believe, can never be equaled by the digital. People crave for something real, a physical object that is unique and that you can hold in your hand and experience it.

The YellowPress Periodical #1, designer: Ward Heirwegh, Rietveld Library Cat. no: magazine

The Continuing Story of Life on Earth


Friday, November 24, 2017

Hamburger Eyes. The Continuing Story of Life on Earth… Bizarre title aside- hamburger eyes? life on earth continues!!- what attracted me the most was the cover, more specifically its texture. The pleasant sensation of its grainy, bulky surface on my fingertips reminded me of snowy twitches of bad TV signal, or, perhaps more curiously, the thick, shiny, rough surface of the corridor walls in my primary school in Russia (a serious throwback!). A visuo-tactile experience. A tactile eye (a Hamburger Eye?)

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The object-oriented appeal of this catalogue is emphasized by the cover’s minimal design: front- one black and white image, framed simply and straightforwardly, no text; back- modest typeface (and size) of the title, another black and white shot, Kunstverein München. The Continuing Story of Life on Earth is the sixth installment in Kunstverein München’s Companion series, produced in collaboration with Roma Publications since April 2015,  and was released on the occasion of the exhibition by Hamburger Eyes at Kunstverein München. I’m still not entirely sure what Companion series is all about, other than quietly beautiful, tactile books; book-objects. They are artist/exhibition books primarily, all clad in that leathery grain and defined by simple, sharp covers and minimalist layouts; images taking up full pages, and separated completely from text, which always has its own section. I have managed to get hold of two more publications from the series, You’ve got beautiful stairs, you know (artist book for/by la Vasiljeva), and Serving Compressed Energy with Vacuum (exhibition catalogue for Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven). Both have the same multi-sensory appeal of a well-designed object; as publications, they are direct in their materiality but somewhat elusive in their origin and intention: where did they come from? Who made them?

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Companion is conceptualized and designed by Julie Peeters , a Brussels-based graphic designer, editor and educator. For the sake of this brief research we are going to conflate the series with the person behind them; she is credited under ‘identity’ as well as under graphic design. Companion is Julie Peeters.

Peeters deals primarily with exhibition-related printed matter- booklets, posters, catalogues; on her website you can find examples of ‘anthologies of installations’, exhibition designs, as well as credits for the identity of Lithuanian and Cyprus Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennial. Peeter’s signature minimalism, as seen in Companion, is consistent throughout her design practice: simple yet bold covers without titles (if possible), text relegated to its own section in the back, simple layouts that let images unfold, breath, softly assert themselves. A prime example of this is Julia’s design of Full Colour by Karel Martens, published on the occasion of an exhibition in Tokyo. Graphic, enigmatic cover; title humbly relegated to the spine ; images taking up the whole page, on every page. Never a literal representation, a book by Peeters is an autonomous object, which augments its origin (an exhibition, an artist’s practice), yet has a character of its own.

Full Colour OUTSIDE

Full Colour INSIDE

Upon closer inspection the book’s identity unfolds; The Continuing Story of Life on Earth is not just Peeters. Hamburger Eyes began as a small xeroxed zine, turned into a magazine, and has evolved into a publisher. Publishing since 2001, they have developed their own signature vision of photography-

‘Ray selects images for their almost unexplainable impact, for their ‘epic’ qualities that exceed understanding, that SURPASS LANGUAGE…’
very Peeters?…

and a self-assured design style-

‘the current format is black and white printing on matte stock, print run of 500 copies, 6 x 9 inches, 64 pages, with PERFECT bind

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The exhibition

which spawned this curious book (‘facsimiles of spreads from the back issues of Hamburger Eyes’) points to the mutually informative relationship between the design and the content. Each image was exhibited unframed and face up on tables, ‘as if a zine were being collated’. Hamburger Eyes promise to focus on the quality of a given image, rather than on the quality of its framing or installation ~ ~ ~ ~ The Continuing Story of Life on Earth has a very simple yet occasionally claustrophobic (two images stuck to one another on one page, with one blown up on the other) layout that recalls the intimate space of a zine. The book also houses an essay, that weaves throughout the whole book and is punctuated with tiny images- who made the choice when it comes to this punctuation? The publication is authored by Chris Fitzpatrick (editor?…), who also initiated the exhibition; one has to always consider the relationship between the designer and the author. The Continuing Story of Life on Earth is a collaborative effort shared between the two. Here content informs design, but also design informs design: from a zine to a photography magazine to an exhibition and back again trough the catalogue to our book.

Hanburger Eyes /The continuing story of life on earth, designed by Julie Peeters, Rietveld Library Catalog no: hamb 1

Chose a magazine for it first look


Friday, November 24, 2017

As a part of a research I focused on the design of a magazine. How a layout can interfere with a certain content ? and how a layout could be a good understanding of the content itself ? I started my research by choosing a magazine. A magazine which inspired me at the first look. Thought a mere book wasn’t interesting me. I chose to work on an edition magazine. I focused on the Flash art magazine issue 312.

At first, what’s Flash art magazine and why it is created ?

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A little bit history about flash art magazine:
Flash Art is a bimonthly magazine focused on contemporary art. It was founded in Rome in 1967 by Italian publisher and art critic Giancarlo Politi. The magazine has been described as “the confident, international journal of European and North American contemporary art ». It is a magazine and publishing platform dedicated to thinking about contemporary art, exploring the evolving cultural landscape through the work of leading artists, writers, curators and others.

The next question following was why I chose this magazine? Why not an other one ?
—> Basic description and first look. How it’s look like ?

cover content summary

At first I chose this magazine for its cover. It attracted me by the colours of the artwork put in the middle of the page but also by the white square surrounding it. At first sight, the magazine looked minimal with a straight and regular layout. In the first pages of the magazine you have art and luxury adverts. After those pages you find a summary.

The magazine is separated in five parts : - Macro, – Features, -Time machine, -Micro and -Reviews. In those parts you have different topics, artworks and interviews presented.

In the middle of the magazine you can find different advertising and publicity about museums and artworks.
Concerning the layout, it is presented like one page of text, one image.

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The text are laid out in columns. Often with three columns. The font is the same in all the magazine but the size changes for titles and subtitles. They used newspaper paper for the hole magazine. The cover is smooth, with a title in front and on the top, then an image of an artwork all over the page. On the right side you have the number of the magazine, the month of it’s publication and the price in the different countries.The binding is basic, a glued square which keeps the pages together.

binding

After the description part of the design, let’s talk about the interference of it with the content:
First thing to say. I focused on the design of the magazine and not on the content.
We know the magazine is an art international magazine. The content then speaks of art and explains artworks. As I explained previously, the layout is quite simple and straight forward.That is why the design gave place to a good understanding of the content because it is clear. The texts are clear and the images printed big. Different layout for images and texts takes place in the magazine which differs depending on the content of the article. A question came to me about this straight and basic layout. Is it the same for all the number of the magazine ? Is it a choice to work with the same layout ?

By conducting my research, I saw that flash art have several designers for different number of the magazine. In one of the numbers that I chose, the designer Samuele Angellotti, has his proper label : Hansel Grotesque. A website was created since 2015 but nothing is online yet: http://www.hansel-grotesque.it/. His work is about identity and graphic design. It is really different compared to the layout in Flash art. I put the link of his personal blog:http://www.samueleanzellotti.it/ . It shows that Samuele Angellotti works with difference brands, for example Jin Jin Island. He was the art director and the graphic designer in 2015. The layout of his website is interesting and interactive for the viewer. The projects are well understood, represent by that ‘gif’ logo of the project on the black background.

Let’s see if I can say more about the layout and designers in different number of the magazine. I’ve made the choice to focus on three different numbers. In all of the three, the summary changes. They are more or less different categories, it obviously refers to the content itself. I noticed similarities in the layout.The advertising at the beginning in the magazine are the same, the font and the size of the text is the same. The review part is not changing. Indeed, in one magazine the layout change by adding different papers. In one we have scans of newspapers. A glossy paper is here to explain a project of an artist. The text has a different layout : a grey square surrounded the text.

For each artist presentation and article the design changes with colour of the square surrounding the text and the quality of the paper. In an other number, we have different colours of paper : light blue, light pink and light yellow. Two columns of text and the same font again. Sometimes the colour of the text changes to emphasize the content. The designer is again not the same than the two other. In this issue the graphic designer is Lilia Di Bella, who works as a graphic designer for the platform “Archive Books”. It is a platform for debates and cultural research located in Berlin. They are engaged on difference activities about publishing and exhibition making. http://www.archivebooks.org/. The design of the website is clear and clean. It shows artists publications. It is different compare the website of Flash art magazine:https://www.flashartonline.com/ which are more commercial and linear. In the principal page, artists projects are presented. It is possible to see the magazine of the month. Also find the previous number of the magazine and buy the current magazine.

I tried to search for an older version of flash art magazine to see if the layout was the same and if not what were the most important changes. I find one of 2006 and just on the cover we saw differences . I imagine the layout was different inside of the magazine.

flashart 2006
After investigating about the layout of this magazine, I think that it was the cover of the magazine that attracted me more than the layout itself. The flash art magazine use the same graphic rhythm to have an entity and his own identity next to other popular magazines. The layouts are clear, I think the content is the most important thing. It is a straight pattern which is repeated monthly in these magazines. They wanted to achieve a universal identity with international content for an open reader.

Flash Art, designed by Samuele Angellotti, Rietveld Library Catalog no: magazine

The YellowPress Periodical #3


Friday, November 24, 2017

 

The Sun and The YPP3

 

the sun hockney1

An issue of the Sun, or any other tabloid newspaper, is designed to grab your attention, and to stand out on shelves filled with newspapers and magazines. The tabloid newspaper uses bright colors, large bold typography, and shocking headlines next to eye-catching suggestive photos. The cover of the YellowPress periodical #3 does not share many of these features, and it does not use any of these visual tools in the same way, but the publication’s bright red cover with it’s abstract black shapes still managed to grab my attention. Sitting on the shelf in the library it was the first item that caught my eye, and it intrigued me enough to pick it up and have a further look.

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The name YellowPress refers to yellow journalism or yellow press, a term used to describe what is more commonly known as tabloid or sensationalist newspapers, publications that focus on the amount of newspapers it can sell and not on actual journalism. The type of newspapers that will annoy you when you unintentionally encounter them in a shop or on a table in the hospital waiting room. Cheap, unprofessional and frequently unethical printed content. The YellowPress periodical is by contrast a publication platform for artistic research, based in the St Lucas School of arts in Antwerp, where the designer of the book (periodical) also teaches. The name is an allusion to this trivial form of journalism, that graphic designer Ward Heirwegh also refers to in the design of the publication.

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When it comes to the front page, the only immediately recognizable feature shared by a tabloid newspaper and the YellowPress periodical #3 is the use of color. The use of red on the cover could be a reference to tabloid newspapers, as their titles are often surrounded by the vibrant color known to evoke emotion. The red on the dust jacket has an eye-grabbing effect, but it’s also used inside the book with one full red page introducing each of the four chapters. On the lightweight almost newspaper-thin pages the color has a different effect. The reflection of the full red pages on the white paper create the illusion that some pages are pink and the back of the red printed page appear to have a light pink tint. The last chapter of the book enhances this confusion by altering between red, pink and black text. The overall effect this has on the book is a soft glow of light red and pink throughout, creating continuous variation through an indirect use of the colors.

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The bright red dust jacket embracing the white cover of the book features the YellowPress Periodical logo – an outline of the letters YP – as well as four elements referencing the content of the book. A black rectangle, a line with black dots reminiscent of a map drawing, a row of three digit numbers, and a set of horizontal and vertical lines with one line covered in three black ovals make up the design of the front cover. The graphic elements are distinctively individual, but they also work together as one illustration due to their differences in form and their similarity in color. Already on the cover a play between the content and design becomes apparent, and shows that this is an unusual book with a very specific design language. Ward Heirwegh (the designer) mainly works within the cultural and creative field, and besides teaching graphic design conducts research into alternative means of distributing information (and takes photos of his work on wooden floors).

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The shapes are in fact abstractions of the issue’s contents. And they are all repeated continuously throughout their respective chapters. Calling the divisions in content chapters is perhaps not accurate enough as the YellowPress is a non-hierarchical publication where the contents are not arranged after importance or in the same way chapters would be arranged in a conventional publication, or how content is categorized in a tabloid newspaper. The black squares referenced on the cover are featured alongside typography pages that are an addition to first text, both by artists An Onghena and Hanne Van Dyck.

The use of graphic artworks is a major contrast to the tabloid newspapers use of offensive caricature drawings, but on a stripped down level they are in both cases illustrations supporting the written content. The black vertical line featured on the back cover under the dust jacket marks the margin for the pages, and is present throughout the book either alongside text or behind illustrations. It’s even there when it isn’t, as the text follows the same margin even when the line is not printed. In the second chapter the vertical line is replaced by a horizontal one, that separates text from illustration or other text.

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The layout is so far removed from the commercially driven newspaper layout that attempting to compare the two does not make a lot of sense. The same can be said of the design and the content of this magazine, so integrated that I’m hesitant to describe them as singular elements. The experimental nature of the design and the publication itself is pushing boundaries and exploring the limits of publication design. The challenge of integrating artworks, texts and illustrations from different contributors has been solved in such a way that the design becomes the content.

Elements like the vertical line are one of many elements that are played with, and this playfulness of the design is probably the most attractive element to me. The book constantly presents rules and systems that it, after establishing them,  chooses to go beyond or disregard. A sense of humor is present in the references to yellow press for instance in the use of a serious and not so modern looking typeface or in the ironic nature of the publications name, when the YellowPress’ content is so far removed from that of the yellow press. While tabloid newspapers today are a major contributor to an unstable political situation, the YellowPress is a tool for academics and artistic researchers to inform and educate their readers. The YellowPress Periodical #3 uses some of the same tools as a yellow press newspaper, but by altering their intention – using them to inform and not to sell, to educate and not to frighten – the visual language changes from noisy and disturbing to something beautiful.

 

The YellowPress Periodical #3, designer: Ward Heirwegh, Rietveld Library Cat. no: magazine

Words Don’t Come Easy


Thursday, November 23, 2017

A

 

Object

  1. A material thing that can be seen and touched. (Oxford)

2. A thing external to the thinking mind or subject.(Oxford)

3. Something mental or physical toward which thought, feeling, or action is directed.(Merriam Webster)

 

Conversation

  1. Exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas (Merriam Webster)

2. Talk between two or more people in which thoughts, feelings, and ideas are expressed, questions are asked and answered, or news and information is exchanged (Cambridge, Oxford)

 

Recognition

  1. Knowledge or feeling that someone or something present has been encountered before.(Merriam Webster)

Identification of someone or something or person from previous encounters or knowledge.(Oxford)

The fact of knowing someone or something because you have experienced it before.

2. Acknowledgement of the existence, validity, or legality of something. (Oxford)

Agreement that something is true or legal (Cambridge)

3. Appreciation or acclaim for an achievement, service, or ability. (Oxford)

Special notice or attention (Merriam Webster)

 

B

 

F.R DAVID is a biannual journal- founded, edited and typeset by Will Holder-concerned with ‘the organization of reading and writing in contemporary art practice’. It is chunky: a rectangular block. Like a brick. Or a novel: An object. This is what drew me initially to the Autumn 2017 edition- ‘Recognition’- and is illustrative of an important aspect of Will Holder’s work. His interest in the thingness of words” is manifested physically, not only in the shape and feel of the journal (something which he plays with more explicitly in “Black my Story” an exhibition catalogue in novel disguise), but also in additional items that come with every edition- A book mark and a postcard- things that very much ask us to hold them in our hands. A specific rule defined at the founding of F.R DAVID stipulates that they are printed on the matte side of the card, the gloss side left blank (This is also true of the cover). Another, dictates that seemingly mysterious letters on the spine of each edition when placed together will eventually spell out F.R DAVID’s maxim ‘Words don’t come easy’. Of course, the 80s hit of French pop star, F.R. DAVID, whose name is appropriated hilariously as though it were the author’s on the cover of this intellectual, literary-art journal.)

This kind of inversion of commercial publishing convention is present throughout ‘Recognition’ (and the rest of Holder’s work): images are placed oddly on the page, sometimes even overlapping with the text; the typeface shifts incongruously to ‘American Typewriter’ for one text only; images of text are used at points rather than the typed words; footnotes expand uncontrollably to fill entire pages. By subverting our expectations, Holder makes us extremely aware of the materiality of every aspect of the publication- both literal/physical and linguistic. The event of publishing too becomes an object: Holder organizes performances with readings in strange, poetical formats with quite trance-like elements. Constantly he is reacting against the increasingly conventional, stream-lined nature of the graphic-design industry, a world of “branding agencies and viral strategy analysts”

 

fr-david-cover_950 R.F.Davis-Spread_1100

 

C

 

Will Holder told me about the role of page space and layout in his work in allowing room for multiple meanings:
“My work allows all present to have a voice, and often uses the page to score this polyphony and dissonance.”
In particular, he is concerned with the reader’s contribution to the meaning of a text; his work is conceived of as a collaborative exercise between author and audience and designer and printer and publisher and all who have played a role in producing it. The ongoing, dialogical qualities of book design become increasingly important with the modern explosion of information sharing. In an era very much preoccupied with notions like ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ we need to find ways to re-legitimise published opinions.
“We could say that given today’s onslaught of information and multiple views, reading is an exercise in comparison, in order to distill one’s own position; and not regurgitate what others want you to”

 

F.R. DAVID being a journal, has to accommodate multiple voices more actively even than a publication with a single author. Each text is subject to the “inflection of [its] neighbours”. In catering to this and in embracing it, Holder intersperses separate texts in the ‘Recognition’ issue, using two different style sheets: While some typographical and formal limits are imposed for continuity, there is diversity within these limits, informed by the content. The original typesetting of articles has been maintained where Holder deems it relevant. And in all of these decisions he acknowledges the subjectivity of his own voice, pointing out “that relevance is dictated to me by my reading of the material”.

 

F.R. DAVID as well as many of Holder’s other publications uses primarily ‘The Doves type’, steeped, appropriately, in conversation and history and mystery: Its origins are in The Doves Press, founded in 1900 in London (since when it has been banished for almost a century to depths of the River Thames and then dramatically rediscovered). Its celebrated fount of metal type was designed with the intention of ensuring that it did not distract the reader from ideas within the text itself, ‘the thing intended to be conveyed’. The significance of this sentiment in relation to Will Holder’s intentions is apparent. So too is a playful irony: He is strongly conscious of the agendas of typefaces and the impossibility of one that obediently serves content, rebelling, in fact, in ‘the non-linguistic or extra-linguistic qualities of language’.

 

fr david preface Doves-Character-set-650x1055-July-2016

 

Mischievous subversion of a devise like this epitomizes Holder-style. He leaves questions- about the nature of the publication (a mysterious new magazine, ‘Staples’ with very minimal and odd content, for example, is entirely unexplained); the route we should take in reading it; and the boundaries between earnestness and farce, unanswered. We must surrender to the ambiguity of the work.

F.R.David, designed by Will Holder, Rietveld Academie library catalog no: magazine

The Kraft van Sandberg


Thursday, November 23, 2017

YELLOW

kraft

   kraft

RED

  kraft

BLUE

kraft

  RED

       kraft

              kraft

           kraft

CatalogueS_7eorihgeoirgh

size : 190 x 254

9 jaar stedelijk museum amsterdam

1954 – ’54

voorjaar 1954 tentoonstellingen

stedelijk museum amsterdam van abbe-museum eindhoven

collectie philippe dotremont

cat. 116

stedelijk museum amsterdam 4.7 – 28.9’59

50 jaar verkenningen

in de beeldende kunst

uit de eigen verzameling

en uit bevriende particuliere collecties in nederland

cat.212

stedelijk museum amsterdam 11 jan. – 18 febr. ’63

francis bacon

cat. 326

19.10.2017

Look what I found, this old and cheap looking dark Bacon catalogue! So small but yet so distinct. 5 pages folded together, with only two staples to bind them into one unified object. Kraft paper next to coated paper. Primary red next to brown. Full page picture on the cover and on the inside. These are combinations that catch my attention. They oddly fit together. The design is so particular, and yet I cannot find the name of a designer on the inside.
Why?
It turned out to be obvious. The catalogue was made at a time that Willem Sandberg was director of the Stedelijk Museum. And almost all the catalogues that were made then were his design.

SC_1 SC_2

SC_3 SC_4

SC_7 SC_6

SC_5 SC_8

SC_9 SC_10

From 1945 to 1963, Jonkheer Willem Jacob Henri Berend Sandberg, better known as Willem Sandberg, was a Dutch typographer and museum curator, born on the 24.10.1897 and died at 9.04.1984, was the director of the famous Amsterdam modern art museum: the Stedelijk.

Taking over the direction of the museum after World War II, he put all his energy and ingenuity into changing the face of art in the Netherlands, starting by changing the face of the Stedelijk, physically and spiritually. He enabled the museum to a far more prominent place in society. Sandberg was a very resourceful man and faced these changes from many angles: posters, typography, architecture and of course also catalogues; he monitored all of these interfaces to the museum and actively involved in their production, creating by himself all that was linked to it. We can feel the influence of his vision until this very day. Looking at his catalogues today is looking into a life’s work of strong beliefs.
« I think that 328 catalogues were made under my auspices. I assume that around 275 were made by me and the rest by other people. Just guessing. »
Making art accessible to all, was one of Sandberg’s main goals. Envisioned the museum’s infrastructure in a perspective that would make it attractive to all and not only to serious bourgeois on a Sunday afternoon stroll.
« The background to my museum policy has always been that on the one hand I tried to encourage the staff to think of it as their museum, that they participate in it, and that on the other hand I wanted to give young people the feeling that it was their museum. »
One of Sandberg’s biggest aims was to change the relation of people to art institutions, making them more attractive. He even wanted the museum to come to the people, and make them spontaneously relate to the place. To accomplish this he promoted art among young people. Changing the status of art in society should begin by changing the status of art in the young people’s mind.

 

Child_Stedelijk

 

His work perfectly reflects this wider accessibility. Sandberg liked things to have simple and natural aspect. You could see it by the size of his catalogues, all pretty small and thin.

 

CatalogueS_11 horizontal

 

It is also one of the reasons he was drawn to wrapping paper and used kraft paper in much of his work, despite the critics he got about it.
« I could make catalogues the way I wanted. I was subjected to a lot of criticism, because of the packing paper I used in them. I wanted the pictures to be printed on the highest quality paper, but the text could easily be printed on packing paper or on normal newspaper. It didn’t have to be precisely right, just so. I am an anti-perfectionist. »

 

SC_19 Kind_2 1954_8 50Jaar_12

 

The bright primary colors he used inside of his catalogues, or on covers, mostly with his typography, where a legacy of the Bauhaus, a matter of taste, but also a choice to make the catalogues immediately attractive, their colors being absolutely eye catching.

Specific paper for specific content. The paper brings the content to life, makes it organic. It is what allows ink to exists: it gives birth to informations, narrations, visuals.

 

 9Jaar_Stedelijk_2 9Jaar_Stedelijk_12 100_3 1954_2

 

The paper’s choice plays with the reader senses. The touch, the looks, the sound, the smell. Surprisingly, as one can see in the Bacon catalogue, Sandberg’s choice of paper didn’t necessarily make the reader’s reading easy. The combination of kraft paper and the small Helvetica font even tend to make reading difficult.
A cover, hard or not, a content, thick paper, sometimes no cover. Content printed on the same paper, or similar paper that doesn’t draw attention to itself with a layout, pictures and colors. That is what readers are used to. I ran along the shelves of my bookcase but could not find any books that had a different choice of papers like Sandberg’s. Or only very few. Even though this choice can be partly understood because Sandberg had to innovate in times with little financial playing room. Therefore in the 40s and 50s this combination of cheap paper for text and coated paper for pictures was more common.
Sandberg’s signature can be found in his choice to make a wide contrast in his composition by putting kraft paper next to bright colours. When you put them together, obvious similarities appear between all of Sandberg’s catalogues. Yet they are all very different in a subtle way. Because of the choice of color, paper, or composition, that permanently changes. Sandberg’s design served the content and the artist that he was promoting. And even though he had his preferences, he would constantly innovate, like in the Léger Catalogue from 1957 where there is nearly no text to be found, but only this wonderful composition of pictures and ink in a well thought juxtaposition of several different kinds of paper.

 

 LEGER

LEGER_2

LEGER_9

« i believe

in warm printing

and i like vivid colors

in particular red and blue

sometimes yellow

i dislike violet and green

but for violent contrast

i rarely use brown

except

tobacco scrap iron

or wrapping paper »

When we think of books in general, we tend to think more about mind, intellect, and not about their physical presence in the world, with another purpose than to contain and to teach. Still the design of the book makes the difference from a simply nice object to contain with a purpose tending to share or propagate. Sandberg with his signature, made a difference.
Therefore I wish to leave you here with what I was left after diving into Sandberg’s work: the incapacity to unsee his signature, once it was seen.

Sources :
Willem Sandberg Portrait of an artist, Ank Leeuw Marcar, Valiz Amsterdam, Werkplaats Typografie Arnhem
Sandberg graphiste et directeur du Stedelijk Museum, Ad Petersen, Translation to french Daniel Cunin, Institut Néerlandais, Editions Xvier Barral

Rietveld Academie library catalog no: bac 12

Why not?


Thursday, November 23, 2017

64 pages bound between a red start page, a blue end page and slick grey canvas covers, held together by a yellow spine. Marite traced her finger over the slight dents of the lettering- “Topmotiviert” in a harmonious diagonal that fills the cover so effortlessly. The book felt molded to her, felt so comfortable and accessible.

 

Inside, colourful photos of the messy behind-the-scenes of a exhibition setup. One photograph per page, neatly cropped and centered, an orderly catalogue of obscure images. There is no text inside, not even on the start and end pages. The only text with the book is the title on the cover and brief publishing information on the back, as well as the library number: bill l 1. Mysterious, Top-secret. Marite’s curiosity is stirred, igniting her thirst.

 

The photos are taken by Linus Bill himself. His own works in a “state of limbo between being documentary and works themselves”, from the exhibition “Was nun?” at Photoforum Pasquart in 2011 in Biel, Switzerland. The book can be related to the rest of Bill’s works due to its manipulative relationship with size and form. Bill often creates small-scale graphic work such as screen prints, which he then blows up to large works. He has manipulated the size and context of his work in this book, minimizing large works to a small, delicate documentation. The enigmatic compilation is what intrigued Marite, a conundrum that doesn’t need to be solved. No questions asked. The book holds up autonomously without the backstory, becoming a new artwork. But she tried anyway, for the purpose of her project. Alas, she couldn’t live peacefully on with this simple affair.

 

A few days later, Marite is in class introducing her book to her peers. It doesn’t take long, her speech is straightforward like the publication and their practicality goes hand in hand. Her hand lay endearingly on the cover.

“You match the book, “ observes Henk, regarding the rhyme in the colour of the book and Marite’s grey sweater.

“Ha-ha,” she says, “grey and minimal on the outside, colorful on the inside” Quelle cliché. Is the title Topmotiviert also a reflection of her? A prophecy? What does this mean for her? A challenge perhaps? She ponders on her relationship with the book. They were subtly molding together, the book taking over and swallowing her. There’s a jitter somewhere inside her; how can 64 pages and two grey covers jolt her so jarringly?

 

When Marite got the chance to meet the publisher from Rollo Press, she had questions. She had studied the book and her affinity for the book grew stronger by the day. Her eyes had studied the immersive colors and her fingertips had studied the glossy, smooth, creamy-feeling paper, 200 grams at least. It pulled her in and she willingly floated into the depths of vibrant offset printed colors. Top-quality.

 

Hello nice to meet you thanks for meeting with me this won’t take long.

 

“So how did you come about publishing this book?” she started off general, studiously watching the publisher casually flick through it. He shrugged, “well Linus had some money left over from the institution for the exhibition and we had worked with him before so we thought why not.” Marite nodded seriously. Why not, she thought, it almost sounded like an invitation. The book was teasing her. Her heart jumped. Before her mind escaped to the clouds, she refocused on the interview.

“And this title, this diagonal, it’s so captivating,” she said, staring hungrily at the book.

“I just thought it would be kind of funny. It’s difficult to get a perfect diagonal so it’s pretty all over the place,” said Rollo. All its curves and edges, its perfect imperfections.

Marite’s chin quivered, “and the typeface? Is it…” she bit her lip, “is it… Helvetica?”

“Actually it’s a typeface made by a guy who teaches at Rietveld. It’s a font he discovered in an old children’s book and it’s got these really nice perfect round Os and this little wave in the leg of the R.” By this time, beads of sweat had begun forming in the nape of Marite’s neck and in the back of her knees. Her blouse felt tight.

“Thank you so much, it was lovely talking to you, I must go.” She pulled the book close to her chest and dashed out; knees weak, head swimming.

 

Arriving home, dusk setting over the city, she laid the book on her bed. The pink shadow of sunset caressed its canvas bound surface. Marite lit a candle. “We have become one,” she dragged her cigarette, eyes burning with lust. Top-love.

Adolf Loos vs Hansje van Halem and the importance of ornament in the contemporary world


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Adolf Loos was an Austrian and Czech architect and an influential European theorist of modern architecture. One of his famous buildings, Looshaus, is now one of the most representative architectures of the modernist movement, although at the time it was established it had received great opposition and contempt.

 

 

The industrial revolution, the sudden accumulated wealth, and the people who longed for the appearance of the nobleman came to the city to compete with the idea that they should be more splendid than anyone else and it is natural that such people despised Looshaus. Anyhow, Loos was established with his opinion, he believed that the ornaments were not beauty, but more as a self-display and that if an artist made commodities for aesthetic purpose, it would not reflect the way people live and would not have the necessary function. The ornaments were a crime for Adolf Loos, a waste of the craftsman’s time, they were made for the main purpose of aesthetic pursuit and must be eliminated from architecture and design. He said that if an artist produces household items for aesthetic purpose, it does not reflect the way people live and it is a crime to make the worker spend so much time on such a useless thing. Therefore, he can not be called extreme functionalist, rather, his ideals were to produce household goods and to build buildings by reflecting the people’s real life at the time. Alfred Loos want to send his message to people who are captivated only by their splendid ornament and life and who are trying to forget their past without being true.

 

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Hansje van Halem is an Amsterdam based graphic designer, she is mainly interested in typography, book design and other printing techniques but she also experiments with computer processed graphic patterns and drawings. Her work is centred on “exquisite” typography, it is a fusion of ornamental patterns and letters which become more then letter-forms, they are ornaments wth a specific function, they are meant to be read.

 

Ornamentismeanttoberead

 

There are 100 years between the idea that Adolf Loos had about the use of ornament and the way Hansje van Halem is using it today, and it is very interesting to see how, although their point of view regarding it is so distant from each other, there’s still a big connection between two, both indeed are giving great importance to the “function” of their work, Loos eliminates the ornament because there is no function in it and van Halem on the other hand gives a function to it though the use of typography.

 

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But how are the contemporary artists and architects actually reacting to the Adolf Loos’s ideas nowadays ? There are different manifestations of the ornament’s resistance in the contemporary architecture, The London-based FAT (Fashion Architecture Taste) for instance consider ornaments as an important and indispensable part of architecture, Charles Holland, partner of the FAT says in an article from the Financial Times: “The Loos argument is very interesting. As I understand it, he was saying that ornamentation was a waste of labour, effort and craft. With contemporary techniques and manufacturing it is possible to achieve a lot of complexity and intricacy with very little effort, so there’s a weird reversal of his argument. We regard ornament less as a guilty pleasure and more as a communicative tool. There is traditionally a kind of puritanism in the UK, a rather macho approach in which engineering and high-tech appliqué is OK. It can all be justified in practical terms but I think we can look more critically now at a modernism in which the motifs of industry were applied to architecture to make it look modern, which in itself is a kind of ornamentation.”

The current computer technologies are also playing a big role in the contemporary w  orld, this modelling and manufacturing technologies has allowed the mass production of the most complex forms and ideas. Evan Douglis is using this technologies to create new strange, forms which recall baroque and rococo decoration in their own new digital world, he also says: “The technology and the software at our disposal now gives us enormous control over form, equations can become a material presence. We’re interested in that intricacy between pragmatism and retinal exuberance – it’s something that bridges the disciplines, from architecture to furniture, interiors and product.”

 

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This new digital tools are helping designers and artist in their work as never before in our history and are also an easy way to experiment with forms, letters and of course ornaments, it makes the whole procedure more interesting and exiting, this is how Loos’s position, after a century, is slightly starting to become invalid, and the ornament on the other hand is on it’s way to decriminalisation.

a cooperative research by Yuriy Krupey & Eun Seo Lee

Is modernism still relevant today?


Thursday, October 19, 2017

poster-modernism

In the late 19th century, artists and craft-people in Europe already had a will of rupture with all the previous, too classics works. They saw in industrial revolution means of creating more accessible and more efficient productions.
This craving for newness emerged in Europe as new currents, such as Arts and Crafts, and later on, Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Neue Kunst. 
On the same time, artists experimented new ways of expressing emotions and feelings. Abstraction developed in art slowly in western Europe, inspired by the recent opening of Japan to the world, but also by all the feedback from the arts and traditions of French, dutch, German and  English colonies.

Fauvists tried collages and works with simple shapes and colors, but still in a slightly figurative way. Also, we can see in Dada and Cubism a new approach in composition,  use of shapes and colors, and, in the case of Dada, photomontage.

 

dada collage

 

We can notice in Fernand Leger’s work some approaches of the principle of modernist graphic design. Illustrations, at the edge of abstraction, and a game with the letters, where it becomes an entire part of the composition, using stencil characters and foundry typefaces. The imprint  of the man’s work is now less visible, as the use of the machine and standardization of shapes and characters are now a solid part of the artistic production.

 

fernand leger

 

At this point graphic design, and, of course, being a graphic designer isn’t a status in itself. It consists of experiments by artists in western Europe, and artists alongside with architects and designers in the central and eastern part of the continent.

The early 20ties century in Europe has been the theater of a lot of revolutions and wars. Seeking refuge and peace, or simply trying spread new theories, architects and artists moved around in Europe. Starting from the 1918’s, The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland become places where the intellectual Avant-Garde starts to develop, not in private, but as groups.

This results in the creation of collectives of artists, architects and designers, all teaching, and rethinking the place of design, art and architecture in this modern, industrialized society. They fully embrace that industrialization and the new means of production brought by it to create new, peculiar designs. Modernism is born.

We can isolate several groups working on the raise of modernism alongside Europe, inspired by new theories on fine arts (constructivism, Suprematism) from Russia and Italian futurism. Almost each central European country had its own movement: De Stijl for the Netherlands, the Deutscher Werkbund and later on the Bauhaus school in Germany, the Wiener Werkstatte for Austria, and Der Schweizer Werkbund for Switzerland.

They all had the same goal of one philosophy, that binds architecture, art, product design, and later, graphic design. To sum it up, we can quote Henry Van de Velde’s lecture to the Swiss Werkbund in 1947 :
“That chain, which has extended across the centuries, which in the end shows just one family, one single family of pure form and pure decoration, a unique style: one that is rationally conceived, consisting of pure forms determined by their function”.

 

das neue heim

 

Of course, these groups had to communicate, on exhibitions, but also monthly, to keep the Europe informed of their progress. They started using magazines and posters to spread their words. This is how graphic design entered and embraced modernism. Of course, it was a new mean of expression, and architects of the modernism, to remain within the modernist unity, applied modernist architecture principles to it. These magazines (De Stijl, Die Form, Das Werk, Bauhaus), even if their main subject was not graphic design, expressed the group’s beliefs on type and composition through their formal construction.

 

Die Form cover

 

Out went symmetry, ornament and drawn illustration; in came white space, plain letter forms  and photographs. 
But even after all those works, Europe had to wait until 1928 for someone to actually theorize graphic design, with Jan Tschihold’s “Die neue Typografie”. This book is the starting point of the idea of graphic design to be a separate kind of design, with its own principles. And as you can guess by its title, it explains the rules and ways of using the self-proclaimed new typography : lineal characters, absence of symmetry, purpose of the white space, hierarchy of the information.

 

Die Neue Typografie

 

With all those interventions, modernist graphic design became what we know today: sober, using photographs, collage, geometrical shapes and a small range of colours to illustrate, with simple, lineal fonts for the text.

But as the fascism rises in the 30’s in Europe, many intellectuals had to flee from Nazi Germany, and went to Switzerland, to other neutral countries, or to the USA.

Overall, to understand modernist graphic design and its aesthetic, we need to understand that it was created in a mean of efficiency, by people who were not graphic designers, and who experimented for a long time before finding something that would suit their beliefs. It is born out of architectural principles, and as a part of the modernist’s formal aesthetics. And it was so radical, and such a brutal change, that all along the 20th century and still today, we can feel its influence. Just look at you computer. The font you’re reading right now is probably Helvetica.

Thus, we may ask ourselves « is it still relevant to use modernist principles in graphic design ». That is, in our opinion, a legitimate question. It is true that, in a contemporary creative process, using 1930’s ideas might be perceived as some kind of stagnation, our even a regression in the thinking of graphic design. That is not our opinion. But as some ideas, or principles; for instance the universal grid, are killing the thinking and creative process in the long term, it is important to go further than that, and keep investigating what those developments of ideas has permitted us, and what is the next step, in this constant research of efficiency, and simplicity.

.poster neue

a cooperative research by Souheila Chalabi and Antoine Dauvergne

The Rebellious Anti-Catalogue


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

 

 

Wie die Räume gefüllt werden müssen

How the space needs to be filled

 

 

Front cover

This thin book with its soft flappy cover gave me a sense of preciousness.
It needed two hands to hold, it urged for my attention.
The white lp-size cover, its simple black typography yet incomplete
title made it mysterious. It sought more effort than a
quick look to discover the meaning.

LP-sized cover

Front and back cover

Flipping through the pages I was completely
surprised and somewhat confused as more and
more empty pages revealed themselves.

Beginning the book with white pages

Then eventually three huge images of an installation appeared. I would probably not have looked at them with as much care and appreciation
as I did, if it was surrounded by visual or written information.
The silent white pages that led up to these images made them
more valuable. The emptiness was key to this aura of worthiness.

1st image installation Aernout Mik

2nd image installation Aernout Mik

3rd image installation Aernout Mik

A fourth smaller image appeared after a few empty pages.

4th image installation Aernout Mik

The series of images started and ended with a white bar, suggesting a
beginning and an end of the empty space.

Transition emptiness to 1st image

Transition 4th image to emptiness

Than the catalogue ends with emptiness.

The last image disappears in white emptiness

Ending the book with white pages

In The Elements of Graphic Design [x], Alex W. White explains the functionality of emptiness in graphic design:

”Emptiness is silence, an open field, a barren room, a blank canvas, an empty page. Emptiness is often taken for granted
and thought best used by filling in. It is generally ignored by all but the few who consciously manipulate it to establish
contrast, to create drama, or to provide a place of actual or visual rest.”

The emptiness creating visual rest and drama are actually
simultaneously existing in this book. One would think
drama and visual rest would not be ableto co-exist.
The impatient ongoing episode of flipping white pages,
the dramatic surprise of a sudden huge image and then
the visual rest to read the image with great care.

Pjotr de Jong, the designer [x] and a dear friend of Aernout Mik [x],
shed some light on the being of this book. It all started with an
exhibition in Hannover. Aernout Mik had won the Preis des
Kunstverein Hannover 1995 alongside two German artists,
Bernhard Büttner and Michael Stephan.

The three artists were given a space in which
they were able to show their art. The German
artists asked the director ‘how the space had to be filled’.
Aernout [x] was astonished by this question and made it
clear that no one but himself would decide on how his
space was going to be. He took this German question
and used it to title his work.

He [x] was asked to make a catalogue for this
exhibition and this book is the result of that.
He rebelliously decided to make
the ultimate anti-catalogue. Bare emptiness
was in a similar style to his exhibition space,
the dominant theme.

Pjotr and Aernout spent their whole budget on
the most expensive synthetic paper available.
They maximized the size of the images and printed
them on full pages. Pjotr stated that the images
were badly printed because of the synthetic paper.
In my opinion they added to the mystery of the book.

This probably is the least informative catalogue ever made,
yet it’s the most memorable one I ever came across.

Aernout Mik : Wie die Räume gefüllt werden müssen. /Rietveld library catalogue no : mik 6


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