Skip to Content Skip to Search Go to Top Navigation Go to Side Menu


"book design" Category


Nicolas Bourriaud – The Exform – Designed by Erik Carter


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

I saw this little guy in the library and decided to pick it up.

The first thing that caught my eye was the vibrant neon back cover of the book. It fascinated me to see something so small yell out for attention in such a violent way, almost as if it was a small Chihuahua, barking at the slightest suggestion of danger.

Having fallen for this Chihuahua’s barking, I picked it up and flipped it around, expecting it to yell as loudly as its backside did. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The front of the book showcased a multicolored illustration, displaying repetitive shapes reminiscent of a futuristic painting by Russolo. The stacked curved shapes and the black space beside them caused the illustration to look spacious, as if I was looking through a window into an unknown dimension.

The use of color was quite dimmed, though, which exaggerated the contrast between the front and the back cover. However, there wasn’t a disharmony between the two, due to similar colors being present in the illustration and the neon green corners cutting off the edges of the illustration.

Opening the book was kind of a let-down, I was expecting something as vibrant and thrilling as the cover, but the inside just looked like an ordinary book to me. I guess you really can’t judge a book by its cover! However, I’m sure the content of the book is equally as thrilling as it’s cover.

Regardless of the content, I’m still happy that I chose the little Chihuahua and I’m excited to research the design of this book further.

 

After letting the book rest for a while, I decided to investigate the design a bit more in depth. On the bottom of the back cover, I found the name of the designer; Erik Carter.

With a quick Google search of the name, I found the following information on his website.

Carter is an art director and graphic designer based in California. He’s worked as a senior designer at MTV, an art director at Google and The New York Times. In a brief list of his big clients I found the name Verso Books, which is the publisher of the book I chose in the library. This gave me hope that I’d be able to find a lot of information about my little Chihuahua.

 

A still image from an animation Erik Carter did for BuzzFeed

On a side note, upon reading that Erik Carter worked as a designer of on-air animations for MTV, I was brought back to the afternoons in my teenage years I’d spent mindlessly watching television. A strong memory that stuck with me from those afternoons were the flashy intense animations MTV would present before and after a commercial break. I always found those animations incredibly confusing and interesting, and I’d wonder who came up with these wacky designs. This unexpected link to a memory from the past gives me the impression that I was somehow destined to find this book and research it.

 

Right, back to the research.

 

I started reading articles and listening to interviews with Erik Carter, hoping to find some information about my precious little book. And then, in an interview with the “Type Directors Club” I found what I was looking for. Turns out that my book was part of a five part book series that Verso books commissioned Carter to design covers for. The covers form one continuing image when put next to each other. My book is the last book in the series, the youngest of its siblings.

In the interview, Erik Carter talked about the process of creating the covers in collaboration with the publisher. Turns out it was quite a stressful process, with many rejected ideas in the short timeframe of only three weeks. Many designs he presented were found to be too busy. This eventually led him to the final design, which, while still having an energetic design, still reads as calm and somewhat minimalistic.

 

A nice detail to the design was the story behind the background. What seemed like a mysterious space-scape to me, was actually part of a collage Carter made of advertisements he found in Playboy magazine. He explained that part of the background was actually just a distorted image of ice cubes. Knowing this, the book and its design gained an element of playfulness to me.

 

So here I am, knowing what I know now about this (ex-)stranger in front of me, feeling like I’ve learned its entire life-story, no secrets left to uncover. Ofcourse this is completely untrue, since I haven’t read a single word of the book’s content.

 

I know the book now as a designed object, not as a bearer of information. I can’t help but feel like the book has more of an autonomous identity to me now, than if I had only read its content, even though I only looked at its cover.

 

PANAMARENKO – WORKSTATION BIEKORFSTRAAT.


Sunday, March 10, 2019

It is said that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Can you, then, judge a book by its spine

Without even reading what was actually written on its spine, my attention was already drawn to the book “Panamarenko: Workstation Biekorfstraat” through the way it was presented to me; acting as a successful gateway to everything that it had to offer in terms of material. As a piece that was advocated for and supported by the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, the designers, the duo Van Looveren & Princen, no doubt had a great responsibility on them when tasked to design the book. This becomes evident by looking at even the connective piece between the cover and back-cover that stuck out of the bookshelf, ready to be chosen.

An olive-green, textured fabric, wrapped and spanning from part of the front cover to part of the back cover, with the two separate pieces of text coming together to form the greater title. The two texts are as similar as they are different; One is presented in a care-free and playful manner through its stylized font, as if handwritten, whereas the other gives of a much more stern vibe as if passing an ode to the typewriting system with its more ridged typeface. However they find common ground and confide in each other in the manner that they seamlessly contrast the fabric on top of which they are placed by being left blank in regards to their colour. The use of a more casual and characteristic typeface for the first part of the title of the book presented me with a very personal impression of the contents that the pages would contain, almost intimate; almost as if the artist himself entered the room and wrote his name on top of the spine (Despite this, this does not relate to Panamarenko’s signature). This is then contrasted by the continuation of the title which is shown in a much more organized in presence, which made it a lot more clear upon even the first glance that everything that was to be presented inside would be done so with an approach aimed to provide a sort of guidance and structure.

In fact, the book does exactly so with its material – providing a very extensive list of everything the artist contained in his house in an, at times, almost satirical catalogue-like manner. This plays well into the duo’s style of work, which tends to present a plethora of objects in a very efficient and condensed style, as can be noticed by some of their other works. The book itself focuses on the preservation of the entirety of the artist’s workspace, which acted as a his hub for creativity from 1970-2002, acting as a means of casting light on the creative process of the artist’s works; Most of which noteworthy for their science-fiction inspired, machine-esque structures. The title, as such, give off a strong idea of what was the be shown, by presenting the actual street address that the house was situated (Biekorfstraat), in addition to providing the purpose of the house (to act as a Workstation).

Despite looking through the book prior to taking it up to the librarian to have it chosen, the simple yet effective presentation of the spine drew me to it as though it exposed the entirety of its contents to me all at once, and opened the world of Panamarenko to me. It was not just the textured fabric, only the typefaces and simply the contrast that drew me to choosing the book, but a combination of all three, indicating that the spine of the book was not a quick idea thought up by Van Looveren and Princen, but rather an important aspect of the book which was deeply thought of before being put into final production.

DOES GREY EXIST?


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Grey is everywhere. Grey is the sky, the concrete of buildings, the street and its tiles, the walls of the room I am now sitting in, steel linings of windows, many pieces of clothing, the hairs of aging people –

There are many shades of grey, colder and warmer ones. Grey can be defined as the colour between black and white. It can also be seen in a slightly more abstract way as colorlessness, being undefined, without character.

Several definitions of the word grey are:

  • Without interest or character; dull or nondescript
  • Not accounted for in official statistics
  • (of a person’s face) pale, as through tiredness, age or illness
  • (of the weather) cloudy and dull[1]

What all these definitions have in common is that they, in some sense, refer to an absence. It is the absence of color, of character, of definition – it is a lack of capacity to be interesting.

So why would anyone ever choose the color grey for something they made? Would this then be for the object to go as unnoticed as possible? Would it be to suggest neutrality?

THE BOOK

I found a book in the library that was completely covered in grey. The grey enfolded the text and the images that were inside, also filled the empty pages in between. The sides of the pages were grey, as was the cover, so that the book looked like a tile.

It was called “Power?… To which people?!”. It was a book about the Dutch artist Jonas Staal and contained a collection of essays and images related to the work of this artist. The graphic designer was called Laura d’Ors.

The greyness of the book was so dominant that I could not get past it. Although the content seemed interesting and I was somehow

tempted to read some pages and look into the images in detail, I mostly kept turning it around, covering my eyes in the grey that was all over.

I think the grey put a kind of silence around the book that made it into a very solid object. It was such a big visual decision that it forced me to relate to it

before relating to the book itself .

I found myself just flipping the pages in search for more grey, tracing the surfaces that I found with my fingers. I found the colour was also very present in some images in the book. Because of their connection with the cover that had struck me, these images stood out to me more than the other images that were in the book.

It took me a while to realize that the text was written in the same grey. Contrasting with the white background, it looked somewhat darker. I only realised its greyness when there was a big symbol placed next to it in the same colour.

THIS GREY

So what was the grey of this book exactly like?

I think a picture will never show the colour right as I saw it. It was a cold tone, with some hints of blue in it. It reminded me of the Rietveld grey, the colour that is used to paint the walls of the academy. It had the same natural and deep, yet cold quality.

Still, it was different from the Rietveld grey. It seemed less accessible. It was not a colour you could walk into. It was not a colour you would put on a wall. I think it was less green than the Rietveld grey. It was a bit darker as well.

WHY?

To come back to the question I posed earlier: why would anyone ever choose grey for something they made?

In the case of the book there are two aspects of the choice. The first one has to do with the excessive use of the colour. If another colour, for example green, would have been used in the same way that now grey was used, this would have equally caught my attention.

Now, let’s imagine it was green; what would this then result in? I think I would have thought that it would be a book about nature. Or imagine it was red; what kind of associations would that give? It could be about violence, love, blood…

The encapsulating of a book in one colour the way it was done here, immediately results in questions from the reader: why is it like this?

So why then did the designer choose grey? This is a hard question to answer, because associations with grey very often relate to backgrounds, such as walls and skies. Seeing it in such a prominent position where it is taking a lot of attention, is confusing.

Maybe that’s exactly the reason why she chose this colour – it is an anti-colour; like I said, a kind of absence. It puts the book into a background and by that enfolds it in the greyness of the world. It becomes part of the sky, the concrete and steel. It doesn’t have a colour to speak, it has a colour to be. To be a thing.

[1]Oxford dictionary

Jonas Staal: Power?… To Which People?!. design by Laura d’Ors, Rietveld library number: staa 1

Design in Collaboration


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

 

The following text is based on an interview I had with designer Adriaan Mellegers and the artist Emmeline de Mooij about the book "Art in Therapy", design, art and the relationship between those two fields.

 

Adriaan Mellegers

Emmeline de Mooij

Yelske Luit

 

So how did you start making this book? I assume Centraal Museum Utrecht wanted a book after Emmeline’s work?

They wanted a book because I did a series of performances commissioned by them, and of course nothing physical remained after this piece. So we really wanted a good record of this work.

Was it immediately clear that Adriaan was going to design it?

Yes, I think I immediately proposed that. I could decide everything myself; who made the book, who filmed etc.

     Edwin Jacobs, the former director of the museum, really trusted us with this project, it was like a warm bath.

  But I think that’s one of the positive sides of working for yourself or with friends. When you have a client, they can sometimes differ in their vision or ideas.

That can be interesting, but it can also go badly.

So where do you start, when you have this open slate?

   The project had a quite clear structure, and it was quickly clear that we wanted to have the text from the five performances in two languages [Dutch and English]. So it was a lot of text.

         We also had some film stills and portraits from the performance.

     So those are your “ingredients”, your content, and then you start thinking about what kind of book you want. That process is partly conceptual and partly intuitive.

I thought it would be cool if it had a monumental size, quite big, because it would refer to a patient dossier.

I chose to represent the text very clear. The two languages have a different font, but they come from the same font family, Trivia.

I made the letters bigger, to convey some intimacy.

And while he thinks of all this stuff, how much have you [Emmeline] been involved? Do you give feedback after the decision is made, or do you make it together?

I left it up to him, but he showed it a lot during the progress. I was very happy you could think of those things, like that the photos should be on a different paper.

But we still talked about it a lot. There was hardly anything that I didn’t like.

Did it ever happen that you saw a design for your work and you felt like it didn’t look right, or didn’t represent your work? Or does it almost become a work in itself?

Yes it does happen, but it’s usually something small.

I think you’re quite flexible.

I think it’s important to let go when you involve someone else. That you don’t control the other person, give them freedom.

So you also give some autonomy to the designer?

Yes. But it still has to communicate what you initially wanted. It can’t suddenly go in a different direction, so I have to be clear about what the story is.

So that is the risk you take by doing that. You can give them freedom, but you can’t just let it happen. 

I can imagine it’s very different with a client.

Very much so. When it’s an institutional client, they have a more clear vision or policy of how they want to communicate. You always have to get in a discussion if your idea or vision could happen.

It’s also often a lot more political, because there are other interests and parties involved.

So you could say that in the relationship between art and design, when you work for an artist the story is up to the artist, but how it is communicated is more up to the designer. However when you work with a client, this how is also controlled by the client?

It’s possible in both options, it has a lot to do with how you work as a designer. I want people to work with me because they think I make good works, not just because I provide a service.

When you work with an institutional client, you want them to have the same attitude. But there are a lot of interests at play, so sometimes the collaboration goes smoothly, and other times it doesn’t. That’s part of it. 

It can both be fun though, and I wouldn’t want to only work for artist, because those processes can last a very long time.

And I like the challenge of working for an institution, and that the end product is seen by a lot of people.

So working with both, the variety is pleasant.

 

 

Emmeline de Mooij: Art in Therapy. design by Adriaan Mellegers, Rietveld library number: 708.4 the 1

Space, Text and Boxes


Monday, February 11, 2019

The book I chose for my research is a book that probably doesn’t catch the eye of many people who pass it. With a relatively simple cover and a design that most people at a glance would brush over as conservative, straightforward or maybe even boring, Rosemarie Trockel’s exhibition catalogue about her exhibition “post-menopause” may seem like an odd choice for a design research essay but upon further inspection the design reveals itself to be quite rich and complex.
In my essay I will try to unveil some of the seemingly invisible details that this book holds in its graphic design and through that illustrate why I chose it.
Maybe it makes sense to start with the outside, the part of the book that you inevitably will see first when you meet it.
On the cover you can see a picture of a big installation work called “yes, but”. The way Yvonne Quirmbach (the designer of the book) chose to present the work makes it feel more like a 2 dimensional graphic work or painting than the huge installation it actually was but it serves the purpose of making a graphically interesting and simple cover. Other than the image the front cover also contains the name of the artist and the exhibition in the upper corner. If you take off the dust cover (that has said image on it) the “actual” cover of the book is blank white with just the name of the artist and exhibition in the same spot as on the outside cover. One interesting detail is if you take the the dust cover out and look at it there is a little caption for the picture you will only see if you actually take the cover off.

There, also is a caption for another work which it says is inside. The dust cover actually unfolds and there is a poster of a big installation/collage inside but except for that already pretty hidden caption there is nothing that gives that away. I myself only discovered this totally by accident after I had the book for over a week already.
This is a good example of one of the hidden details this book has in it. It really wants you to explore it but never pushes you to. Instead it gives you space to do so.
So let’s get into it.
When you open the book you’re gonna encounter its title together with some short basic info which is placed in the center but aligned to flush left. A subtle choice that also gets masked by the fact that each line only contains at most a couple of words. The designer is playing with the blank space here using it to give the text some room to breathe without making it appear to monolithic which could be the case if it (the text) was fully justified.

Over at the next page you will find the table of contents. The arrangement of the text remains the same but this time it becomes a lot more visible because the page is more filled and some lines of text even reach the outer margin of the page. Still the aesthetic that got introduced on the previous page gets maintained and overall it is not only pleasant to look at but also easy to read because you can start reading in the center. This praxis of introducing a design element to the reader in a subtle way and then building on it further is a recurring theme in the way the book is designed.
A good example of this is the way the book handles the element of the box within a text in the text centric parts. The book contains some longer texts which could lead to long visually uninteresting passages but Yvonne Quirmbach introduces a simple element that breaks up the monotony of it. This element is a rectangular box which she places in the center of the two text columns. The first two texts are just a greeting and a foreword so as I see it more of an appendage than part of the content of the book. To communicate this in a visual way the designer uses the boxes. For these two, lets say minor texts, the boxes just contain a single word that describes the function of the text and sort of are a title as well (Greetings, Foreword). For the first text that is actually part of the content (in the way I interpret it at least) she then changes it with a slightly wider box, containing the name of the author of the text as well as the title, all in bold capitalized letters. She keeps the width and the capitalized type in the next text but changes it up with two different sizes, the bigger one being noticeably bigger than the one used before. The two texts are quite far apart from each other within the book though so a lot of readers probably won’t notice the difference in size so much.

As you can see she gradually explores the usage of these boxes and builds on it without overwhelming the reader. She continues to explore them further by using them for footnotes and then also for text related images. She introduces new elements slowly taking her time with each, introducing one after the other to subtly lead the reader through the book. This approach is also mirrored in the way she arranged the different kind of pictures in the book and even the different parts of it with coloured pages separating them but to talk about all of that would sadly go beyond the constraints of this essay. I will just leave you here with the note that there is a lot more to explore and also that the content (Rosemarie Trockels works) seems to be quite interesting as well.

Rosemarie Trockel: Post-Menopause. design by Yvonne Quirmbach, Rietveld library number: 754.2 tro 5

An Ocher Sheet


Thursday, February 7, 2019


« The library is unlimited and periodic. If there were an eternal traveler crossing it in any direction, the centuries would eventually teach him that the same volumes are always repeated in the same disorder». 
These thoughts from Borges’s Fictions often influence my mind when I’m searching for a book, where it seems that your choice will always be part of a gigantic spiderweb.



The title « A sheet of paper » and the name of the artist, Remy Zaugg, appear centered, in a Times New Roman font. The book, in a rectangular format (23×29.5), has a hard cover with a plain pale ocher background, accompanied by a gray square in the center that hosts the title. At first glance, A sheet of paper does not appear to sollicitate any attention, without breaking away from a very classic aesthetic regarding exhibitions books.

I thought I should reconsider my choice, even if it attracted me, for some other book, with a more modern, singular or attractive design. However, this book then seemed too willingly simple, hidden, to be just let on the side. 

By offering another look at it, I could then notice singular formal protocols that unravel, through visual variations and repetitions, the boundaries between the so-called informative and artistic content. In fact, A sheet of paper has been designed by the artist and his wife, and can be considered as another piece, or a prolongation of his works : on the second page, we can see written « This book as well as the reproduced paintings were produced in collaboration with Michèle Zaugg », exhibition photographs are made by Hans Biezen.

While opening the book, I could discover that the large ocher pale square from the cover multiplies itself in various ways : in the artworks presented, as in the architectural plans of the exhibition that are presented above the photographs, and many other forms.

 


In fact, Remy Zaugg’s artworks are large pale ocher canvases, and we see the m spread in different forms in the book. They appear sometimes photographed singularly : one big square taking a whole page, existing only in the space of the printed page with the white backgroung. Or, they also appear in an exhibition context (from Zaugg’s solo exhibition held at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, from August 31 to October 7, 1984.) Finally, they appear in their more abstract form with the different architectural plans that repeat as well the square structure. Thus, these artworks are existing in various forms on context (scans, photographs in exhibition, modeled), creating an effect of echoes, transmission, of this simple ocher square. You cannot discern a proper delimitation or annotation that intervene to say ‘this is the artwork’ and ‘this is the research’. The design seems to be confusing on purpose, to delete the boundaries of the classical artbook and offer something closer to experiment. Then, we can notice that the whole book is designed through an iterative process regarding this pale ocher square, that disseminate itself in every element presented.

The same visual phenomenon is present with the textual content : the text takes place under the same fonts in the artworks as in the information shown. Even if it’s still pretty classical (most of the text content is centered, justified, in a times font), the fact that it appears through different layers contributes to this repetitive visual process that ponctuates the whole book. The title « A sheet of paper » appear different times in the book, in different sizes and font.

These variations of patterns and games between the information and the artistic production creates confusion but then but at the same time they offer the possibility to approach as closely as possible Zaugg’s work. Indeed, all of his work is a reflexion on the absence, the disparition through the « banal » in art. The book A sheet of paper appeared to me entirely trivial at first sight, offering no necessarily different aspect. Yet, it is not the peculiarity of the elements presented that makes it a singular object, but the work accorded to visual rhythm, repetition, variation. It is the relationship between the elements that becomes interesting, where the repetition of extremely banal things suddenly creates a particular set. A contraction between the particular and the general. All of my research focuses on the possibilities and appearances of different forms of rhythm. The choice of this book makes me feel even more at the heart of this spider’s web, ponctuating and creating echoes between every choice.

Remy Zaugg: A Sheet Of Paper. design by the artist, Rietveld library number: zau 1

THE LOST CENT


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

I have the feeling that you had a big influence on the book, also in the design, how was your balance between you and Arthur Roeloffzen the graphic designer?

Years ago I saw an old American child book with a hole in it and I thought I really want to make a book with a hole in it as well. So it was already stuck in my head for a while, but the subject wasn’t clear yet. I knew that it had to be a thick book, so that the hole would be very deep in contrast to the child book. So I started to make a lot of drawings with the design of the hole in my head. The publisher introduced me to Arthur Roeloffzen, and we started to talk. There was also another book that I’m really fond of, it’s called Dreams from Jim Shaw it’s a very solid book and nice to hold, so I showed it to Arthur Roeloffzen and told him that this had to be the feeling of the book. Further the colours of the drawings were already kind of fixed, because I work most of the time in these colours. We had very interesting discussions about where the hole had to begin, that was something I didn’t really thought of before. So there was a lot already decided before Arthur Roeloffzen started designing. Even the one euro cent on the cover of the book was already thought of. The cent is there because the book is about the absence of it. Also, about the number 99, that you see a lot in the supermarket, where again the one euro cent is missing.

Can the hole be a metaphor for the absence of value?

The hole could be a metaphor for the absence of value, but there are many other metaphors in the book for it. The drawings are sometimes builded around the hole, but for me it was also very intriguing to ignore the hole totally. So that it’s sometimes just a hole in paper and not really an important thing.

       What made you choose to show the drawings next to each other and not like in the book on a pile? Isn’t then the hole losing his function in your opinion?

In the exhibition of The lost cent, we hung the drawings next to each other but decided to have a space between the drawings and the wall, so that the hole would be still visible and still had a spacious feeling. But the drawings are specifically made for to be in a book, not on the wall. For me it’s very important with art books that they can’t exist in another way than a book. The lost cent couldn’t be a website by example. It can only be an object that you can enter, this is the same for child books. Like in a pop-up book, you literally disappear in it. Art books can accomplish the same.

In the back of the book a dialogue takes place, it’s designed in a very specific way, is there a reason behind it?

Arthur Roeloffzen wanted to make a very solid looking page, made for a reader and not like a theater piece with a lot of white space in between. To make it compact and give it even more the feeling of a concrete thing. We also searched for a long time to find paper that would be as voluminous as possible, so that it would be heavier.

How started the collaboration with Onomatopee?

The publisher came with the suggestion to collaborate with Olav Velthuis, he wanted to add an extra context. Olav Velthuis knows a lot about value and art, as a professor at the Universitty of Amsterdam. Onomatopee likes to have a literary link in books that they publish. So the story of Baudelaire came in, because it’s also about a coin that also went in another direction than it normally would go.

Do you think that you gave the one euro cent a new value with The Lost cent?

A review of my book came on the financial page of the newspaper NRC, so I think that I gave a new value to the one euro cent. I think it’s an accomplishment to be picked up by the editorial staff of the NRC. It felt like a big compliment. It means that people outside of the art world picking it up and form an opinion about it. You always have a kind of ideal outcome in thought as an artist and it really adds something if other people can do something with it, that the audience is changing.

Serge Onnen: The Lost Cent. designed by Arthur Roeloffzen, Rietveld library number: onn 3

Sun Bathing Serifs


Thursday, December 6, 2018

The boring becoming bold, the extravagant turning average. The library’s context has the power to change the appearance of each individual book. 

My last tag word ‘seduction’ resulted in the “The Pleasure of the Text”. A rather thin book, with the linking tag word as its main subject. And to admit, this is the most seducing copies I have seen during my Quest so far. Its beige cover contains the names of the author, title and translator. Each name centrally positioned and written in classical typeface. I remember talking about this daring design approach in Art Theory class; the rigorous use of classicism in an age of uncentered cacophony.

The title and author’s name are written on the spine, covering the top two thirds of its space. It looks like the book’s designer respectfully left enough space for a library-sticker to be added on its lower third part. The letters give a sense of monumentalism, probably because they’re all written in capital letters. This book is small, has only 67 pages, but seems to express importance and something all-compassing. Is if it contains words of the Bible, or the Tao Te Ching.

To me, the feeling of seduction grows out of its minimal means: the simple action of printing ink on paper, black on white. Simple rules created by human beings offering millions of possibilities and meanings. 

While in search for this book, I initially looked up its cover online before picking it up at the library. Just so I would maybe recognize it faster inside the library. It looked different online. The original title “Le Plaisir du Texte” was written in a smaller typeface. Also, the name of the translator was missing (because obsolete). This created a sense of generosity by the amount of extra empty space surrounding each word. They were given more focus and therefore value.

The letters of the current book I have in front of me are more frivolous, and seem to almost touch each other. The ‘h’s’, ’T’s and ‘l’s’ seem to tickle the lines above and below. The text pleasures itself.

Because of aging and exposure to light, the cover’s background color turned from white to beige. I imagine this book is left in the sun often by its temporary owners – I imagine them taking a break from the pleasure the words give them during their holidays on the beach. Absorbing the sun like they absorbed the text.

 

803.1 bar 1

 

 

Printed Matters?


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

In the basement of the Stedelijk Museum my eyes were immediately drawn to all the printed matters showcased. Maybe it was all the colours, their placement or the fact that any day I would prefer a great book over a beautiful chair.

One that stood out was the brochure for the 14th Bauhausbücher made by László Moholy-Nagy in 1929.

BB

The Bauhausbücher is a series of books published from 1925 to 1930. László Moholy-Nagy and Walter Gropius were responsible for the publications whose main focus was the challenges and accomplishments of the Bauhaus movement. Many great German and international artists contributed to the books.

BBooks

I could choose to focus my research on the Bauhaus movement.
Bauhaus was a part of changing the traditional academic way of perceiving and teaching art. Bauhaus focused on creativity instead of talent, command over skill, visual perception and imagination.

As mentioned before, the aim of the Bauhausbücher was to express the challenges and accomplishments of the movement. Today it serves as kind of a testimony for the Bauhaus.

I asked myself if it is a common thing for movements, such as the Bauhaus, to publish things about themselves?
In Berlin I went to Haus der Kulturen der Welt to see the exhibition “The Most Dangerous Game”.

TMDG

“The most dangerous game” is an exhibition focusing on the movement Situationist International.
The exhibition showcased, among other things, a collection of books, documents and manifestos.

To quote a text from the exhibition:

“… the main aim was to bring together the key founding texts and manifestos of all organisations whose members had later joined the Situationists. This includes very many, indeed almost all, of the artistic groups that saw themselves as revolutionary in the first half of the 20th century…”.

So the answer to my question, whether or not it is a common thing for movements, such as Bauhaus, to publish things about themselves, the answer must be a clear and loud yes!

One of the publications showcased at HKW was an art based magazine called “Helhesten”. The main focus in the magazine was the spontaneous abstract art of the time. “Helhesten” was published nine times from 1941 to 1944 and most of the contributions in the magazine was made by the danish artist group also called “Helhesten”.

In Berlin I also went to an archive, a fanzine archive. A fanzine is a publication produced by people who are interested in a particular cultural thing such as a musical genre, literature or a movement. The fanzine is mainly produced for people who share the same interest as the author/publisher.

Are you able to compare the Bauhausbücher, and other publications buy similar movements, such as Helhesten and Høst, to the fanzine? I think you are.

I was reading a fanzine about the punk culture in the 90’s, it was very informative and gave very detailed insight. In the fanzine there were articles by people from the community, recommendations (music, books, movies) and also some artwork. So somehow the aim of the fanzine also is to inform about the accomplishments and challenges the movement faces.

Fpunk

The fanzines are becoming very popular again and some people even make online fanzines – back in the days it was only printed matter.

Back in 1925, when the first book in the series of Bauhausbücher was published, the world wide web didn’t exist yet, which might have been the reason Moholy-Nagy and Gropius chose to publish books, they simply didn’t have the choice to ‘go online’.

If you publish a book these days it is a conscious choice you make.
You have so many different options if you want your information to get out to the world. For an example you can make it into an e-book, a blogpost or make a whole website dedicated to the matter.

But what about the printed matter? Does it matter?

The internet is great for some quick research, it is easy accessible and you can find information on almost everything. The internet is always changing – content are being added and taken down, so can you really depend on it to be there when you need it? You can learn many things, but how do you know if its true? Take this blogpost for an example: what do you even know about the writer and their reasons for posting this content?

A lot of content on the internet only needs one single person behind it and you might not even know their real name.

I can’t speak for everyone, only myself, when I say I would prefer to read something printed.

There is something about buying a book or any other printed matter, you know that someone put a lot of effort into the whole process and that makes me appreciate it more.

The printed matter will always remain the same – the internet can change.

The printed matter matters.

Fulvio Bianconi Pezzato Vase


Saturday, October 27, 2018

The starting point of my research was Fulvio Bianconi’s Pezzato Vase. The Vase that displayed in the Stedelijk Base (fig. 1) was designed in 1950-1951 and acquired by the Museum in 2002 from the artist Tomas Rajlich. The Pezzati series [Pezza (it.) – patch] was designed between 1950-1954 and produced by Venini & C., a Murano glass manufacturer.

Pezzato Vase at Stedelijk Base

 

I started my research by looking up books about Bianconi in “WorldCat”, an Internet-based books catalog that contains combined data from thousands of libraries around the world. Most of the relevant books about the artist that I could trace in Amsterdam were either in the Stedelijk Library or the OBA (Amsterdam public library). Besides, I searched in the Stedelijk library internet database, and with the help of its librarian, I could find a few more catalogs and books that did not come up in WorldCat. I also checked in the Rietveld library search engine, but unfortunately, no result came up. Most of these searches brought up relatively focused information about Bianconi and Venini & C.

Later I started to search about Bianconi by going through the glass and crystal books collections, both at the OBA and at the Rietveld Library. Those searches brought up less specific types of books, either about design in general or glassworks.

The physical materials I found can be divided into several categories:

Exhibition Brochures

The Stedelijk library has two original Bianconi’s exhibition brochure: one from 2015 at Le Stanze del Vetro (fig.2), and the other from 1975 at Gallery Danese in Milano (fig. 3). The Danese’s brochure is the oldest physical material about Bianconi I could find in Amsterdam. It’s an envelope that contains six large postcards of the artist work and innovation to the opening in September 1975 (fig.3.a).

Exhibitions Br.

2a

Venini

The book (fig. 4) and the Brochure (fig 5.) are both directly related to Bianconi’s work at Venini. The book consists of information about Bianconi’s life, but its central part presents Bianconi’s designs throughout several decades. The designs are divided by series of production (one of them , for example, is the “Pezzati”), and the objects displayed next to their drafts and numbered as in a catalog (fig. 4.a.). The Venini Brochure function both provide information about the company and service as a poster (fig. 5.a). Although it doesn’t revolve around Bianconi’s body of work, some of his designs can be identified on the poster (such as the Fazzoletto series).

3

3a

3b

Private Collectors

I also found information about Bianconi’s designs at private collectors book. The first one is Losch collection (fig. 6), a private collection that focuses on Italian and Finish Glass. The other book presents Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu Venetian glass collection. Both books are not exclusively focused on Bianconi’s works and display an assortment of his designs alongside the designs of his Italian colleagues at Venini.

4

Glass

After going through all the books found with the help of the Libraries’ database, I checked if I could find information about Bianconi in books about glass in general. I searched in the OBA collection about Glass and Krystal, that are categorized on shelf number 775.6. Three of the books (fig. 8, 9 & 10) consists of very little data about Bianconi, while one of the consists a more in-depth look into his body of work (fig. 11).

5

6

Searching online brought up other results. Searching “Fulvio Bianconi” in Google provided around 90,000 results, and adding the word “Pezzato” narrowed the results to 12,500. The internet-based results concern mainly commercial aspects regarding the designer works and present rather little data about his life and body of work.

Many websites either sell Bianconi’s designs or providing data about future auctions and previous auctions results. The site varies from e-bay to Sotheby’s and online auction houses.

7

 

Other websites, more “institutional” ones, deliver basic information about the designer works and his life. First, the designer’s official site contains his biography and a small picture gallery of his glass and graphic works. In Venini & C., official website this information can also be found. Modern art and design museums such as the MoMA, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Boijmans, the Cooper Hewitt and the Metropolitan provide limited information about the designer works in each of the institutions own design collection.

8

Limited data about the designer can also be found in social media. The designers have around 900 pictures that contain his name tag on Instagram. In addition, in Venini official instagram account some go his designs can be traced. The designer has a facebook fan page that is currently not active.

9

Compared to the information found in books, the one found online is not as thick and much more general. In books, we can see extensive data relating to historical contexts, manufacturing processes, and the designer’s biography and full body of work. The information that can be found online Is mainly revolving around the commercial aspects of the designer’s works, focusing on his popular and “more profitable” production series.

Twist and turn over


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Starting with the research on architecture magazine ‘Wendingen’,

First I checked the context of this magazine in design history at Stedelijk.

IMG_1522

IMG_1530

IMG_1517

Stedelijk museum

Among the interior objects with distinctive decoration style,

the magazine was closely reacting with similar shape, form, and motifs.

This type of arrangement was effective to show the design objects

existed under the same style called ‘Amsterdamse School’.

In the exhibition space, I could get the concentrated information

mostly in the visual aspect with the short description.

Stedelijk Library

After that, I went to Stedelijk library for more specific information

about magazine ‘Wendingen’. At the library, I could actually touch and

read the whole series of original magazine.

 

IMG_E1508

When compared to looking through the showcase in the museum,

It was very different experience. While reading the magazine, I found out that

under the same format of design, it had it’s own playfulness and freedom.

Amsterdamse school

‘Amsterdamse school’ is the design movement flourished from

1910 through 1930 in the Netherlands, with the advent of

industrialization in 19th century. It started with the aim to lift the

living condition of working class, covering from social housing complex, school,

church, bridge, monument to furniture, textile, objects. It’s playful, romantic

and organic style gave rise to expressionistic architecture.

Published in Amsterdam during 1918-1932, Wendingen mainly

functioned as a mouthpiece of this movement.

Emphasizing emotional resonance and playful imagination, several

authors in the first issue of Wendingen criticized rationalists for

overly rigid and austere rules they apply in design.

Het Schip

Het schip is one of the most iconic buildings of Amsterdamse school.

It’s built as social housing complex, currently used as residential building

and museum of Amsterdamse school.

IMG_2760

IMG_2753

IMG_2743

Main focus being settled on Amsterdamse school and magazine Wendingen,

the museum offers overview about the history of advent in design movement.

Based on the historical timeline of Amsterdam in design aspect,

the museum shows very detailed and broad range of information.

I could get the answers about questions aroused

while I was reading the magazine Wendingen:

how this movement cultivated?

why it lasted only for short term,

how did the public association and private dedication are correlated?

During this era, flourishing book design culture in Netherlands left

numerous masterpieces, including ‘Wendingen’.

You can find an article about book design exhibition

also held in Museum Het Schip through this website.

https://hart.amsterdam/nl/page/47320/boekbeeld-in-jansma-s

Self-guided tour of Amsterdamse school architecture is possible

If you enter this website.

https://amsterdamse-school.nl/
 

website

It is a website dedicated for Amsterdamse school, made and supported by

museum Het Schip. You can find digital image archive of buildings, bridges,

furniture, and artists of this movement.

I used information in this website as a foundation of my research plan.

amstelveen_map

Map around Gerrit Rietveld Academie with the Amsterdamse school spots.

Biking or walking around the city, I occasionally found some remarkable

buildings, bridges or sculptures that drew my attention. But I used to pass over

regarding it as just nice city design of Netherlands.

After this research, the perception about the city totally turned over.

The vague interest became clear, enabling myself to respect and

understand the city I moved in.

YES/NO COLOR SYSTEM


Monday, April 2, 2018

When first introduced the idea of creating a color system, a small panic appeared in me. After studying ‘theory of color’ in my previous studies, I was afraid that it would turn into a theoretical and precise boring system, where the colors are mixed based on a strict formula, very far away from my interests.
What is then what is so interesting about color for me? What will make me excited or what do I need to create a color system for?
After a long process of reflecting, I decide to take a step out and look at color differently and alienate it from any system that I have studied before.
Reflecting on my need, I’ve always looked at color in food, due to my intolerance to sugar, some food is forbidden, meaning, some colors are forbidden. For example, when my friends ask me, what vegetables can you eat? I say, only greens, so it’s easier for them to remember that tomatoes or paprika or others are not good for me.
Thanks to this I started collecting images from the supermarkets, walking around and seeing the difference between what I can eat and what I can’t. All the bright colors from the fruits and some vegetables, were forbidden of course, and all the not so hysterical colors from the rice, beans, meat were fine.

IMG_8729 IMG_8728 IMG_8727

Now the challenge was, what do I do with this pictures?
Something like a guide, a small booklet I could carry around, and I could give to my close friends, similar to a little Bible.
I always carry a small notebook that fits my pockets, so I decide to take that format and create a two sided booklet, where one side has all the food I can eat, and on the other side it has all the food I can’t.
I took the decision to add a small color mark on the side of each page with the exact color, creating a small gradient on the side of the booklet. On both sides, it starts with light colors, and goes to yellow, orange, red, green, brown and darker. The order of the gradient has been influenced by the harmony between colors in the Coloroid system I wrote previously about.

 

fructosemia4 yes                        fructosemia3 no
Because it’s a double sided publication, the gradient is on both sides, and always both pages contrast with each other, one being the yes and one the no.

IMG_0913 IMG_0912

 

7122 The book that inspired me is 9,5 x 15,cm, single pages and glued. The design of it is taken from the notebook ‘Notizen, edition suhrkamp’. (click on both images to access more information about the edition Suhrkamp)

7Teaser

These are the rest of books that this publisher has created and this as well was a part of the inspiration for the harmony in the gradient.

 

IMG_9375        IMG_9378

It has a yellow cover first, because of the inspiration I took the book from, and as well because of the color of the lemons, which is the only fruit that I can eat. In the presentation I decided to include some lemons that ill hold the book standing and as well camouflage it and integrate it in the space so it’s not flat.
I am very satisfied with the result as well as happy about how much I learnt about book binding, and the paper. For example, how important it is the direction of the fibers of the paper when you print so the corners of the paper don’t bend. Since it was a very precise color scheme, it had to have specific bleed marks and cut marks that I never used before.

ATTEMPTS ON A RESEARCH ESSAY, COMPLETE SERIES


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

 

claesfrontcover

 

1:
The designer of this catalog is unstated and unfindable and probably dead.
But that’s no good, so lets start again.

2:
During this assignment we were asked to chose a recent edition in the library based purely on its design, in order to research it for the coming weeks and write a publication on it.

Narrowing down my choices to 2 books Henk advised me one was a classic (he owned 4 copies) and the other he knew nothing about. Which was which he wouldn’t tell, so I followed my instinct. I settled on “Skulpturer och tecknigar 17 Sept.- 30 Okt”: a catalogue of Claes Oldenburg’s work from Moderna Museet in 1966.

Safe to say Henk doesn’t have a copy at home.

3:
Emailing Moderna Museet led to nothing fruitful.

4:
The librarian at the Rietveld Library said he would help me research.

He told me:
“Many designers in the 60s weren’t credited at the time because being a designer was so applied. who cares about them? Its all about the artist”
“Claes’ partner was actually dutch… but that doesn’t help you. Fuck.”
“I bought a Claes Oldenburg book last week.”
He said some things about the Moderna Museet but, again, “It’s no use to you. I don’t know”
He wished me luck.

5:
The librarian at Rijksmuseum told me:
“What is your question? I don’t understand your question?”

6:
Last February I went to a seminar by Nasan Tur.
Sat among the group was a woman (about 50) who was neither introduced nor introduced herself. For the sake of the narrative, she will be called Cecille. Cecille was conflicted about many things and had earlier that day talked herself into great confusion about the significance of a plastic Marylin Monroe compared to that of a plastic Buddha. At some point it all spilled out: an architect for 27 years, fed up of not being able to practice creativity within her job; taking a year out; putting everything on hold; trying to start again.
In trying to solve this issue Tur referenced Oldenburg as an example of an artist using interior design and architectural ideas in an artistic form: suggesting Cecille might learn from this. It was insufficient, she said: “There is no space for art when you build a house”.

Then Tur, exhausted by this statement: “Of course there is, make tiny doors”, Cecille: “Then people will keep banging their heads and they will get sick. We cannot live among sculptures”.

front coverclaes back cover

 

They were talking in riddles. She said “Kitsch is the repression of death”, and he: “Kitsch is the sweetness of the soul”. Cecille here being the front of this catalog, and Tur the back.

 

b+w sinksoft sink

Imagine above your two images: on the left a large black and white photograph of a sink and on the right a deflated, dilapidated version sown out of what looks like bouncy castle material: but here I promise not to dwell too much on content but what this content gives to the form, for there are 20 other pages like this in the book.

Here the designer has chosen not to separate the book by sculpture, photograph, sketch but by more obvious subject. For example:“sink, sink.”
“house, house.”
“ironing board, ironing board.”
“light switch, light switch.”
and beneath this one we may see a statement such as “my room is filled with cigarettes the size of cannons”
It becomes almost farce: such poetic expressions beneath large representative works of art.

The layout provokes:
“how typical of ‘art’ to be so obscure, to lay things next to each other and leave the audience to draw parallels.”
One gets the feeling you can assign meaning to almost anything, a little like this publication so far- so now to look at something slightly more grounded.

7:

1pingpongtable_1100
“Skulpturer och tecknigar 17 Sept.- 30 Okt”

2banan_1100a

 

In fact why I chose the catalog- apart from vague memories it evoked- was because of its simple design: the paper is thin and dimly laminate; the font is understated and normal; the arrangement of the text is practical: it sits more or less where you expect it to. The catalog is thin, glue blinded and flops slightly when you open it. Small black borders outline some images but most are left just as they are. These images are often black and white and the coloured ones are stuck in. Initially I thought this was a design decision to emphasize certain works but I found out it was just to make the printing cheaper.

Pulling various other Oldenburg books and catalogues from the library might, I thought, give me some much needed context.

 

3curve_1100
“Claes Oldenburg: Large-scale projects, 1977-1980”above Barbara Rose’s 1969 study of Oldenburg, catalogue Museum Boymans van Beuningen Rotterdam 1983, below.

4red_1100

 

Comparing a catalogue from Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam 1983, Barbara Rose’s 1969 study of Oldenburg and a book from 1980 called “Claes Oldenburg: Large-scale projects, 1977-1980” to mine, I found them all to be remarkably similar, even down to the thin black borders on some images. Two of the books were published in New York so I checked to see if they had the same designer. They did not. However on reading Rose’s acknowledgements I noticed she directly thanked both Claes and his wife for all of their help and even “good meals” they shared during the time of her research.

Perhaps Oldenburg gave some hint as to the style he expected with his work, after all the candor of the design suits Oldenburg’s work so well: which is also presented nonchalantly despite its surreal actuality.

8:
The designer of “Skulpturer och Tecknigar 17 Sept.- 30 Okt. 1966” remains unstated and unfindable and probably dead.

In trying to research it seems I have confused myself and various librarians. The best I can do is to conjure up some lose image of a designer, in a dimly lit office in 1960’s Stockholm; disregarded because their career choice was too “applied”. It is purely assumption- but somehow a nice one- to imagine Oldenburg influenced the design in some way.

Anyway, I think I will send a copy to “Cecille” in the hope that she might make smaller doors.

The book of imaginary beings by Jorge Luis Borges.


Monday, November 27, 2017

imganiary-book_950


” I would say my design-style is pretty classic.

I try to make my designs inviting and appropriate

to the subject matter, whether fiction or non-fiction. ”

 – Francesca Belanger 

     

For thirteen years ago Francesca Belange designed the cover of  The book of imaginary beings written by Jorges Luis Borges. The only guidelines she got about how the design should be was the length of the book. The author passed away the 14th of June 1986 so communication was impossible, which maybe makes the design work different. Or easier? Because direct opinions do not really exist only the words through the editor. However the book turned out wonderful, with its old but new appearance. And there we have it, that is the reason I choose this book. I loved how it felt when I first held it, when I flipped through the pages and felt the uneven cut of the pages in the book. It reminded me of a really old storybook with a long and rich history. It felt like a book with strong words and that made me curious. I got the urge of wanting to know more about it. And the design, what was the feeling they wanted to accomplish?

20171127_003024
 The uneven pages

Belanger wanted to give the book a dreamy and exotic look. She used the Aldus text font with the Locarno light display to try to achieve it, and I must say that she has. The book look really like a dreamy and of course it is a fantasy novel, but the feeling that this book contains another world strongly appears. It’s interesting to know which font she used, believe it or not but the font says a lot about the book, its feeling, its own language and everything between that.

belanger 343belanger 22

The book also has many beautiful illustrations of the imaginary beings. They are fantastic as well as the design, I asked Francesa if she had contact with the illustrator Peter Sis, and she had. She says he was lovely but can not recall exactly what they talked about. It’s visible in the work they did together on the book that they had some kind of connection I would say, I think that is important in all work, whatever there is, that there is some kind of affection between the people. Even if they hate each other or do not speak that much to each other. It just has to be there, even if it is just a few words.
Belanger divided the layout of the book based on the placement of the illustrations, and that the imaginary beings needed to start on a new page to give the book style a flow and organization. But also because sometimes the imaginary beings is on a page itself, some times on the same page as the text and sometimes w
ithout the border that appears on the full page art, all these decisions were made in relation with the space. Belagner says that this must have been something she asked Peter Sis about. She says that she would never alter art without the acceptance of the artist.

belanger 34belanger 33
It all comes together to a strong, wonderful book with a strong expression and layout. When I hold the book I get that – I really really want to read this book – feeling. Witch book design are all about.

 

I like to say that a book jacket or cover has to grab a

reader’s attention, and my job is to invite her in”

– Francesca Belanger

 

The book of Imaginary Beings, designer: Francesca Belanger, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 855.6 bor 1

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

LIEKE VAN DER LEEST’s jewerly collection book comparing with a korean jewerly magazine


Sunday, November 26, 2017

First of all, I thought the designer of the book is Jorunn Veiteberg but he is a author of the book. In the last page, there’s a list of people who assisted to make this book. I sent Van der lesst an eamil

to let me know the designer. she taught me two graphic designers named Simone Hooymans and Hilde-Marie Larsen Klyve are the designers. . Simone makes drawings and films of animals and astronauts that are so beautiful and imaginative, but also a bit gloomy. Ho cooperates with Mari Kvien Brunvoll and creates animations for the music of Mari. Hans Pulles is an artist and designer. He creates beautiful and beautiful sculptures in public spaces.

‘I realise more and more, that every scene I make in an animation is a painting by itself.’
Simone Hooymans

There were two graphic designers involved who are FELIEKE VAN DER LESST’s(artist in the book) friends and live nearby.

She said that one of them (Hilde-Marie Larsen Klyve) does now other work and the other (Simone Hooymans) still does graphic design work (to earn a living) but that is beside her art work. She makes beautiful drawings and stunishing animations (using those drawings)

her website:

www.simonehooymans.com/

 

Hooymans often paints a mixture of animal and human being. Her interest is to examine how “human” animals are, and how “beastly” human beings are. By adding unnatural elements to the animals, she plays with the human influences and views on the world’s fauna. Hooymans is in a quest to explore how we relate to this, through different emotional states, such as harmony and fear.

Within her animations she makes a completely distinctive, adventurous universe; a mythological world that is timeless, mysterious and dreamy and with an ominous undertone. She twisted fairy tale universe is mostly without a clear narrative. The viewer has to draw their own conclusions. The works are autonomous visual art pieces, with the freedom and ability to exist in installation forms.
An underlaying theme in my animation work is the retracting of nature and questioning fast urbanization and technology. I am exploring how we relate to this, through different emotional states, such as harmony and fear.

My work took part in many international group exhibitions and filmfestivals, One of my animations reveived recently the Honorable Mention Award at Grimstad Kortfilmfestivalen in Norway. My animations and drawings are in collections in the Netherlands, the UK and in Norway.

 

 

I love colorful, small jeweries, and animals.

Actually, that were the reason why I chose the book named ‘the zoo of life’. There were a lot of books and magazines in rietveld’s library and I tried to find a colorful book.

Felieke van der Leest: The Zoo of Life: Jewellery & Objects 1996 2014’ at the first glance, its cover looked like an magazine. there was a big image and big letters placed on the cover. In my country, making cover eye-catching that leads people to read a book. that was what I felt about it. 

KakaoTalk_20171126_164846160

the jewerly magazine generally placed the jewerly and its explanation on same page that gives it one- stop view. It’s more based on the convenience of getting information about jewerly.

Inside of it, there were a lot of coloful images. The layout between the images is neat and orderly. Each text and images is separated so it makes the page also looks like a kind of artwork, not just a page of a book

Images seemed that designer considered how the image looks good. In some pages, she used two pages to watch the details of small jewelery. It is collection of her work, but I felt like watching a jewerly collection magazine.Some images’ backgrounds  were colored, so collaboration of colors makes jewelery look better and a soft, warm feeling rather than a hard feeling.

 

KakaoTalk_20171126_132530969

 

 

There are some no-framed images, so I felt more that the images decorate the pages rather than the hard feeling of ‘placing images in books’

KakaoTalk_20171126_132547659KakaoTalk_20171126_132536822

And I researched information about a designer of the book. Her name is Jorunn Veiteberg. She is an independent writer and curator based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She edited an published many books about jewelry.

Jorunn Veiteberg, born in Norway in 1955 but now living in Denmark, is internationally acknowledged in the area of arts and crafts theory.

Veiteberg has a PhD in art history from the University of Bergen, Norway, 1982 and a Dr.Philos degree from 2000. She has been head of exhibitions at Hordaland Art Centre in Bergen and Galleri F15 in Moss and head of arts in Norwegian Broadcasting/Television. She was editor-in-chief of the Norwegian arts and craft magazine Kunsthandverk1998–2007, and adjunct professor in Creative Curating at Bergen Academy of Art and Design 2007–2014. She was guest professor at School of Design and Crafts at Gothenburg University, Sweden 2013-2016. She is appointed a member of the Norwegian Art Council for the years 2016–2019. Veiteberg has written or edited 24 books and contributed to around 200 international anthologies, journals or catalogues.

Not the least, her book “Frå tause ting till talande objekt” (From silent things to speaking objects) has had a significant impact in this area. In this book she summarizes and describes the evolution and present state of the arts and crafts field. Veiteberg also has unique experiences in how research in this field can take concrete expressions, and how the forms for artistic research in the arts and crafts can be formulated.Through a three year stipend from the foundation she is now a visiting professor at the School of Design and Crafts at Gothenburg University for three years starting 2012.

KakaoTalk_20171126_170317913

She has been awarded with Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize 1999, Norsk Forms Hederspris 2010, Norske Kunsthåndverkeres Ærespris 2013 and Årets nynorskbrukar 2015.Veiteberg also has unique experiences in how research in this field can take concrete expressions, and how the forms for artistic research in the arts and crafts can be formulated.

Here’s her saying about making a book and its values.

‘Photos can be very seductive and misleading. It is difficult to understand size, weight, etc. I’m afraid of making bad choices based on misreading photos. I have not defined any criteria in advance. But I have been asked to go for “high quality.” I will try to be as open minded as possible. But, perhaps I have a wider understanding of what quality can be than usual? For me, quality can also be about content, not only craftsmanship.’
You have a particular interest in how makers articulate their relationship to culture and history. Meanwhile, application forms leave very little room for contextualization of the work. When you review the applications, you will be looking at images, titles, and a simple list of materials and processes. How do you feel about this?
I don’t belong to the school that thinks artwork speaks for itself. Knowing so little about the work is what makes this exercise so challenging and the risk of making failures so big. I might have an experienced eye, but I don’t consider myself a connoisseur. So, I would have expected an artist statement to follow the piece, but you mean there is no room for that?
I felt that she has firm value of work and choosing her words carefully.
The Zoo of Life, jewelry artist/designer: Felieke van der Leest, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 777.6 lee 2

Gorillas inside a box


Saturday, November 25, 2017

The first indication given to us about this assignment was to select a book based solely on its design. As soon as this information was delivered the first thing that popped into my mind was to find one that would present the most extravagant, out of the box features, so that whatever the next steps to follow would be, the subject matter could not be accused of being boring.

Ironically enough, I chose a book that is inside a box. Which actually was the main reason it outshone its shelf mates, that suddenly looked very serious with their glue bind cover.

A07748_l

Puzzle box by Ines Lechleitner is an artist book released in 2009. I was momentarily skeptical at the functionality of its green gapped cardboard cover —not that it mattered to my eyes, since the pick was based on unconventionality—, or to put it in a way that fits better the central reasoning that led to my choice, maybe the fact that it would present an additional layer to access its content, or remind the feeling of opening a present, would make it more interesting. Soon, the content justified the packaging: it is composed by two books one being the artist’s work where you can find pictures of a group of gorillas in a German zoo and drawings that explain the movements made by the camera. The second one being a response of different authors to the work carried out. Then, two videos were also included — found as a CD in the book— that focus on the gorillas entering and leaving the frame, and finally, a map of the relations between the gorillas’ habitat, the photographs and videos. The box now seemed like a handy support to carry the CD and the map.

You can find the true reasoning behind the design in the author’s website: «Puzzle Box is modeled after ‘Beschäftigungskästen’, which were designed specifically for apes as an interactive occupation and recreation tool. The apes are expected to learn how to manipulate grains inside the box by pushing them from one level to the next in order to gain access to the food.»

This box was inside the gorilla’s location and is recurrently found throughout the images of the book

IMG_07554w

IMG_0757 (1)3256

As I mentioned earlier the book contains a response of different authors to the work. It was captured as a conversation between the artist and the authors. When I finished reading it, I imagined myself participating in that conversation. To get more insight on what the artist had experienced over the period of 5 years in which she developed this project I decided to go to the Amsterdam zoo to elaborate my response.

I quickly began to make associations. The humans standing there encircling the gorillas’ cage while expressing their reactions could be similar to the way the gorillas manipulate the Beschäftigungskästen, both actions are driven by the effect, even if in the first case it might be entertainment and in the latter obtaining some food. It is interesting to consider the sizes of those involved in this equation and the movement of this idea which goes inwards in distance.  Us humans look at the cage and touch the glass with our fingers while inside, the gorillas look at the box touching it to get some food. And even taking it further, while manipulating the box the gorillas fell into it, furthering the confinement, satisfying the humans need for entertainment and consumerism now possible through the Puzzle Box in which they lie. Definitely, I noticed how much my perception of the zoo as a place had shifted since I was a child.

eaf<

There are five polar notions that get emphasized in the book

we/them

open/closed

active/passive

space/movement

In the frame (onscreen)/ out of the frame (offscreen)

The pictures in black and white somehow make stronger the sensation of two different entities separated by distance. The framing delimits the space in a way that makes you wonder what is around, almost as if each picture wasn’t complete or was a piece of a puzzle. It also happens with the video where you would need a 360º panorama to understand the full set. The pace in which the gorillas are depicted is calm, almost uninterested.

In the zoo, once I spent enough time with the gorillas and my brain ended up getting used to the extreme, overwhelming aroma, I was able to truly concentrate on their movements, realizing how much more aware I was becoming of my own. I felt there was a strong relation between this feeling and the fact that the whole work of the artist (the map, the video, the pictures and the drawings) was to know very precisely, almost memorizing, each step and movement of the gorillas knowing what movement it was, which place were they occupying in space, when they did it, all of it systematically. This is also linked to the book’s design that appears to be calculated, calm and neat, using the same typewriter font throughout the book, and clean ‘one-line’ drawings.

Remembering that humans possess in a 98% the same DNA than gorillas I suddenly felt funny imagining my movements being dissected in a book.

 

Puzzle Book, designer: Ines Lechleitner, Rietveld Library Cat. no: lec 1


Log in
subscribe