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"book design" Category


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.

 

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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”

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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.

 

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

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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?

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 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

Reference work of the subconscious


Saturday, November 25, 2017

_MG_1108_1

Parallel Encyclopedia #2: welcome in Batia Suter’s head and my interpretation of what that might be. She searched, she found and she took, and now she is giving it back. The book turned into an object that spikes my curiosity, and not only because of her collection of curiosities.
The green cover spoke to me. I picked it up and it spoke even louder. I decided to dig further and at one point it made me want to dress in rubber boots, a jacket with too many pockets and a bucket hat and go off to explore the world. And bring a camera.

2014-01-03 12.11.22

After Parallel Encyclopedia – an almost black-and-white compilation of her personal archive of seemingly random pictures – Batia Suter made a second volume. An artist’s book poured into an encyclopedia-shaped cast. Where Parallel Encyclopedia number 1 contained strictly black and white imagery, number two also allows specks of colours to seep through the pages.

2014-01-03 12.09.10

One might wonder, in a book like this: what did the designer do? It’s Batia Suter’s collection, and her intuition that ordered the pictures. Where did the designer – Roger Willems – drop in? Where did the designer left his mark. Did he had a say and what did he say? Where and if to use colour in this otherwise black and white universe? To use Biotop paper in 90 grams, to give it all a functional feel? To add two red bookmark ribbons?

On might wonder – hidden inside this volume is a parallel world of a parallel world of a parallel world.
One might wander – an encyclopedia of no practical information but visual information, a dreamy answer to an 2000-year old tradition of encyclopedia-making. Another possible answer to this tradition is Wikipedia. Wikipedia suffocates most encyclopedia, but not this one, not Parallel Encyclopedia. This one tells us what Wikipedia can never tell and thank God doesn’t and probably doesn’t even want to. This one is a reference work of the subconscious. Batia Suter’s thematic categories are her own: giving us the suggestion of a story, or not at all – we all make up our stories anyway. She leads us into a great grey and black and white world, different worlds within different worlds, from curiosity to curiosity, from dreams to wonder. She let’s us jump from trees to mountains to griendhout to wolzakverwering and the wall of Hadrianus; Britannia. From fields to Kirchner to winter to bacteria and giving us a neat visual experience whilst doing it.

2014-01-03 12.13.24

Flip.

Page 105.

Workman sprays carbolic powder on a 35-yd long rubbish pile during strike of garbage collectors in London in September 1969. A picture of stacked boats, a woman shopping on the Amsterdam flowermarket. No clue how this works together, but somehow, it works.

Flip.

Page 177.

Verschillende dwarsdoorsnedes van kringsporig hout (es), verspreidporig hout (esdoorn), halfkringsporig hout (kers), mergstralen (eik), mergstralen (tulpenboom), and so on.

Flip.

Page 236.

The moon.

Page 237.

Several spherical objects, mirroring the moon.

Flip.

Page 440.

The entire page is filled with a picture of flowers that remind me of orchids, but apparently are called Odontonia.

Page 441.

The entire page is filled with a picture of geisha girls of the early 1900s. Their kimonos and the plants in the pictures depict flowers that mirror the Odontonia.

Flip.

Page 438.

Several pictures of butterflies, and hands being spread open, resembling butterfly wings.

It’s design is imbedded in it’s content, made to serve this visual feast. Made to serve the hidden narrative. Or the none-existent narrative. It’s not organised in a seemingly logical way, but for Batia Suter, it probably is. She is pretty convincing.

One might wonder – the strays and wanderers, all nicely wrapped in shiny green.

What’s the hand of the artist and what’s the hand of the designer?
They probably used both.
 

Parallel Encyclopedia 2, designer: Batia Suter / Roger Willems, Rietveld Library Cat.no: sute 5

Judge a book by its cover


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Book Cover     Illustration 2

Sound file: ‘Front Cover’

[audio:http://designblog.rietveldacademie.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Front-Cover-Audio.mp3|titles=Front Cover Audio]
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’

[audio:http://designblog.rietveldacademie.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Chronological-order-paper-choice-and-consequences.mp3|titles=Chronological]

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’

[audio:http://designblog.rietveldacademie.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Playful-Typography.mp3|titles=Playful Typography]

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’

[audio:http://designblog.rietveldacademie.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Illustrations.mp3|titles=Illustrations]
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’

[audio:http://designblog.rietveldacademie.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Images.mp3|titles=Images]

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.

Schermafbeelding-smallBook_1200

Schermafbeelding-bigBook_1200

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

 

 

w.herwegh1_800

w.herwegh4

 

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.

 

image4

 

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.

 

image1.1

image1

image2.1

image2.2

image3.2

  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.

 

image6

 

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


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