Many years ago, I was part of a small design collective called picnic. Recently, after tidying up my storage space, I came across a handful of cards from a line of stationery from picnic. The lovely women at Aster & Clove have put them up at their shop.
I've sent some packaging to press for Destroyer at Merge Records. Destroyer is Daniel Bejar's project who some people know from The New Pornographers. I've always been a big fan of Destroyer, and one of my first design projects was a record for him, so this was a nice return. The new album, ken, is really good. I'm really terrible at describing music, but Tinseltown Swimming in Blood is an on-repeat song for me, it's really catchy and a little New Order-y. I really liked the whole album.
The digital file isn't quite getting the grey here: it's a really beautiful, cloudy pale grey that we set as a Pantone, so it will be laid down as a nice solid and not a dotty screen.
I'll put up some rejected sketches here, too, because I always like to see other designers' sketches. To source artwork, I went through a lot of old theatre set textbooks at the university near me. The one we used on the cover is by Per Schwab for ‘After the Fall’ by Arthur Miller
at the National Theatre, Oslo, 1965 (Photo: Sturlason). It is one of my favourite parts of designing to do research and this was one of the nicer ones to research.
(This happened in February on twitter, but I'm behind on my studio housekeeping.) I was reading a story in LA Review of Books about Lisa Robertson and was surprised and happy to see the cover of the book The Weather referenced:
'From the three floating blue circles in a white box on a sky-blue cover, signaling a Canadian pastoral poetry I had never before encountered, to the mix of conventionally paced lyric poems contrasting the justified prose blocks, it was, as she would say, a “sweet new style.”'
The Weather was one of my first design projects. Last year Paper Hound listed The Weather on its list of favourite local book design, and recently, New Star got in touch with me, and I'm working on some new covers for them. So it came back from the early 2000s (You can see on the back cover, it's for Steedman Design)! It's nice to be working on books again, after a bit of a break.
A few years later, I laid out Lisa's book The Office of Soft Architecture, designed by Tae Won Yu for Clearcut Press. The illustration appeared in that book, and it was nice because I got to choose a Toyo colour and it was printed on a soft white bamboo paper, which was a good surface for it, and a nice contrast to the gloss coated version. I'm happy with both of them, which is a good feeling (that you don't always get as a designer to be honest). Also, Lisa, who is a very great person, came by my studio one time right after Windy had been rejected for something or other, and she gave me a very good book rejection pep talk. You need those pep talks when you're starting out.
And that's all about The Weather!
Oh my goodness! Two of my book designs were nominated for this year's best 50 Books / 50 Covers presented by the American Institute of Graphic Arts. I am genuinely very surprised about this. But here's to nice surprises.
mixing table in the ink lab, hemlock printers
Wild Berries by Julie Flett is hot of the press. I feel very lucky to have worked on the design. These are just little details from the hardcover and endpapers. I will have to post some more about this soon. The book comes in two editions, each about a little boy going berry-picking with his grandmother. One is in English and in n-dialect Cree Cumberland House and the other, Pakwa che Menisu, is set in n-dialect Cree (Cross Lake, Norway House area) in syllabics. N-dialect Cree is also known as Swampy Cree.
I've been slowly collecting a little information about Cree as I work on some projects set in various dialects. I still understand only a tiny little fraction of what there is to know. Someday soon, when I find the time, I will do a dedicated post on Cree type, partly as a typographic reference tool for my future self. Promoting Aboriginal languages should be something for all Canadians to work towards. I'd really welcome bringing dialects into the school system. How can we teach children any culture without language?
One of the essays in my 2nd year Typography class is FT Marinetti's Distruction of Syntax. I've always had mixed feelings about Marinetti.
Last year one of my students pulled a beautiful segment from it:
...to represent the life of a blade of grass, I say, 'Tomorrow I'll be greener.'
I feel I'd only spoil that with an image, so there it is. Isn't it lovely? This is the full quote for context: The imagination without strings, and words-in-freedom, will bring us to the essence of material. As we discover new analogies between distant and apparently contrary things, we will endow them with an ever more intimate value. Instead of humanizing animals, vegetables, and minerals (an outmoded system) we will be able to animalize, vegetize, mineralize, electrify, or liquefy our style, making it live the life of material. For example, to represent the life of a blade of grass, I say, ‘Tomorrow I’ll be greener.’
This weekend Auggie & I went to a launch for Little You, a new board book byRichard Van Camp and illustrated by Julie Flett. It's a beautiful book, and very heartfelt and sweet. The book is put out by Orca Books and designed by Orca's head designer, Teresa Bubela. (I think she made a great choice in inviting Julie to illustrate this book, it's turned out to be super lovely, so well done her, too.) Collage Collage has prints from the book for sale as well, though I don't think they are yet up on their web site for viewing. The kids made collage crickets and fireflies with masses and masses of googly eyes and ate pink-iced moon biscuits! Smash hit all around.
Pantone 345U + Yellow 012
The Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design sent out their 2012 winners this week, which includes When I was Small in the children's category which I designed for Simply Read Books. When I was Small is part of The Henry Books series by Sara O'Leary, and illustrated by Julie Morstad. I feel very lucky to have been a part of their project.
I really appreciate all the effort that the Alcuin Society does to support book design in Canada — we are small community. Two other Simply Read books were recognized for design, including Lily Loves by super-talented Sarah Gillingham, which is very sweet. I want to picture it here, but I wouldn't want to confuse anyone — I can't take credit for that lovely design ^_^
A beautiful app from the Centre Pompidou for Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec. Sketches and models — this is for me and Auggie, he was very excited about some drawings we saw of theirs in the jrp ringier catalogue. via bouroullec.com.
How To by Julie Morstad is back from press and it looks amazing. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to design this project. Julie Morstad's work gets stronger and stronger. It's inspiring to watch her body of work grow. Auggie loves this book and even read it to me. I love the simplicity of the theme and of course the illustrations.Read More
A few years ago I designed a series of magazines for La Rampa publications. These were large format travel, culture & lifestyle magazines featuring beautiful photography by Chantal James (also the editor-in-chief). Now that it's so easy to publish online, I've put the full magazines up on issuu: Haiti Cherie, Cuba La Perla and Brasil Vai com Deus. I put these up on request of the publisher.