Archive for the ‘Book Design’ Category

The F-Word, Manifested

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

In a period of angry frustration at his native Newfoundland – “… what cripples the vast majority of our culture and society here is the fact that we dont quite know what to be angry about. We never know where to throw the punch.” – and inspired by a
t-shirt f-ing the many icons of New York City, writer and performer Joel Thomas Hynes sat down to write his own.

The rest, as they say, is history: “… I got a little carried away. Suddenly I was writing a quilt. Maybe a sail for a boat. Maybe a manifesto.” His reworked piece wound up on stage, at a 2006 fundraiser for the Resource Centre for the Arts in St John’s. Recorded (but not broadcast) by the CBC – “And f*** the CBC for not having the nuts to put this on the radio,” reads the final line in the revised work – God Help Thee: A Manifesto first appeared in print, with an accompanying postscript, in the Fall 2008 issue of Riddle Fence, and later in Maisonneuve Magazine. Very little escapes Hynes’ expletive-laced wrath, which reads both as backlash against the idyllic quaintness of Newfoundland tourism campaigns, and ode to a place both home and heart.

In June 2011, Running the Goat Books and Broadsides published the manifesto in chapbook form in a limited edition of 375, which promptly sold out: hand typeset (an entertaining challenge, given the unprecedented number of “F”s and “k”s), letterpress printed, hand tinted and hand sewn.

Featuring impeccable wood engravings by Abigail Rorer, this perfectly packaged diatribe is now in its second printing and is available at Swipe for just $29.95 – plenty of f*** for your buck. (2011; 2nd printing 2012: Running the Goat Books and Broadsides; ISBN 9780986611322)

Word on the street is that the book’s profanity-decorated watermark-effect pages will soon be available in notebook form… We’ll keep you posted.

Oh, and if you like your swearing live, you can download an audio version of God Help Thee from the Rattling Books website.

The Typographic Grid: Essential Framework or Elegant Prison?

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The layout grid, in its modern conception, has its origins with a group of Swiss graphic designers and educators working in the early postwar era. Ironically, while the grid was intended to create a modern system of layout flexible enough to accommodate type and image together, and to organize more complex textual hierarchies, it is firmly grounded in the structure and limitations of metal type composition. It could be argued that the enduring success of the ‘International Typographic Style’, as the methods of the Zürich and Basel Schools came to be known, has as much to do with the conventionalized visual vocabulary the typographic grid has imposed on Twentieth-Century publication design as with any inherent superiority of the approach.

In common with another mainstay of the International Typographic Style, the typeface Helvetica, the popularity of the grid approach has followed something of a typical pendulum motion, wherein a once-revolutionary idea becomes mainstream, spawns a backlash, only to be rediscovered by a new generation and readopted with uncritical reverence. For anyone who has been working as a graphic designer for more than a decade, the grid carries unfortunate associations with corporate culture – the graphic equivalent to the ubiquitous office cubicle. And as such, the sight of a psychedelic rave poster that appears to have been designed by Max Bill is simultaneously amusing and vaguely disturbing.

Grid Systems in Graphic Design / Raster Systeme für die Visuele Gestaltung, 4th Edition
? 1961 (1996): Josef Müller-Brockmann

Originally published in 1961, this seminal work on the subject, by the renowned Swiss graphic designer and professor at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich, covers the process of grid development and the application of grids in modern publication design. A Bibliographic 100 title. (1996: Verlag Niggli; ISBN 9783721201451)

$99.95

The Typographic Grid
? 2000: Hans Rudolf Bosshard

Published in 2000, also by Swiss publisher Verlag Niggli, Brosshard’s sophisticated treatment can be considered a follow-up to Josef Müller-Brockmann’s Grid Systems and is, in many ways, the (obsessive compulsive) last word on the subject. Bosshard, also a professor at the Kunstgewerbeschule and a contemporary of Müller-Brockmann, looks at increasingly complex grids, discusses the limits of the system, and analyses a variety of salient examples from the International Style cannon. (2000: Verlag Niggli; ISBN 3721203402)

$129.95

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Typographie: A Manual of Design, 7th Edition
? 1967 (2001): Emil Ruder

Originally published in 1967 and now in its sixth edition, this classic textbook of the new typography is based on the curriculum that Ruder developed as head of the departments of typography and graphic design at the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule in Basel (posts subsequently held by Armin Hofmann and Wolfgang Weingart). This edition features an introduction by Ruder’s like-minded friend Adrian Frutiger. (2001: Verlag Niggli; ISBN 978372120043)

$129.95

For a thorough look at the origins and influence of Swiss graphic design in the Ruder, Hofmann, Müller-Brockmann era, see: Swiss Graphic Design: The Origins and Growth of an International Style, 1920-1965 by Richard Hollis, available, not surprisingly, at Swipe, for $62.95. (2006: Yale Art; ISBN 0300106769)

The Grid: A Modular System for the Design and Production of Newpapers, Magazines, and Books
? 1978: Allen Hurlburt

Published more than 30 years ago, this is the first and most orthodox English-language introduction to the grid as a publication design tool, and has served as the standard (hopelessly overpriced) textbook for several generations of graphic designers. (1978: John Wiley; ISBN 9780471289234)

$89.95

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Designer and the Grid
? 2005: Julia Thrift & Lucienne Roberts

One of the first post-Macintosh reassessments of the grid, The Designer and the Grid examines the work of several leading (at the time) contemporary graphic designers, including Simon Esterson, Vaughan Oliver and Ellen Upton, to explore its renewed relevance in the digital era. (2005: RotoVision; ISBN 2880468140)

$41.95

Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop
? 2005: Timothy Samara

This very popular title uses case studies to explore the potential and limits of grid-based design. Projects are arranged according to function and structure, and the featured designers provide commentary on their rationale and design processes. (2005: Rockport; ISBN 1592531253)

$34.95

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Layout Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Using Grids
? 2009: Beth Tondreau

A relatively simplified introduction to grid layout, this practical guide identifies 100 typographic and layout variables, from typeface selection to optimum leading and optimum measure, that contribute to the success of most grid-based projects. (2009: Rockport Publishers; ISBN 9781592534722)

$43.95

Basics Design 07: Grids
? 2008: Gavin Ambrose & Paul Harris

An accessible, highly visual introduction, this seventh volume in the admirable Design Basics series focuses on ordering the page or screen through the effective use of the grid. (2008: AVA Publishing; ISBN 9782940373772)

$34.95

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Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition
? 2001: Kimberly Elam

Using a clever and attractive system of vellum overlays, Geometry of Design illustrates a range of classic and modern proportioning systems and demonstrates their application in modern graphic design, industrial design and architecture. (2001: Princeton Architectural Press; ISBN 1568982496)

Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type
? 2004: Kimberly Elam

With Grid Systems, Elam again uses transparent overlays to make visible the hidden structures of a series of modern graphic layouts. This intuitive form of presentation makes the grid system immediately comprehensible, making this an excellent companion to a more detailed textbook treatment. (2004: Princeton Architectural Press; ISBN 1568984650)

Typographic Systems, Rules for Organizing Type
? 2007: Kimberly Elam

Typographic Systems goes beyond the Basel School grid to explore a variety of alternative, rule-based, typographic layout systems (i.e., random, radial, modular or bilateral). In common with Elam’s previous books, this study is disappointingly brief; however, it is currently the only presentation of these ideas that we have to offer and, as such, is essential student reading. (2007: Princeton Architectural Press; ISBN 1568986874)

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Grid Index, Includes CD-Rom
? 2009: Carsten Nicolai

Not strictly a ‘grid systems’ book, Grid Index attempts to codify the range of possible two-dimensional patterns, from the humble square grid to the most complex irregular and unpredictable lattice. Similar to the out-of-print and highly sought-after Neubau Modul, the book features an accompanying CD-Rom containing all of the catalogued patterns as editable vector graphic files free for use in your own layouts. (2009: Die Gestalten Verlag; ISBN 9783899552416)

$74.95

The Grid Book
? 2009: Hannah B. Higgins

For those looking to find deeper meaning in the utilitarian grid, Higgins examines the cultural significance of 10 historical antecedents to this Modernist mainstay. This is a highbrow celebration of the best of the square and the repeating: the brick, the tablet, the gridiron city plan, the map, musical notation, the ledger, the screen, moveable type, the manufactured box and the net. (2009: MIT Press; ISBN 9780262512404)

$34.95

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To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: info@swipe.com.

Bibio: -graphic, -mania, -phile, etc.

Friday, January 15th, 2010

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Bibliographic: 100 Classic Graphic Design Books
? 2009: Jason Godfrey

Let us begin by admitting that it is impossible for this book to have been sufficiently good for us not to have found reason to criticize it and, conversely, that the book would have had to have been quite terrifically bad for us not to be thrilled to see it published. We sell books. Specifically, we sell graphic design books. Write a history of live bait and Ned “Dew Worm” Johnson* is gonna love it. And yes, we love Bibliographic: 100 Classic Graphic Design Books. In his introduction Godfrey is quick to point out that this is not intended to be a history of Twentieth Century graphic design nor should it be taken as exhaustive. And, while one might take issue with some of the titles included (Chuck Anderson’s Old Advertising Cuts from A–Z) and be offended by (or feel smug about) the absence of one’s personal favourite (Otl Aicher’s Typographie), there are selections here that demonstrate an unexpected level of thoughtful sophistication. The sight of the Morgan Press wood type samples should be enough to encourage any typophile to forgive nearly any other omission (though, as Canadians, it’s hard to accept that Carl Dair’s Design with Type didn’t even make the Further Readings list!). (2009: Laurence King Publishing; ISBN  9781856695923)
* A real guy (as a teenager I tried picking worms to make pocket money) – David

$62.50

OK, so here’s the list (*asterisks mark the titles that are in print and available from Swipe). Scoff away!

Typography
American Line Type Book
Spécimen Général: Tome 1

Die Neue Typographie
, Jan Tschichold*
Modern and Historical Typography, Imre Reiner
The Letter as a Work of Art, Dr Gerard Knuttel
Manuale Typographicum, Hermann Zapf
The Encyclopaedia of Type Faces, W. Turner Berry, A.F. Johnson & W.P. Jaspert*
Alphabet Thesaurus Nine Thousand
An Atlas of Typeforms, James Sutton & Alan Bartram
Wood 2
American Wood Type: 1828–1900, Rob Roy Kelly
Letraset
A Constructed Roman Alphabet, David Lance Goines
Igarashi Alphabets, Takenobu Igarashi
London’s Handwriting, Colin Banks
Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface, Lars Müller*

Sourcebooks
Handbook of Designs and Devices
, Clarence P. Hornung
Printed Ephemera
, John Lewis
Semiologie Graphique, Jacques Bertin
Letter and Image, Robert Massin

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Trade Marks & Symbols, Yasaburo Kuwayama
Label Design, Claude Humbert
Symbol Sourcebook, Henry Dreyfuss*
Handbook of Pictorial Symbols, Rudolf Modley*
Words and Buildings, Jock Kinneir
The Dictionary of Visual Language, Philip Thompson & Peter Davenport
Old Advertising Cuts from A–Z, Charles S. Anderson
Today’s Hieroglyphs, Hans-Rudolf Lutz*
Alphabets & Other Signs, Julian Rothenstein & Mel Gooding (editors)

Instructional
Layout in Advertising
, W.A. Dwiggins
Mise en Page
, Alfred Tolmer
Colour in Advertising
, Joseph Binder
Language of Vision
, György Kepes
Vision in Motion
, László Moholy-Nagy
The Graphic Artist and His Design Problems
, Josef Müller-Brockmann
Typography
, Aaron Burns
Typography: Basic Principles
, John Lewis
Graphic Design Manual
, Armin Hofmann*

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Visual Presentation of Invisible Processes, Anton Stankowski
Typography
, Emil Ruder*
A Sign Systems Manual, Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes
Grid Systems in Graphic Design
, Josef Müller-Brockmann*
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward R. Tufte*
Notes on Book Design, Derek Birdsall*

Histories
The New Graphic Art, Karl Gerstner & Markus Kutter
Functional Graphic Design in the 20’s, Eckhard Neumann

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Pioneers of Modern Typography, Herbert Spencer
Images of an Era
, John Garrigan, Margaret Cogswell, Milton Glaser, Dore Ashton & Alan Gowans
The Language of Graphics, Edward Booth-Clibborn & Daniele Baroni
A History of Graphic Design, Philip B. Meggs*
Bauhaus: Drucksachen, Typografie, Reklame, Gerd Fleischmann
Typography: When Who How, Friedrich Friedl, Nicolaus Ott & Bernard Stein
Graphic Styles, Steven Heller & Seymour Chwast*
Graphic Design: A Concise History, Richard Hollis*

Anthologies
Seven Designers Look at Trademark Design, Egbert Jacobson (editor)
Polski Plakat Filmowy, Tadeusz Kowalski (editor)
Graphic Design: Visual Comparisons, Alan Fletcher, Colin Forbes & Bob Gill
Publicity and Graphic Design in the Chemical Industry, Hans Neuburg
Design Coordination and Corporate Image, F.H.K. Henrion & Alan Parkin
Graphis Diagrams, Walter Herdeg (editor)
Top Graphic Design, F.H.K. Henrion
The Liberated Page, Herbert Spencer (editor)
Typography Now, Rick Poynor & Edward Booth-Clibborn (editors)
Carouschka’s Tickets, Carouschka Streijffert & Peter Kihlgard

Monographs
Thoughts on Design
, Paul Rand
Esposizioni e Mostre
, Erberto Carboni
Visual Design in Action
, Ladislav Sutnar
Love and Joy about Letters
, Ben Shahn
Milton Glaser: G
raphic Design, Milton Glaser
The Graphic Design of Yusaku Kamekura, Yusaku Kamekura
Jan Tschichold: Typographer, Ruari McLean

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The Art of Advertising, George Lois & Bill Pitts
The Complete Tadanori Yokoo, Tadanori Yokoo
‘Walk Away René’, George Hardie & Storm Thorgerson
Living by Design, The Partners of Pentagram & Peter Gorb (editor)
Forget All the Rules You Ever Learned about Graphic Design. Including the Ones in this Book., Bob Gill
Lo Studio Boggeri: 1933–1981, Bruno Monguzzi (editor)
Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art, Paul Rand
Herb Lubalin: Art Director, Graphic Designer and Typographer, Gertrude Snyder & Alan Peckolick
Cassandre, Henri Mouron
The Left-Handed Designer, Seymour Chwast
Dorfsman & CBS, Dick Hess & Marion Muller
The Art of Graphic Design, Bradbury Thompson
The Graphic Language of Neville Brody, Neville Brody & Jon Wozencroft*
Brodovitch, Andy Grundberg
Siegfried Odermatt & Rosmarie Tissi: Graphic Design, Siegfried Odermatt, Rosmarie Tissi with Jack Waser & Werner M. Wolf (editors)
Nova: 1965–1975, David Hillman, Harri Peccinotti & David Gibbs (editor)
The End of Print, Lewis Blackwell & David Carson
Printed Matter, Robin Kinross, Jaap van Triest & Karel Martens (editors)*

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Wim Crouwel: Mode en Module, Frederike Huygen & Hugues C. Boekraad
I Am Almost Always Hungry, Cahan & Associates*
Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist, Peter Hall & Michael Bierut (editors)*
Weingart: Typography, Wolfgang Weingart
Maeda @ Media, John Maeda*
The Art of Looking Sideways, Alan Fletcher*
Sagmeister: Made You Look, Peter Hall*
Make it Bigger, Paula Scher*
Designed by Peter Saville, Emily King (editor)
8vo: On the Outside, Mark Holt & Hamish Muir*
Robert Brownjohn: Sex and Typography, Emily King*

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To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: info@swipe.com.

No Nation is an Island (Even if It’s an Island)

Friday, August 28th, 2009

The aesthetic congruity between Japanese and Scandinavian design is self-evident. Both traditions hold a similar attitude toward nature and natural form, both tend to minimalism and share a reverence for craftsmanship. In the field of architecture there was a reciprocal influence between the cultures throughout the Twentieth Century, with Alvar Aalto, who is essentially revered by modern Japanese architects, being particularly vocal in his appreciation of traditional Japanese architecture and design. In graphic and pattern design, the Japaneque is very much a part of the design vocabulary of Marimekko, while contemporary Japanese designer Yurio Seki has collaborated with Swedish craft maven Lotta Jansdotter and is responsible for the design of the first monograph on the work of renowned graphic designer Olle Eksell to be published outside of his native Sweden.

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Yurio Seki: Japanese Graphic Designer
? 2008: Yurio Seki

This is the first comprehensive monograph on the work of Yurio Seki and her brand Salvia. Seki is one of the most popular graphics designers in Japan with an instantly recognizable style and palette. Along with a complete presentation of the Salvia pattern and product designs, this book features an extensive selection of her book designs and other print work. Unfortunately, as this is a specially imported domestic publication from Pie Books, all text is in Japanese. (2008: PIE Books; ISBN 9784894446496)

$49.95

Olle Eksell: Swedish Graphic Designer
? 2007: Olle Eksell

Olle Eksell (1918-2007) was a pioneering figure in Swedish graphic design.Typical of the industry in Sweden, Eksell maintained a diverse practice, working in illustration, corporate identity and editorial design, fabric and textile design, and as a design educator and writer. However, it was his advocacy of the modern conception of graphic design and his 1964 textbook Design-Economy that were most influential in the development of the industry in Sweden. His work is uniformly subtle, beautiful and gentle. Another domestic publication from Pie Books with the majority of its text in Japanese. (2007: PIE Books; ISBN 9784894445475)

$44.95

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Alvar Aalto: Through the Eyes of Shigeru Ban
? 2007: Shigeru Ban, Juhani Pallasmaa & Tomoko Sato

Based on a 2007 exhibition by the same name held at the Barbican Art Gallery in London, this beautifully produced catalogue examines the development of Aalto’s architectural style, reproducing models, drawings, photographs and artifacts from 14 of his key projects. Curated by renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, who, despite the generational and geographical divide, is perhaps the most most legitimate heir to Aalto’s architectural vision. (2007: Black Dog Publishing; ISBN 9781904772644)

$54.00

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To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: info@swipe.com.

I Know She Should Be an Inspiration But, Damn, on Some Level She Really Makes You Want to Quit. Not Quit to Reinvent Yourself, But Just Quit Designing Altogether and Go Work as a Desk Clerk at a Sleazy Motel or Something.

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

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Let’s begin with a bio lifted outright from the credit line of an article Bantjes wrote for the AIGA website (which, in the nature of these things, we will assume is autobiographical):

Marian Bantjes is a designer, artist and writer working internationally from her base on a small island off the west coast of Canada, near Vancouver. She was trained as a book typesetter (1984–1994) and was a straight-up graphic designer from 1994–2003. But it is her more recent, highly personal, obsessive and sometimes strange graphic work that has since brought her international recognition.

If you know her work already then you’ll know what you think of it and whether you want to buy this wonderful little book or not. If you don’t know her work, check out her web-site. Take your time. When you’re done then pop back here (if you can even remember where you started from). We’ll just insert all the price and bibliographic information here in the meantime.

Designer and Design 066: Marian Bantjes
? 2008: Marian Bantjes cdnmapleleaf, Émilie Lamy & Debbie Millman

Marian Bantjes beautiful work integrates calligraphic typography and illustration with astounding originality. So idiosyncratic that it brings to mind everything from the gestural calligraphy of Martin Andersch to Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur to the work of contemporary Iranian designers like Mehdi Saeedi. (2008: Pyramyd Editions; ISBN 9782350171265)

$32.95

Eye Magazine 72
? 2009: John Walters

$37.50

OK, so, she’s insanely talented, obviously highly committed to her craft and uncompromising … and has a career vector so extraordinary* that it flies in the face of virtually all design industry convention (and possibly, if you’re a struggling Canadian designer, your assumptions about the nature of the universe). Reading what Sagmeister, Bierut, Millman, and all have to say about her, it seems like it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. And yes, Bantjes is always very thankful for the support she has received from colleagues and rightly calls attention to her hard work and an undeniably brave decision to give up her traditional design practice to pursue her passion. Seriously though, looking at her website it’s hard not to want to pinch her to see if she is dreaming (and, by extension, that we are all just figments of her nocturnal imagination). A $77,000 Chopard diamond pendant? Really?

Bantjes mentions in her cover story in the current issue of Eye Magazine (oh, did we forget to mention that she has the cover story in the current issue of Eye Magazine?) her regret at not having given up her design practice sooner, but, six months earlier, or later and who knows what might have happened? Chaos theory posits that, when initial conditions are just right, the beating of a butterfly’s wing can start a hurricane. More commonly, however, the butterfly barely succeeds in ruffling a ladybug’s hair. Congratulations Marian but, for everyone’s sake, please don’t pinch yourself.

* I just read the Eye interview and discovered Walters begins with an almost identical observation (he uses “trajectory” rather than vector – which is the word I was looking for in the first place). Damned if I’m going to rewrite now, though it occurs to me that Bantjes is likely pretty sick of the how surprised everyone seems to be by her success. – David

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To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: info@swipe.com.

Children’s Books by Graphic Designers, Part 3: Munari and Mari

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

In the late 1960s and earily 1970s Bruno Munari and Enzo Mari produced a series of children’s books and products for Italian manufacturer Danese, who otherwise specialized in fancy desk accessories and stylish ashtrays (a rather Italian product mix). Despite this association, the two designers are reputed to have rather contrasting personalities.

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Bruno Munari is one of the most universally beloved figures in Italian art and design. Having designed and illustrated children’s books for decades, Munari began, in the 1960, to travel the country giving workshops on art and creative thinking to young children and their teachers. While none of us at Swipe ever met Munari, several of our Italian customers of a certain age relate fond grammar-school memories of “Uncle Bruno”.

With Mari we do have some direct experience. In 1999, after having spent a day being shown around Toronto by a Design Exchange staffer, the diminutive Mari marching up to the counter at Swipe and announced unceremoniously: “I used to think Canada was the country of dreams, now I know it is the country of shit.” A second Mari story come by way of a customer who, while attending a party at the flagship Alessi shop on Corso Matteotti in Milan, noticed a man sitting all alone in a corner. When he asked his host who the sad looking gentleman was, he was told: “Ahh, that is Mari. Nobody likes Mari.”

What is most astounding about Mari’s reputation as a world-class grump is that he is, in fact, responsible for some of the most lyrical, joyful and empathetic pedagogical products ever designed. His 16 Animali and 16 Pesci puzzles, designed in 1957 and produced by Danese throughout the 1970s, are wondrous objects, equally delightful to any three-year-old as to the most critical aficionado of industrial design. Anyhow, perhaps Mari’s frankness is exactly what the design world needs today. At a recent talk hosted by the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco, Mari stated flatly: “Now, people frequently want to buy stupid things, but good design is not a copy of what people want.” Damn.

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Nella Notte Buia / In the Darkness of the Night
? 1956: Bruno Munari

Arguably Munari’s most famous children’s book, In the Darkness of the Night is a poignant and touching voyage through darkness. First published in 1956, the book has become a landmark in children’s publishing for its tactile and interactive qualities. (1996: Corraini Editore; ISBN 9788875700799)

$ 48.95

Bruno Munari’s ABC
? 1960: Bruno Munari

Munari’s ABC was originally published exclusively for the American book market in 1960, but its success led to numerous reprints in multiple languages, including his native Italian. Beautifully illustrated in Munari’s iconic style, ABC plays with whimsical combinations of text and image to create a playful introduction to the alphabet. (2003: Chronicle Books; ISBN 0811854639)

$ 25.95

The Circus in the Mist
? 1968: Bruno Munari

As with In the Darkness of the Night, the elaborately produced and beautifully illustrated The Circus in the Mist is a wonderful book for children and adults alike. With a range of paper stocks, and the creative use and vellum and die-cuts, Munari captures the feeling of traversing Milan’s characteristic fog only to arrive at a circus dress rehearsal. (1996: Corraini Editore; ISBN 9788887942972)

$ 43.95

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Adapted from Munari’s famed Playing with Art workshops, this wonderful series for older children playfully explores the relationship between perception and visual representation. In Munari’s view, careful observation leads to liberated self-expression and actually connects the young artist to the essential nature of the subject. Make art, not pictures!

Drawing a Tree
? 1978: Bruno Munari

“When drawing a tree always remember that every branch is more slender than the one that came before. Also note that the trunk splits into two branches, then those branches are split into two, then those two, and so on, and so on, until you have a full tree, be it straight, squiggly, curved up, curved down, or bent sideways by the wind.” – BM (2000: Edizioni Corraini; ISBN 888794276)

Drawing the Sun
? 1980: Bruno Munari

“When drawing the sun, try to have on hand coloured paper, chalk, felt-tip markers, crayons, pencils, ballpoint pens. Also remember that sunset and dawn are the back and front of the same phenomenon: when you are looking at the sunset, the people over there are looking at the dawn.” – BM (2000: Edizioni Corraini; ISBN 8887942773)

$19.95 each

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Più e Mino / Plus and Minus
? 1970: Bruno Munari & Giovanni Belgrano

A unique visual game for children, Plus and Minus consists of 72 images printed on opaque and transparent cards, which can be superimposed to create landscapes, vignettes and narrative scenes.

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As can be expected of Munari’s games, there are no rules and the game is only limited by the child’s imagination. This new edition of Plus Minus has been carefully reissued by Corraini, remaining completely faithful to the 1970 original. (2008: Edizioni Corraini; ISBN 8033532910020)

$ 74.95

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Il Gioco delle Favole / The Fable Game
? 1965: Enzo Mari

The Fable Game is among Mari’s most beloved projects and is one of the high points in the history of design for children. Similar to the Eames’ House of Cards, The Fable Game consists of interlocking cards printed with characters from Aesop and La Fontaine, intended to encourage children to develop narratives based on the ‘intersections’ of the cards. Each new card combination brings together different characters and suggest a new story. (2004: Edizioni Corraini; ISBN 888794296x)

$ 38.95

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Drawing Cards 1: On Faces spacer2: A Train-Load Of… spacer3: Landscapes
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? 1978: Enzo Mari

Another extraordinary concept piece from Mari, Drawing Cards anticipated Taro Gomi’s Doodles series by three decades. Each cardstock folder contains five long strips of thick drawing paper partially printed with images or graphic elements intended to provide a point of departure for young artists who would prefer to draw rather than simply colour. (2008: Corraini Editore; ISBNs 9788886250672; 9788886250665; 9788886250696; 9788886250702; 9788886250689)

$14.95 each set

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Il Posto dei Giochi / The Place of Games
? 1967: Enzo Mari

Perhaps Mari’s key insight was his recognition that children are best left to imagine for themselves. With his die-cut cardboard play structure Il Posto dei Giochi, or The Place of Games, Mari provides a subtle suggestion of fantastic environments, leaving the child’s imagination to fill in the rest. Unfortunately, Il Posto dei Giochi is produced in Italy in such small quantities that it is priced more as a design object than as a child’s toy.

$ 149.95

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To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: info@swipe.com.

What they wanted most was a ‘duck’, not a ‘decorated shed’. So I gave them a ‘duck’. I thought: ‘Boy, this is wonderful material. I’m not gonna let (Venturi and Scott Brown) screw it.’ Hah! You should have seen it! Well, they hated it! I loved it. – MC

Monday, June 8th, 2009

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Muriel Cooper (1926-1994) is a regrettably overlooked figure in the history of graphic and interactive design. Her designs for the MIT University Press, which include its trademark, number some five hundred books, nearly a hundred of which were recognized with professional distinction. Though a monograph of Cooper’s work has yet to be realized (get on it MIT!) designer David Reinfurt, in collaboration with the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, has prepared the wonderful, online-only This Stands as a Sketch for the Future PDF which only begins to suggest the extent of her tremendous influence.

Bauhaus, Pictured at the MIT Press Archive 1970.

Bauhaus: Weimar, Dessau, Berlin, Chicago
? 1969: Hans M. Wingler

Bauhaus: Weimar, Dessau, Berlin, Chicago, winner of an AIGA Book Design Award in 1969 is arguably, Cooper’s best known work. Weighing in at fourteen pounds and 670 pages, Bauhaus is a staggering experiment in publication design with its innovative use of grids and recycled full colour plates. Edited and compiled by Hans M. Wingler, Bauhaus stands alone as the definitive text of the activities of the German design institution. (1969: MIT Press; ISBN 026223033x)

$299.95

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Learning from Las Vegas, Revised Edition
? 1977: Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour

Less known however, is Cooper’s 1972 design for Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour’s Learning from Las Vegas. In what Edward Tufte would describe as an “escape from flatland,” Cooper’s edition literally animates the maps, charts, and other graphic material featured in Learning from Las Vegas. This stands in stark contrast to the better-known paperback edition, which, for economic reasons, omitted nearly all of Cooper’s experimental layouts. The difference between the two editions is so great that an Ohio State professor felt it necessary to write an entire book about the two.

I Am A Monument
? 2008: Aron Vinegar

Aron Vinegar’s I Am A Monument explores the tension between Muriel Cooper’s 1972 design of Learning from Las Vegas and its subsequent revision in 1977 by Denise Scott Brown. The authors, particularly Scott Brown, were so incensed by Cooper’s design that plans to publish a second edition of the book were already in the works before the printing of the first edition. (1977: The MIT Press; ISBN 9780262720069; 2008: The MIT Press; ISBN 9780262220828)

While Cooper’s first edition now fetches thousands of dollars in the antiquarian book trade, Venturi and Scott Brown’s paperback can be had for under thirty dollars. If however, you’re looking to approximate the look and feel of the first edition, may we suggest a parallel reading alongside the very popular Las Vegas Studio, featured in an earlier Swipe post. Las Vegas Studio includes a selection of the photographic research collected for the publication of Learning from Las Vegas. These photographs were unceremoniously omitted from the second edition, but are here beautifully reproduced, with essays by Hilar Stadler and Martino Stierli. The Rem Koolhaas contributions don’t hurt, either. This title is the sort that is unlikely to be reprinted, so please stop by Built to have a look before it disappears! We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Learning from Las Vegas, Revised Editon: $31.95
I Am A Monument: $39.95

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To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: info@swipe.com.

Noise Five (Signal-Free Graphic Design)

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

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NoiseFive
? 2008: Attik

Founded in Huddersfield, England in 1986 by Simon Needham and James Sommerville with a £2,000 grant from the Prince’s Trust, ATTIK has since grown into a multi-discplinary brand development company with 200 designers employed in five studios on three continents. ATTIK’s success can be traced to two key projects: the publication, beginning in 1995, of a series of self-initiated, experimental design books with the shared title Noise; and its revolutionary work for Toyota in launching the groundbreaking youth brand, Scion, in 2002.

It’s been 7 years since the release of Noise Four and, with the acquisition of ATTIK in 2007 by Dentsu Inc., the world’s largest advertising agency, we feared that Four would be the last. Thankfully we were wrong. Three years in the making, NoiseFive is the most elaborate production yet in a series noted for extravagance, with nine paper stocks, 30 spot colours and a staggering range of print finishes, from foil blocking and laser cutting to heat-sensitive ink and scratch-and-sniff. In addition to experimental designs contributed by ATTIK’s UK, New York, San Francisco and Santa Monica offices, the book offers a detailed retrospective of the agency’s work and profiles of its principals. Limited to 1,000 copies in distribution, Swipe is the exclusive Canadian source for highly anticipated publication. (2009: Attik; ISBN 9780955883002)

$129.95

Shipping is available across Canada and to the United States (where, in all likelihood, the book will sell out prior to release). Along the same lines, Pentagram Marks, which sold out immediately worldwide, is currently trading at somewhere around US $1,000 a copy on Amazon and E-Bay. Swipe sold all 20 copies reserved for Canada and now has a couple of customers willing to resell their copies at US $500. If you are genuinely interested in acquiring Pentagram Marks at this price, please e-mail us.

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To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: info@swipe.com.

… simply the decent setting of type and the intelligent layout of pictures based on a rigorous study of content – DB

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Much has been made of Jan Tschichold’s time at Penguin and his influence on post-war British book design. However, modernist ideas and asymmetric layout only gradually supplanted Victorian and Edwardian design principles (typified by the inexpensive Collins Classic or the prestige editions of A. & C. Black) and did so through the efforts of many British designers and educators. Of particular importance was a group associated with the Central School of Art and Design in London, chief among them was Anthony Froshaug, who, alongside Herbert Spencer and Edward Wright, shifted the focus of the school’s curriculum away from the lettering tradition toward typography in the modern sense, focusing on legibility and a more austere approach, eschewing ornamentation in favour of clarity and subservience to content.

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Notes on Book Design

? 2004: Derek Birdsall

Among the most noteworthy of the Central School’s graduates of this period, Birdsall’s dedication to asymmetric layout, sympathetic use of grids, and flawless integration of text and image provide the clearest expression to the ideals of purity and structure inherent in Tschichold’s new conception of the book. Notes on Book Design presents 360 spreads from some 50 books, designed over a span of 40 years, ranging in scale from Penguin paperbacks to brilliant catalogues raisonné for the Yale Univeristy Press and recently, the complete redesign of The Church of England’s book of Common Worship. This is, quite simply, the most useful and inspiring book on non-fiction book design we have ever stocked. (2004: Yale University; ISBN 0300103476)

Derek Birdsall is also one of the coauthors of the lovely illustrated study Paul Rand: Modernist Designer.

Anthony Froshaug: Typography and Texts, Documents of a Life

? 2001: Robin Kinross, Editor

After Anthony Froshaug’s death in 1984 Robin Kinross was asked to help organize his archive, launching a project that would take Kinross more than 15 years to complete. Froshaug is renowned both as a designer and as an educator, first at the Central School, then at the storied Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm with Otl Aicher and finally at the Royal College of Art with John Lewis. An innovative approach to biography, this two volume book traces the life and work of England’s most passionate advocate of modernism in graphic design by presenting nearly 500 pages of original source documents, annotated by the editor. The first volume covers Froshaug’s work as a designer and printer and contains many of his writings on typography, the second volume provides day-to-day documents, from correspondence and personal notes to course outlines. (2001: Hyphen Press; ISBN 090725909x)

Pioneers of Modern Typography, Revised Edition

? 1969 (2004): Herbert Spencer & Rick Poynor

Originally published in 1969, Pioneers remains the only comprehensive English-language study of the multitude of twentieth-century avant-garde art movements in relation to the development of modern graphic design and typography. In the introduction Spencer describes the rationale for the work as follows:

Modern typography does not have its origins in the conventional printing industry. Its roots are entwined with those of twentieth-century painting, poetry and architecture, and it flowered quite suddenly and dramatically in the twenty years following the publication of Marinetti’s Futurist manifesto in 1909. – HS

Interestingly, in a review of Spencer’s work, reproduced in volume 2 of Anthony Froshaug: Typography and Texts, Documents of a Life, his Central School colleague seems less convinced of the influence of these movements:

What is not true, is to suggest that the random placing of letterforms, not ranged in lines, has anything to do with the proper business of typesetting, which is the arrangement of characters of constant body dimension from crown to sole of shoes, in words and sentences and phrases, divided according to the mode of their time – using the punctuation and syntax then accepted. – AF

(2004: MIT Press; ISBN 0262693038)

Unfortunately out-of-print is The Liberated Page, an anthology of articles drawn from Spencer’s ground-breaking journal Typographica.

Notes on Book Design: $64.95, now: $34.95
Anthony Froshaug: Typography and Texts, Documents of a Life: $92.95
Pioneers of Modern Typography, Revised Edition: $41.95

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To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: info@swipe.com.

Children’s Books by Graphic Designers, part 1: Paul and Ann Rand

Friday, February 20th, 2009

The recent reissue of several classic children’s books by notable graphic designers ties together a number of threads in contemporary consumer culture. It speaks to a level public awareness and respect for design not seen, perhaps, since these books were originally published. It also demonstrates the power of various internet forums to bring forgotten or subcultural products to wider audiences. In this case e-bay, abebooks, and a variety of blogs conspired to raise awareness of several long out-of-print children’s titles by the likes of Paul Rand, Bob Gill, Bruno Munari and Tomi Ungerer. Finally, it highlights the expectation of parents that products for their children harmonize with the aesthetic standards they set for the products they buy for themselves.

Of the four children’s books on which Paul and Ann Rand’s collaborated, two were reprinted by Chronicle Books of San Francisco in 2006 and now a third, I Know a Lot of Things, will be released this month. As one might expect, Paul Rand’s graphics are masterful, however Ann Rand’s texts are a delightful surprise, full of whimsical ideas and pleasantly fractured poetics.

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I Know a Lot of Things

? 1956: Paul & Ann Rand

The Rands’ first children’s book created for pioneering Harcourt Brace editor Margaret McEldery in 1956. Similar in concept to Ruth Krauss’ astounding Open House for Butterflys, Rand views consequential knowledge from a child’s perspective: “I know when I look in the mirror, what I see is me”. Winner of an AIGA Best Books award in 1957. (2009: Chronicle Books; ISBN 9780811866156)

Little 1

? 1962: Paul & Ann Rand

Ann Rand at her idiosyncratic best, Little 1 is simultaneously a number book and a story of alienation and friendship sure to resonate with kindergarden-aged children beginning to make their way in a larger social context. (2006: Chronicle Books; ISBN 0811850048)

Sparkle and Spin: A Book About Words

? 1957: Paul & Ann Rand

Again, a visually stunning Paul Rand design, in this case paired with Ann Rand’s engaging text exploring the rhythm and nuance of spoken language. (2006: Chronicle Books; ISBN 081185003x)

I Know a Lot of Things: $21.95
Little 1: $20.95
Sparkle and Spin: A Book About Words: $20.95

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To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: info@swipe.com.