Designers & Books Fair
A few days before Sandy hit, I got to attend the Designers & Books Fair. The fair was a whole weekend filled with talks by designers, book signings, an exhibition hall featuring some of the best design book publishers and their books, and more.
I spent a good few hours exploring books about fashion, graphic design, illustration, and architecture. What was most striking about the fair was how well the organizers brought the past, present, and future of books seamlessly together.
There were a few publishers and old book collectors selling and exhibiting first edition books, beautiful used books, and old prints. The Center for Book Arts had a table where they were showing off different book stitching methods. The Society of Scribes had many of their calligraphers on hand to write attendees’ names in different types of calligraphy. I had a nice conversation with a calligrapher who recognized my name and was giving me a history lesson on the Jewish origin of it. I also met Paul Vogel, who is a master book binder and still hand binds books using century old techniques. He is a fascinating man with a fascinating story and an awesome beard.
Then there was New York Public Library, showing their iPad app that had an impressive amount of curated digital content on it. I also talked to a self publishing company, Blurb, where anyone can write a book, upload it, and then get it beautifully published— pretty nifty.
Nick got to attend a talk by Pentagram. Here are some of his thoughts:
One of the events at the Designers & Books Fair was a bright and early Saturday morning talk titled ‘Book Design at Pentagram’. Each Pentagram partner chose a particular book in their career and spoke about the process and design of the book. Two of the partners were particularly inspiring.
DJ Stout spoke about the first book he designed 25 years ago for photographer Keith Carter titled ‘From Uncertain To Blue’. Stout was recently asked to redesign the book, and it created a great study to see how his skills, design decisions, and tastes have changed over the years to what they are now. There are not many chances in a designer’s career to get paid for doing the same project twice!
Paula Scher presented about the challenges involved when designing a book called MAPS which catalogues her own art. She told us about how strange and difficult it was to design a book about herself (a designer’s worst client is always themselves), the struggles of taking something intensely personal as her art to put it in a book for masses to see, and the surreal moment she found it on a display at the Gap with color matched scarves and sweaters.
It was a very inspiring morning, and great to meet and see such wonderful designers in one place.