We’ve had a few books on our desk recently that we’ve been meaning to shout about.
Sing Statistics is the independent press set up by designer Jez Burrows and illustrator Lizzy Stewart. You Are The Friction is their fourth book following I Am The Friction (2008), We Are The Friction (2009), and Reverence Library, Vol. One (2011).
It was actually published at the beginning of 2014, but we only recently picked it up at Beach London (a small gallery just off Brick Lane) and it’s an absolute belter.
It features twelve stories inspired by twelve illustrations, and then twelve illustrations inspired by twelve stories. Short story collections can leave you feeling a little empty – like you’ve been grazing on junk food rather than having a really hearty meal. But this collection is varied and delicious – like the very best tapas, if you’ll excuse us extending that food metaphor just a little too far.
It’s a chronological taster of the work of seventy five leading graphic designers / graphic design studios from right around the world during the twentieth century. A lot of the names you’ll probably know (Abram Games, Paul Rand, Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, Peter Saville, Stefan Sagmeister) but the reach is wide enough to pull in a fair few you may not. Each designer / studio gets a double page spread, just enough to whet your appetite to head off and find out more.
There’s a wealth of fantastic work on display – we particularly like Giovanni Pintori’s work for Olivetti.
Each spread also has a condensed timeline showing the highlights from each designer’s career.
As Caroline mentions in the introduction, there’s a glaring disparity between the number of male and female designers. Unfortunately, graphic design as a profession was largely dominated by men for many decades, but fortunately that’s changed in recent years, and it seems certain that the follow up to this book will have more balance.
You can win a copy of the book over on the Grafik site at the moment (the deadline’s 21 September 2015).
Last but not least, The Little Book of Typographic Ornament, also from Laurence King, will be published later this month.
A rich resource for plundering, the book features ornaments taken from 18th Century type foundry specimen books.
Typographic ornaments were decorative embellishments that could be set at the same time as metal type by a printer. They were available in various forms: rules (uninterrupted straight lines), borders (repeated decorative designs), and printers flowers (or fleurons). They could be used individually, or combined together in elaborate patterns.
Author David Jury lifts the book from just being a basic resource with a concise but thoughtful introduction, and short pieces preceding each section of the book.
You can download complete a zip file of the ornaments from the Laurence King website using a code in the back of the book. Each image is saved as a 1200dpi bitmap – most of them at a fairly decent size.