Over at Design Observer, Rick Poyner takes a look at filmmaker Chris Marker’s book Commentaries. Poyner describes the book as “The volume collects the “commentaries” or scripts — effectively spoken essays — written by Marker for his earliest films.”

Commentaires presents the scripts of five films directed by Marker: Les statues meurent aussi (1953, co-directed with Alain Resnais), Dimanche à Pékin (1955), Lettre de Sibérie (1957), Description d’un combat (1960) and Cuba si (1961), as well as an unmade project, L’Amérique rêve (1959). In each case, Marker puts stills from the film into or alongside the text. It would be easy to take such plasticity for granted today, although this degree of integration of text and image in a film book, or any kind of small-format book for continuous reading rather than reference, is still unusual. At the time, it was a remarkable accentuation of the image in relation to the text. Marker uses wide fore-edge margins, and spaces between the paragraphs and other kinds of writing, such as song lyrics, to create open, dynamically organized layouts. The effect is to make all the elements appear to float in loosely placed, almost provisional arrangements. Turning the book’s pages, text and image strike the eye as being equally important.

The format of Commentaries, of course, was the inspiration for one of my favorite books The Medium is the Massage by Marshal McLuhan and designed by Quentin Fiore. Richard Hollis, the designer of the John Berger’s book, Ways of Seeing, also cited Commentaries as the inspiration for his design. Here’s Michael Rock looking at Ways of Seeing as an example as print “destabilizing” digital, as it too started as a television show that was then translated to book form:

The television program had moderate success but shortly after it aired Berger joined with producer Mike Dibb and graphic designer Richard Hollis to produce a printed version of the televised series. Clark had also produced a book to accompany Civilisation: a huge, lavish, full-color coffee table monster that must have weighted 10 kilos. In contrast Berger, Dibb and Hollis produced a slim paperback, 127 x 203mm, of only 166 pages. Even more radical, the book was produced in black + white, reducing the famous art to mere notations on standard, uncoated paper of a trade book. It was published by the BBC Books under the Pelican Books imprint, a division of the venerable Penguin Press organized to publish books to educate rather than entertain the reading public.

Frank Chimero also looks at this idea in his talk Designing in the Borderlands and Austin Kleon recently posted a few spreads from another book Quentin Fiore designed: Buckminster Fuller’s I Seem To Be A Verb

“A book is a flexible mirror of the mind and the body. Its overall size and proportions, the color and texture of the paper, the sound it makes as the pages turn, and the smell of the paper, adhesive and ink, all blend with the size and form and placement of the type to reveal a little about the world in which it was made. If the book appears to be only a paper machine, produced at their own convenience by other machines, only machines will want to read it.”
woodswoodswoods:

I’ve never not been totally stopped in my tracks when this cover pops up in various collections of Penguin/Pelican covers. Just perfect. I think it’s about time I found a physical copy.

Holy sweet Moses, this is brilliant!

woodswoodswoods:

I’ve never not been totally stopped in my tracks when this cover pops up in various collections of Penguin/Pelican covers. Just perfect. I think it’s about time I found a physical copy.

Holy sweet Moses, this is brilliant!

viafrank:

Have you seen Things Magazine’s collection of book covers from Pelican, called The Pelican Project?
You haven’t? Oh, well you should probably go sneak a peek. It’s a bottomless well of design inspiration, fine tuning your spidey-senses of clarity, concept, and conciseness. And, if you have visited, I’d go take a look again, even just to witness that beautiful, dusty, distressed blue.

Welp. There goes my afternoon. Seriously. This is a goldmine. 

viafrank:

Have you seen Things Magazine’s collection of book covers from Pelican, called The Pelican Project?

You haven’t? Oh, well you should probably go sneak a peek. It’s a bottomless well of design inspiration, fine tuning your spidey-senses of clarity, concept, and conciseness. And, if you have visited, I’d go take a look again, even just to witness that beautiful, dusty, distressed blue.

Welp. There goes my afternoon. Seriously. This is a goldmine. 

It’s hard to believe that this school year has come to a close. I seriously have no idea where it went as it often feels like I just started at Kutztown yesterday. Tomorrow, I’m turning in my final project for the semester, that I have photographed in it’s entirety above. The project is a full hardcover book based off a Grimms Fairytale. I’m really happy with the end result and while I’m not sure it’s my favorite project I’ve ever done, I think it’s a nice representation of a style I’ve found myself growing into as of late and culmination of the various design experiments I’ve done this past year. 

The book evolved slightly from my original plan, mostly in an attempt to simplify and only show what is necessary. All the watercolor and pen and ink illustrations were done by hand (something I’ve never done in a finished project before) and I’m quite proud of how they turned out. The finished book is printed on lightweight watercolor paper and bound in a hard cover. The final presentation looks really nice, if I do say so myself, and think this is a good project to finish up on. 

There are some exciting things in the works for this summer and then I’ll be back at Kutztown for one more year in the Fall before I’m let loose in the design world. It’s going to be a good year.