GraphicDesign& Literature – Page 1

by dufblog

Last night’s GraphicDesign& event at the Design Museum focused on graphic design and literature, and made use of a brilliant format for getting to the heart of some of the more nebulous aspects of graphic design. The two-part event was a sort of amalgamation of pecha kucha and speed dating, with 18 designers speaking for 2 minutes each (with visuals) about their responses to a brief to design page one of Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations, which was first published in serial form in 1860. This was followed by a series of concurrent round-table discussions between the designers and audience members (there were three rotations of 12 minutes each). The diversity in responses to the brief, as well as the rapid-fire delivery of ideas, made for an exhilarating evening.

It is the nature of much graphic design to be virtually invisible to many – in deference to the content it works to communicate. But that doesn’t mean design isn’t there, exerting a strong influence on how people consume and process ideas and information. Graphic Design&’s idea of illuminating graphic design thinking by talking about it in relation to its subject matter is inspired.

We were struck by Swedish designer Moa Parup’s e-book layout with its simple gesture of recording the book’s extent adjacent to the folio – a way of judging the ‘thickness’ of the virtual book as well charting the reader’s progress. We were amused by Tony Chambers, editor-in-chief of Wallpaper*, and his angst about his decision to allow an orphan in his page one, reflecting the status of the novel’s central character. Typographic supremo Fraser Muggeridge went against type, as it were, by eschewing words entirely in his page and making use of pictograms instead. We liked, too, the page layout designed for shared reading by Aaron Merrigan and Fred North, who are currently third-year students at Kingston.

A web-offset produced paperback book, Page 1: Great Expectations, edited and designed by Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright of GraphicDesign&, illustrates the responses of 70 designers and illustrators to the same brief, and their explanations of them. A notable timepiece of attitudes to the printed word around the world. Buy the book here.

Rebecca Wright and Lucienne Roberts of GraphicDesign&

Round table discussions at the Design Museum

The film of the book: the web-offset printing process of Page 1: Great Expectations