1 year ago

So, as you can see, I’ve gone with eyes here (not the first or last time I will use an eye as a device on a jacket-book covers are, after all, faces, both literally and figuratively, of the books they wrap). I find eyes, taken in the singular, create intimacy, and in the plural instill paranoia. This seemed a good combo for Kafka- who is so very adept at the portrayal of the individual, as well as the portrayal of the persecution of the individual.

I also opted for color. It needs saying that Kafka’s books are, among other things, funny, sentimental, and in their own way, yea-saying. I am so weary of the serious Kafka, the pessimist Kafka. Kafkaesque has become synonymous with the machinations of anonymous bureaucracy- but, of course, Kafka was a satirist (ironist, exaggerator) of the bureaucratic, and not an organ of it. Because of this mischaracterization, Kafka’s books have a tendency to be jacketed in either black, or in some combination of colors I associate with socialist realism, constructivism, or fascism- i.e. black, beige and red. Part of the purpose of this project for me, was to let some of the sunlight back in. In any case, hopefully these colors, though bright, are not without tension.

The typography. The script is an amalgam of Kafka’s own hand, and a wonderfully versatile typeface called “Mister K” (based on Kafka’s own hand) by Julia Sysmäläine who works at Edenspiekermann in Berlin.

Peter Mendelsund on his cover designs for Kafka

chrisdexta: NOISE TEST @ 414, BRIXTON - 22/6/2013

chrisdextaNOISE TEST @ 414, BRIXTON - 22/6/2013

Sakura (cherry blossoms) from Japan Tobacco, designed by Kenya Hara: Rather than resorting to a specific image of cherry blossoms, I planned an empty design that would capture and respond to all the different cherry blossom images in the viewers’ minds. The very faint pink is taken from Tsugishikishi, a paper used by the calligrapher Onono Tofu in the Heian Period (794-1185). When you open the package, there appears a translucent paper inner lining with a tie-dyed cherry blossom print.

Sakura (cherry blossoms) from Japan Tobacco, designed by Kenya Hara: Rather than resorting to a specific image of cherry blossoms, I planned an empty design that would capture and respond to all the different cherry blossom images in the viewers’ minds. The very faint pink is taken from Tsugishikishi, a paper used by the calligrapher Onono Tofu in the Heian Period (794-1185). When you open the package, there appears a translucent paper inner lining with a tie-dyed cherry blossom print.

The Green Peafowl, called the ‘Daung’(Burmeseဒေါင်း) or U-Doung in Burmese, is one of the national animals of Burma. It is strongly associated with the Konbaung monarchy and the anti-colonial nationalist movements and thus is popularly seen as the symbol of the Burmese state. The Dancing peacock, Ka-Doung (Burmeseကဒေါင်း) was used as the symbol of the Burmese monarch and was stamped on the highest denominator coins minted by Burma’s last dynasty. Upon independence, it was again featured on Burmese banknotes from 1948 til 1966. The ‘Dancing Peacock’ also appeared on certain flags of the Konbaung dynastyBritish Burma and also the State of Burma which was a collaborationist Japanese client state during the Second World War.

An alternative pose, to denote struggle, is the fighting peacock, Khoot-Daung (Burmeseခြတ္ဒေါင်း) as seen visibly on the party flag of Aung San Suu Kyi's de jure disbanded National League for Democracy. Due to the political connections, the peacock has been discarded in favour of the Chinthe by the military junta which ruled Burma after 1988.

1 year ago
1 year ago

Haruki Murakami covers designed by John Gall.

1 year ago
1 year ago

SVA’s Steven Heller and Debbie Millman Critique the New $100 Bill

Steven Heller: What have they done to my Benjamin?! It’s like it was pulled from a children’s activity book. Look at those awkward shifts of color and holographic changes in image. Nothing is balanced. It seems like two separate bills on one side, divided by the security band, which is so alien that Ben won’t even look at it. Then there is the now routine Helveticazation of the denomination on the “b” side that has no typographic relationship to anything else on the note. Where’s the elegance of the greenback? = Why all this copper? Well, it may be doing its job. If I were a counterfeiter, I’d be ashamed to copy this new $100 bill.

Debbie Millman: Counterfeit $100 bills have been notoriously easy to pass, as most people don’t go round with a billfold of Benjamins. Not for much longer. This fall, the Federal Reserve will begin circulating a brand new note that has been redesigned with the most advanced security measures ever embedded in our currency. And man, is it fancy! The cash is coming to market with bells on—literally. Created with color-shifting ink, first you see a green Liberty Bell; then suddenly, it turns copper. And that’s not all that’s confusing—at last calculation, I counted 41 ways in which ’100′ is rendered. Some of the iterations, such as the in your face version vertically snaking up the back of the note, pack a powerful punch. But the random ribbons, duplicate images and quirky illustration of Mr. Franklin leave this viewer with a one-word impression: botched.

1 year ago
I really like the “Next Level Quality” seal that Helen Tseng designed. Boba Guys: Drink Well and Prosper.

I really like the “Next Level Quality” seal that Helen Tseng designed. Boba Guys: Drink Well and Prosper.

1 year ago