In 2018 Poland, together with many other countries, celebrated a 100 years of independence. This occasioned many interesting projects and we had the pleasure of being involved in one of them. Zajezdnia History Center organized an oral history project in which interviewers talked to around a hundred people whose age neared a hundred (and so the age of independent Poland). The results were published in a book called Contemporaries of Polish Independence that we designed.
The interviewees talked about their life and how it was affected by the turbulent hundred years of the Polish century: from the 1920s and 1930s, through WW2 and the communist regime up to the actual independence and democracy. The book is divided into chronological chapters and illustrated with private photographs, some of them quite amazing.
Even though we were tempted to emphasize parts of the text, the editors wanted all the interviews treated equally not to single anybody out and so we simplified the original typographic project. We added purple to national Polish colors (red and white) so that the overall result is more interesting. The cover includes portraits of all the people from the book, while the hotstamped empty circles suggest all the other centenarians who also witnessed the last hundred years in Poland.
Table of contents.
This might be the best photo in the entire book. But the competition is strong.
What did we say about amazing photos? This gem reminds us of a famous photographer Tadeusz Rolke’s work but it comes from a private photo album.
As a belated celebration of Labor Day (that we celebrated laboring, of course), here’s the next one in our series of Working Girls: D is for Dog Walker. This is such a fun project but it really has to take a backseat to all the actual work and so the progress is slow. But we’re doing it.
We spent so much time taking photos of some of the last year’s books we designed that we didn’t manage to edit the photos for today! So instead of a full project presentation that is, obviously, coming, please enjoy for now previews of two books in their unretouched glory. And don’t forget to have a glorious week!
Best (late) Easter wishes, everyone! May this time bring you a renewal of spirit.
This year we enlisted the help of our 5-year-old son J with the card. He used to show very little interest in drawing but just recently he’s started really coming into his own as an illustrator, without much insistence on our side. It’s like something opened up in him and now he graces us with these little gems and they seem to bring him as much joy as they bring us. There’s no way to imitate the freshness of children’s drawings, you can only admire them.
In the 19th century the Malbork Castle, now a world heritage site, was in a bad shape, used for commercial purposes, its buildings in disrepair. The Society for the Restoration and Beautification of the Malbork Castle was established to gather finances and organize the necessary repairs. For 50 years the Society published its reports on how the works were going, including lists of members, financial assets and especially the progress of renovations.
Now these reports, a valuable source of information on the history of the Castle, are published in Polish by the Castle Museum in Malbork. The large book contains the translations of all the original reports, together with articles, explaining the background of the organization.
The main challenge and the main attraction of designing this book lay in combining the nods to the original reports with modern design. The originals were hardly consistent, changing visual styles every now and then, and even the logic of the internal organization, while it was our job to restore those. To reference the originals we used German typefaces from the early 20th century, table designs and ornaments are also inspired by the originals.
The idea for the cover comes from how the original reports were bound: in hand-made marbled paper. We ordered sheets of this (though, of course, the budget only allowed the use of scans in the final book) and, in fact, we had to change the pattern a few times because each time a type of paper was chosen it proved sold-out before we ordered it. The price of working with single copies, I guess. This paper is combined with canvas and the only words are printed in rose-gold foil on the canvas.
And in case anybody cares, the work on this book was great fun!
Title page of 1896 report with a custom ornament.
The tables list all the financial assets for a given time period.
There’s double page numbering. This close-up shows a page number from the original report.
Title page for one of the introductory articles. Also: marbled paper.
We’re falling behind stuff again but here’s the missing C from our Working Girls series ABC that we showed last time. The other letters are coming when we catch up on either work or sleep (we don’t hope for both). C is for Carpenter, of course.