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For our son’s second birthday this year we have again made him a custom picture book. This time we illustrated a story that we’ve been telling him for a while now before sleep. He usually gets bored quickly of those stories and demands that we come up with new ones but the story of a fox that tries to copy the behavior of other animals held his interest longer so we chose this one as a birthday gift.

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The fox meets a pig.

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The bear and bees.

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Stuff like this is always a welcome break from whatever else we’re working on and we only hope J will enjoy the book as much as we enjoyed making it.

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We return with more books by the estimable Miroslav Šašek, this time presenting two other European cities close to our hearts.

This Is Paris was the first book Šašek created. Published in 1959, it started the entire series and its success: and no wonder because it really captures some of the magic of the city (or specifically, the Parisian magic of the 1950s).

Polish version of the book.

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Notre Dame, one of the best things in the world.

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The Louvre without the pyramid.

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This is Rome followed a few years earlier and doesn’t it look like taken straight from the shots of some of the great Italian movie directors? It always makes us think of it anyway.

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Roman lettering, among other things.

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The Colosseum page shows Šašek’s true mastery at architectural illustration, which combines lightness and precision.

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Next week we’re taking a break because we’re finally leaving for our all-too-short holiday (but there will be small illustrations, as usual). We’re back with big updates mid-September!

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We continue our holiday series about books for young – and less young – travelers, this time with two books from a classic series by a Czech illustrator, Miroslav Šašek. His series This Is… presents famous cities and countries of the world through lovely illustrations and short texts. The earliest books in the series, of which This Is London and This Is New York that we’re sharing today are two, were published around 1960 and they also remain some of the most popular.

To us this historical aspect adds to the fun because it show the cities as they were 60 years ago: with different cars, clothes and other details. They look like taken from a charming old movie starring Audrey Hepburn. Our version even has a page at the end which explains to children what has changed since the books were written (not sure if other language versions include that, but probably so).

Šašek developed a lovely, today slightly old-school, style for his illustrations, with strong compositions, a painter’s understanding of color and a touch of newspaper cartoon in his drawings of people. Frankly, it’s not surprising that these books are being re-published and can delight new generations of fans of travel and illustration.

This is London (in Polish).

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And This Is New York (also in Polish).

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Sorry for the missed update last week but it wasn’t a great week for us and we had some personal crappiness to deal with. Anyway, we’re back with a sort of addendum for the last post when we showed you an annual report for the large gas provider. In addition to showing their involvement in sports, they also wrote a report on the environmental impact of their investments and activities. We designed it using the same layout and some of the same elements, except the lead color was, of course, green and instead of photos of sports people we used photos of nature. Maybe it’s just us but we will take nature over sports so we like this part of the publication even more and it was even more fun to work on.

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The cover uses the same round die-cut, except this time to show a seedling through it.

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The dynamic diagonal lines reappear, this time in green.

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Data shows environmental impact.

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While we usually show you most current works, we still have a whole archive of things waiting to be photographed and when we manage to document one of those, we will be sharing them too. Today’s work is an annual report for GPEC, the biggest local supplier of gas. They chose sports as the theme of the report, particularly sports as it is practiced by the employers of the company and each chapter uses a different sports discipline as a metaphor. (The photos show a German version of the report but there is also a Polish and English one.)

The report in an envelope.

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And out of it.

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Now, sports is a pretty cool theme visually and we were glad to work with it. As the brand color is bright red, we used it as the lead color for the publication. We also had the pleasure of working with Futura, one of the typefaces we’re passionate about, because it is also a part of GPEC’s brand. As a lead motif we chose diagonal lines for their dynamic quality and because they combine well with infographics that we created. In addition to the graphics which illustrate facts about the company, we also drew illustrations of sports.

Infographics combined with illustration. Yep.

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Each chapter starts with an intro spread illustrating its sport with a photo. The cover of the report has a round die-cut, showing a runner through it. This circle is concentric with another one cut in the brown-paper envelope that is printed with only one color and that offsets slightly the dominance of red in the design.

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Title page with the runner showing.

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Chapter intro spread.

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Data.

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Contents page.

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Some people are not fans of designing annual reports because of their corporate character and because one needs to include a lot of data. But we always enjoy this kind of subject because if you know how, you can combine the strict structure with more expressive solutions.