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We’re happy to share that the book From the City Hall to the Museum about the beginnings of the Museum of Gdańsk that we had the pleasure of designing (in the very stressful beginnings of the pandemic, too) was awarded distinction in the Most Beautiful Books of the Year competition, a yearly event organized by the Polish Association of Book Publishers to honor good design and print in book publishing.

You can see more of the book here.

The book we have a pleasure of sharing today is a first one in a series. We quite enjoy designing series because in addition to the challenge of shaping a new book, you have to think of other issues: will this really cool solution actually work in the next volume, especially if it happens to cover a rather different subject matter? And, a crucial question, how to make the series consistent but not too repetitive?

Anyways, this series, published by Zajezdnia History Center, consists of history books that gather academic essays on specific issues, mostly from the second half of the 20th century and relating to particular geographic locations. The first book talks about the countryside in the western and northern Poland after 1945: the difficulties it went through under the communist regime and how the economy and lifestyle of people changed.

The design of the book is a nod to modernist design which appeared in Poland in a somewhat different form than in Western Europe but was still a very strong visual language. The ornaments in the book, partly crop illustrations, partly geometric patterns (which you’re fully justified to read as fields), appear on the cover and at the beginnings of essays (and they were fun to create). The illustrative material included with the essays is mostly a bit dry and so goes well with the modernist style and the geometric typography. Part of the cover design is printed in green foil.

The next books in the series will retain the typography and the style but with different color schemes and, obviously, different ornamental themes.

Beginning of an essay about attempts to design a typical country dwelling.
Beginning of one of two big sections.
This 1945 poster tells people arriving to Lower Silesia not to waste time pointlessly wandering the town.
Yes, the produce is real.

This week we have great news to share. Our design of the book Reports of the Society for the Reconstruction and Beautification of the Malbork Castle (this title!) has won two design awards: DNA Paris Award and Communication Arts Award! We are overjoyed about the news and we thank the Castle Museum of Malbork for trusting us.

You can see more photos of the book in the previous post or on our website.

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.