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).
And This Is New York (also in Polish).
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.
The cover uses the same round die-cut, except this time to show a seedling through it.
The dynamic diagonal lines reappear, this time in green.
Data shows environmental impact.
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.
And out of it.
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.
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.
Title page with the runner showing.
Chapter intro spread.
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.
This summer Experyment Science Center is organizing a series of events for children to help them spend the time in an interesting and educational way. We designed promo materials for the event. The challenge lied in the fact that the offer consists of different, varied activities and we had to bring them all together. We decided to use the motif of a treasure map along which there are various spots marked with Xs, informing about what you can learn in Experyment in summer. These skills include setting bonfires, staying safe by the water, using a compass, making a pocket constellation, using first aid, predicting the weather and recognizing local plants. As you can plainly see, we illustrated these scout-like skills with simple illustrations which together create the path on the map. The rest of the available space is filled with trees and additional illustrations that complete the suggestion of the outdoors. We are happy with how we managed to make a unified whole out of a poster with so much contents, which is always more difficult than just illustrating one short message.
The main design we created is the poster, which was later reformated to other media. In addition to that we also designed a small doube-sided leaflet which required a slightly different use of the graphics.
Both sides of the leaflet.
Details of the poster and the leaflet.
It is the time of holiday traveling but this year we only travel with our finger on the map. So it is at least good to have a set of nice maps to do this and the one we want to share today is a book by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielińscy, who (almost) literally drew the whole world.
Maps is a large-format illustrated book for children (but also quite interesting for adults) and it’s full of, well, maps. Each chapter starts with a map of a continent and then shows maps of selected countries. For each country the map is covered with local animals, foods, clothes, customs and other surprises.
The beauty of this book is in its scope and detail. You can spend quite a lot of time looking for things you missed before. Mizielińscy also design typography for their illustrations (you can even buy those fonts) so the typographic part of the book is carefully designed. All in all, if maps are your thing, you should give this book a try, at least to acknowledge the impressive effort. (Fair warning though: it is a bit eurocentric. But it still has a lot of material on the rest of the world so don’t be discouraged.)
Our version that we’re showing is in Polish but there are other translations out there: here is Amazon’s link to the English version and here is an activity book based on Maps (we don’t have this one though; but if you do, let us know if it’s good).
Great Britain. Europe is given a loving treatment but, well, we understand.
Sweden and all the famous Swedes.
France and examples of French fauna.
Close-up on Egypt.
And the US.
With a bit of Mexico.
And off to the cold areas.
Which have huskies.
Flags of the world’s countries.
As it seems unlikely that we will be doing any more travelling this holiday season, instead we are remembering one of our previous trip, the one to London, with a charming book called, well, A Walk in London.
The book is by Salvatore Rubbino and includes spreads on all the well-known tourist attractions as viewed by a little tourist, the main character in the book.
We really like the illustration style of the book: on the one hand, it’s very light – it recalls the freshness of a child’s drawing (something many illustrators try to do). On the other hand, this is clearly not a child’s drawing: in its color scheme and page compositions it has the sophistication of an adult artist.
Title page. Thames is definitely the axis around which the book is built.
A map, always an interesting design part of such books.
The typography is a bit messy, which seems to be popular in children’s books these days. It doesn’t work for all books but here it adds to the liveliness of the spreads.
We loved Tower of London! It’s such a cool place.
And yes, there is a foldout with the panorama of the Thames bank and the multiple attractions one can find there.
And the index (with its over-the-top typography).
As long as we’re not doing any actual travelling, reading about it, especially in books which we can share with J, is the second best thing.