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Christmas is coming fast and if you’re still unsure of what to get people, we’re here to help. That is, if the people in question like delightful, delightful books. Continuing our recent series of posts on books about traveling and lovely places comes a behemoth of illustrated maps called A Map of the World (here on Gestalten’s site).

The book gathers dozens and dozens of beautifully illustrated maps, all of them different, showcasing tons of styles and approaches (all in large format).

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We find it fascinating in how many ways one can think of a map and how pretty one can make it. See for yourselves.

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re-shop-friendsAnd if you want to buy something of ours for Christmas in addition or instead, head  over to Society6, which is having a bunch of promotions before Christmas. There’s no better gift than a poster, right? We also have some, well, towels and are working on more stuff. (Until midnight a code “giftit” should give you 30% off and free shipping and the following days will have different promotions.)

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In addition to the regular design work, a half of us teaches an introductory course to graphic design in the Academy of Fine Arts. Last year with the students of the then first year we did a project inspired by both the Beatles and the projects Vaughan Oliver did with his students on the Pixies. We did a booklet inspired by the Beatles’ One.

Each student drew a title of one of the songs and was supposed to create a photograph including the title and the time of the song, juxtaposing it with the lyrics. While the lyrics remained unornamented, the photograph had to create a scene whose atmosphere would comment on the song – on its lyrics or particularly on its mood. It was important to show how you can use typography, light and composition to create a mood of a design.

Here you get a chance to see the results and let me tell you, they surprised us with their maturity.

Bernard Kiedrowicz and “Yellow Submarine,” making use of our seaside location and Lego blocks.

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Ula Aksinowicz and “Lady Madonna” made of rose petals and thorns.

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Weronika Płucienniczek and the nostalgia for “Yesterday.”

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Marta Zaparucha and “Eleanor Rigby” in a meditation on old age.

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Aleksandra Bołbot and “Hard Day’s Night.”

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Julia Jaros and the hippie life in “The Ballad of John and Yoko.”

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Katarzyna Cur and the play of light in “Let It Be.”

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Zuzanna Harat and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” made of colorful candy.

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And another take on candy: Nikola Kądziela and “Hello, Goodbye.”

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Marianna Pawłusiów, paper hands and “Help!”

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Natalia Szenborn and “Eight Days a Week” on a wall.

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Magda Bujara’s “All You Need Is Love” among the padlocks on a bridge of love.

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Magda Misztal’s “Hey Jude” in a letter.

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Paulina Zubowicz and “From Me to You” in glitter.

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The cover (the first photo on the top), together with the back cover and the inside spread (below), with a lovely, somewhat surreal use of fake fur by Paulina Wiczanowska.

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Let’s continue looking at pretty books about travels and dreaming about all the travels we’re currently not undertaking. Most of our illustrated guides seem to focus on Europe (and more often than not Paris) but this time how about we jump a continent and explore an entirely different country: the USA with the book The 50 States by Gabrielle Balkan and Sol Linero (here on Amazon).

Each spread shows an illustrated map of a state with local curiosities, characteristic animals, famous people and other goodness. There is plenty of information, sometimes unexpected, on things that happened in each state and things you can see if you’re lucky enough to visit it. There are also key facts, symbols, mottos and, most of all, wonderful pictures of all things connected with the state. We haven’t yet read the whole book (it’s a newish addition) but what we have is actually educational.

Visually, the book manages to combine the modern simplicity of flat illustrations with a bit of whimsy and squeeze quite a lot of text in between. The choice of colors is careful and consistent. And when you think about designing the book you realize inherent difficulties in showing all the states with their different sizes in the same manner – but the authors succeed. It’s a pretty, fun book and it tells you about the world’s biggest ball of stamps and about Bonnie and Clyde festival.

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Alaska…

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…has the best dogs.

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All the state flags together.

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With fall so completely upon us it’s nice to think back on holidays and one way to do that is to look at the books we’ve brought with us. As usual, our trip to Paris has resulted in increasing our library of touristy books about Paris. This time let us share a smart little pop-up called, well, Paris Pop Up by Dominique Ehrhard (here‘s a link, should you be interested).

It presents the biggest tourist attractions of the city as 3D models literally rising from the pages of the book as one leafs through it. Each building is situated in its proper place on a fragment of a map and prefaced by a short introduction on the previous spread. All in all, it’s a simple idea quite ingeniously executed and much prettier than most tourist guides.

The intro map with all the attractions and their relative locations.

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An introduction to the Arc de Triomphe.

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And the Arc itself.

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The Louvre.

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The Notre Dame Cathedral rising from its pages in several steps.

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Centre Pompidou (it even has an exhibition poster visible).

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This year the Graphics Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk is celebrating its tenth anniversary with, among other things, an exhibition of works by teachers and graduates. As this is a place we both hail from, our work was also exhibited and yesterday we attended the opening (hence the delay, sorry!). The exhibition was curated by the estimable Anita Wasik and designed by the talented Dorota Terlecka.

We chose to show our Shakespeare Project, which has not had as much exposition as some of our other projects but remains one of the things we’re most proud of, so we are happy to see it out there.

That’s our entire corner. Each artist got to design the large banner and whatever they wanted in front of it (within budget constrictions, of course). We showed a selection of Shakespeares with the identity of the project.

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Hanging those lines was soooo swear-inducing, I tell you. But hey, I did it.

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Of course, our stuff is a great reason to see the exhibition, should you be in the area, but there are other designers, and personal friends, showing their projects, too. Here are some random impressions but there are tons more.

Lettering by Eugenia Tynna.

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Posters by Tomasz Bogusławski.

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T-shirts by Patrycja Podkościelny.

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Bugs by Agata Borkowska.

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Hedgehog pants by Agata Królak. Pants. With hedgehogs!

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Patryk Hardziej.

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A board game by Anna Gawron and Dariusz Ogrodowczyk.

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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!