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A few months ago we finished a book  for the Malbork Castle Museum.

The Malbork Castle is a world-famous heritage place, a 13th century castle built by the Teutonic Order (Malbork was then called Marienburg if that tells you more). It is a truly impressive historic monument well-worth visiting. The book is a scientific study of life in the castle at the time when the Teutonic Order lived there. It talks not only of politics and economy but also of minutiae of everyday functioning of this huge establishment.

The book’s design had to be sober not to distract from the academic content. Mainly, we had to make the information aesthetic and legible. We chose to use a golden-brown spot color for all the special texts in the book and for archival photographs which are printed in gold and black. The cover contains a golden-brown photo of the castle and the title is hotstamped in silver.

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We will share more photos of the book later but for now they’re not properly edited so check back soon.

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After a Valentine’s Day related interlude, we come back to the rest of the exhibitions about the gardens of Gdańsk, designed for the Museum of Gdańsk. The general explanation is here, in part one. Today’s photos show the other, pink room (and glimpses of the blue one) which focused on the philosophy of gardening in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A section on garden benches with a bench where a visitor could rest.

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A glimpse of the original interior of the museum: a stucco ceiling.

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The blue room held original art and a huge printout of a historical photo.

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…and this guy.

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Today we’re sharing another book we designed for the Museum of Gdańsk. It is the first one in a series of books which will examine the history of various districts of the city of Gdańsk. It focuses on one of the lesser known districts called Chełm and presents scientific articles about its history, starting from its oldest past and coming to quite recent events. The articles are illustrated with photos and, particularly, maps.

As is always the case with designing scientific books, one has to find balance between the clear and legible presentation of serious, and sometimes a little dry, subject matter and an appealing visual character of the book. We used a strong lead color (it will change for future books in the series) and modern, clean typography. Page compositions favor the central axis. The cover uses a fragment of a lovely old illustration showing the district in question. The typesetting was quite a precise job because of a number of long footnotes but we enjoy this kind of labor (we’re not party people).

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As the summer season is slowly approaching, we’re sharing today a very summery book we designed last year for the Museum of Gdańsk. It is a catalog for an exhibition showing postcards and photographs of beaches in Gdańsk before 1939: some of them still exist while others no longer serve as recreational beaches. The catalog included most of the photos shown on the exhibition but we could present them in any way we wanted.

The visual material was very rich and quite exciting once you really delved into it (all the old swimwear!) but in its mass seemed a bit monotonous so we decided to make it more modern. We created a sunny, cheerful color palette to color the photographs and added illustrative, geometric elements: stripes, waves, birds etc.

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On  the cover we used varnished stripes on an old photo that the Museum wanted to use. The stripes – inspired by old swimsuits – are the main visual motif organizing the entire layout, including its geometry.

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Beginning of a chapter.

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Page numbering close-up.

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Sometimes we chose fragments of photographs to use.

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While the sheer amount of photographs to edit made it an intense publication to work on, we’re very happy with the final results.

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Recently we visited a local museum and in the gift shop we found a little gem illustrated by a friend from work, Joanna Czaplewska. The book tells the story of the most famous painting you can see in our area, The Last Judgment by Hans Memling (here, if it’s not famous enough). In simple illustrations it shows how the painting was created and how it ended up in Gdańsk. The book is remarkable not only for its historical detail but also a subdued, painterly color palette.

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