PAGE 1, GRAPHICDESIGN&: on expectations and beginnings

By Teresa de Andrés. May 24, 2012


It’s impossible to give a first impression twice. Neither you can read in the same way a book you read some time ago. Reading is filling voids, building expectations, shaping ideas. To read is to face the unexpected. To design a book is to materialize what is written, sometimes, even by turning invisible.

For Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright, the editors behind GraphicDesign&, design has an immense potential to connect with any discipline.That is why they decided to create their publishing house while taking shelter in the Stedelijk Museum CS’s cafe on a London or Amsterdam rainy day. To show that design has a lot to do with philosophy, literature, zoology or maths.

Their aim: to reach a wider audience, an audience not necessarily specialised in design.
Their first step: Page 1, a book-experiment based on Great Expectations by Dickens.

Page 1 explores how typography, design and layout influence the way we read, together with the importance of a book’s first page to establish the reading process. It aims to show how through the use of typography and design one can play with the reader’s expectations and the way they confront a book. How much can the typeface or the slant of letters, the leading between the lines or the size of the margins influence the reading experience? Do we miss something when we read a Victorian novel with a modern typography?

Similar questions pose with their proposals the 70 designers in charge of reinterpreting the first page of the celebrated novel. Seventy different visions on the same sentences, words and letters turned into a wonderful compendium of 320 pages of 110 by 178 millimetres with a two colour cover (black and neon pink).

GraphicDesign&. The key is in what bonds, in the need to connect the world’s systemic constellations, in never stop expecting that what follows will always be the unexpected. Always, the future.

* A book that ceases to be an experiment is a failed book, a book unable to incite a single expectation. 

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