• Main
Graphic Design

The Publishing Lab is a really god resource for weird and wonderful textual treatments

Posted by Rob Alderson,

The success of Visual Editions – whose latest offering Kapow! has been nominated in the graphics category of Designs of the Year – reflects an increasing interest in so-called “multimodal texts.” Using innovative design as part of the reading experience is nothing new, but seems to have taken on greater significance in a literary landscape at least in part defined by digital. A new blog from designer Alberto Hernandez and editor María Serrano is a brilliant reference for anyone interested in this field, showcasing interesting examples but also trying to explain their contemporary relevance.

First founded in 2011, its founders describe The Publishing Laboratory as, " part experimental laboratory, part investigators agency and part amusement park" and although there’s some chewy semiotic ideas involved, the site doesn’t take itself too seriously. “Our activity here at TPL is basically exploratory,” they say. “Our conclusions are provisional. Sometimes contradictory. Sometimes we don’t even conclude anything. We’re here to have fun.”

The smart money’s on this resource going from strength to strength.

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_devils-dictionary_stavro_bierce_01

    Astrid Stavro: The Devil’s Dictionary

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_devils-dictionary_stavro_bierce_02

    Astrid Stavro: The Devil’s Dictionary

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_devils-dictionary_stavro_bierce_03

    Astrid Stavro: The Devil’s Dictionary

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_devils-dictionary_stavro_bierce_04

    Astrid Stavro: The Devil’s Dictionary

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_devils-dictionary_stavro_bierce_05

    Astrid Stavro: The Devil’s Dictionary

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_devils-dictionary_stavro_bierce_06

    Astrid Stavro: The Devil’s Dictionary

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_picture-dorian-gray_four-corners_wilde_01

    Four Corners Books: A Picture of Dorian Gray

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_picture-dorian-gray_four-corners_wilde_02

    Four Corners Books: A Picture of Dorian Gray

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_picture-dorian-gray_four-corners_wilde_03

    Four Corners Books: A Picture of Dorian Gray

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_picture-dorian-gray_four-corners_wilde_04

    Four Corners Books: A Picture of Dorian Gray

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_picture-dorian-gray_four-corners_wilde_05

    Four Corners Books: A Picture of Dorian Gray

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_picture-dorian-gray_four-corners_wilde_06

    Four Corners Books: A Picture of Dorian Gray

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_strange-case-dr-jekyll-mr-hyde_hernandez_stevenson_01

    Alberto Hernández: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_strange-case-dr-jekyll-mr-hyde_hernandez_stevenson_02

    Alberto Hernández: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_strange-case-dr-jekyll-mr-hyde_hernandez_stevenson_03

    Alberto Hernández: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_strange-case-dr-jekyll-mr-hyde_hernandez_stevenson_04

    Alberto Hernández: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_strange-case-dr-jekyll-mr-hyde_hernandez_stevenson_05

    Alberto Hernández: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_strange-case-dr-jekyll-mr-hyde_hernandez_stevenson_06

    Alberto Hernández: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_strange-case-dr-jekyll-mr-hyde_hernandez_stevenson_07

    Alberto Hernández: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_tree-codes_visual-editions_foer_01

    Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree of Codes

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_tree-codes_visual-editions_foer_02

    Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree of Codes

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_tree-codes_visual-editions_foer_03

    Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree of Codes

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_tree-codes_visual-editions_foer_04

    Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree of Codes

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_tree-codes_visual-editions_foer_05

    Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree of Codes

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_tree-codes_visual-editions_foer_06

    Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree of Codes

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_tree-codes_visual-editions_foer_07

    Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree of Codes

  • Publishing-lab_visual-writing_tree-codes_visual-editions_foer_08

    Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree of Codes

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Graphic Design View Archive

  1. List

    I was surprised to learn that Amsterdam’s HOAX studio don’t seem to have been on the site before, and faced with their wide-ranging portfolio it was a challenge to focus in on a narrative that made sense. Founders Bram Buijs, Sven Gerhardt and Steven van der Kaaij joined forces based on their “shared love for typography, material and experimentation” and this passion for fresh creative thinking runs throughout their work.

  2. List

    Boasting PVC-clad bottoms, surreal jazz photography and beautifully-rendered risograph prints of basketball hoops, Shabazz Projects’ homepage certainly offers a well-curated and striking experience. The LA-based publishing platform was founded by Hassan Rahim and Brian Okarski, releasing art, photography and design-focused books and objects, all with a run of 200 or fewer editions. Stand-out pieces include the Various Basketball Hoops risographs, which put a whimsical spin on these often weary-looking monoliths; and Eric Wrenn and Antje Peters’ Jazz photographs, which place instruments against a dramatic plume of smoke. Hassan and Brian say their aim is to “provoke and surprise,” and from the images on their site alone, they’re certainly not letting themselves down.

  3. Hellotalja_kit-list-image

    Many a blue-sky-thinker and envelope-pusher has been extolling the virtues of meditation and mindfulness to pseudo-spiritually swell their business jargon lately. So it’s refreshing when a beautifully branded, creatively-minded product emerges that promises to offer that lucrative “pause from modern life.”

  4. List

    If all the magazines and small publications that used the internet as their subject matter were dumped on your head it’d be curtains for you – there’s bloody loads of them. Some, like Offscreen, deal with the people that make digital culture happen and try to bring these unsung heroes out from behind their screens into the RGB limelight, others, like French publication Nichons – Nous Dans l’Internet (Tits – We In The Internet) are more conceptually-minded, analysing and assessing the social and cultural phenomena brought about by the ubiquity of technology.

  5. Main

    Setting up a design studio and changing your name to a cool pseudonym is a good two-fingers-up to life on the quiet side. Parisian designer Julien Ducourthial decided to make this leap, and now overseas The Jazzist, offering bold, fluoro design work “serving in fields of graphic design, illustration and art direction in digital & printed media.” When Julien emailed us he told us he was inspired by 8-bit imagery and cartoons, which gave us an immediate inkling that we were going to like his work. Anyone looking to commission a great French designer any time soon? Julien is your man.

  6. List

    We haven’t featured Oslo-based studio Heydays on the site for a while but a quick check-in with their portfolio shows they’re still producing top-quality work for an eclectic range of clients. Nöra is a design house based between London and São Paulo which among other things supplied the seats for the World Cup stadia in Brazil. Heydays wanted a look and feel that felt “sophisticated with a stylish twist.” The pointillist type treatment pulls this off neatly and there’s some impressive animated elements you can see below as well. Keep up the great work team Heydays!

  7. List

    When it comes to a trendy commission, a restaurant in east London that serves everything on the bone is right up there. Credit is due then to Burgess Studio, whose identity for the eatery doesn’t take itself too seriously. Built around a nice typographic wordmark and the simple idea of making the all-important bone into a smile, the look and feel rolls out seamlessly across everything from bags to cups, menus to the website. It’s simple, it’s striking and it steers well clear of some kind of terrible hipster overload, all of which is to be very much commended.

  8. List

    It’s been a while since we last checked in with Stockholm-based Bedow studio but there’s a host of new work to enjoy over on their site as ever. I was particularly drawn to their ongoing collaboration with Essem Design, “a Swedish manufacturer of artisanal hallway interiors.” Bedow used a refreshingly straightforward way in to what might seem like rather a niche product, building an identity around the Swedish words for “hello” and “goodbye” – the utterances most commonly heard in a hallway.

  9. List

    Producing graphic collateral for one of the world’s largest international contemporary art fairs is a brief that would have some graphic design studios quaking in their boots, but when London-based Studio Frith was approached by Frieze Art Fair they accepted with relish.

  10. List

    “Churn out” always sounds like a derisive expression when referring to exceptional creative work, but the prolific nature of some studios means it’s the only one I like to use use to conjure up the relentless mechanical precision with which these studios proceed – and I definitely don’t mean it derisively. And so to Praline, the products of whose churning we’re here to admire.

  11. List

    For graphic design types, the opportunity to run wild with a printer’s various techniques is pretty much the dream brief, and Mexican agency Anagrama have well and truly lived that dream. They were one of seven agencies studios invited to create a notebook with Imprimerie du Marais, and they were given free rein to experiment with effects like hot foil stamping, microembossing, silk screening and sewn binding.

  12. List

    When David Mckendrick told us he was leaving Esquire and setting hop a new venture with Wallpaper* art director Lee Belcher, we were fascinated to see what the fruits of such a top-notch collaboration might look like. Last week we got our answer, when a copy of the new Christie’s magazine came dropping through our letterbox.

  13. List

    When you’re set a challenge by Google’s UXA design team, there’s the expectation for something pretty darn special to be created. Fortunately for Manual, they nailed their brief and created a smart, clean, eye-catching interpretation of Google’s visual language.