Honesty is, as everybody knows, apparently the best policy. So straight off the bat that secures top marks for The Designers Republic (TDR) and their new book Bunch of Fives. As Ian Anderson writes in the foreword: “This in’t a book about graphic design. Maybe it’s not really a book at all. It’s a self-promotional item – if you’re still wondering where to file it.”
Except it’s not really that simple. To mark TDR’s 25th birthday and the fifth anniversary of Evolutionprint, Ian approached a host of top art and design talent – think Haroon Mirza, Craig Oldham, Adrian Shaughnessy, Matt Pyke and Paula Scher – and asked them to respond to the brief “What does five mean to you.”
Ian describes the results as " connections made and bridges being built – maybe, if you like the idea, it’s a book about the potential of everything multiplied by everything else…It’s people with nothing to prove to each other, dropping their guard in the playground."
There’s photographs, doodles, posters, text, collages and illustrations, with each contributor offering as little or as much information as they deem necessary, with idiosyncratic little editorial notes next to each entry. It’s fun and fascinating and also a beautifully-designed object in its own right, with neon pink end papers offsetting the matte black cover and various typographic curiosities.
And, when all is said and done, it kind of is a book about graphic design, albeit in a tangental way, despite all protestations to the contrary…