Some of the most pleasing book designs are born from the simplest decisions, from subtle nuances that perfectly encapsulate the message of the book’s content. This is certainly the case with Basel-based graphic designer, Ronnie Fueglister’s array of artist books. Always produced in close collaboration with the artist, Ronnie’s work is varied in its visual language but one thing binds his projects: simple, yet smart design choices.
A graduate of ECAL, Basel School of Design and Zurich University of the Arts, Ronnie spends his time freelancing, travelling for work but also teaching. This wealth of experience has allowed him to develop an adaptive visual language: “I have a rather strict way of treating typography, although I try to bend this more and more,” he tells It’s Nice That. “Working together with artists that have a much more liberated approach to the topic helps, but also teaching offers a lot of fresh perspectives.”
With designs that range from monochromatic type-heavy catalogues to more expressive and colourful identities, it’s always his work with artists that really captures Ronnie’s imagination. “Compared to other book concepts, artist books do not have to follow the common guidelines at all, both in a conceptual and visual way,” he offers. By pushing each artist’s content or concept as far as he can, Ronnie creates books which question “dramaturgy, reading habits, binding and, of course, the book as an object.”
In a recent project for artist Hannah Weinberger, Ronnie used his signature simplicity to produce a visually engaging but highly conceptual book titled Believe it or Not! As someone whose body of work consists largely of video work, Hannah wanted to use snapshots in order to produce a sort of “video book”. To reflect the typical narrative of Hannah’s work – dozens of short video sequences of every life – the snapshots are presented full-bleed in an order that travels from morning to noon, evening to night and then morning again. This bold, image-led design provides the perfect haptic format for Hannah’s work, allowing readers to flip through it quickly or more thoroughly, zooming in and out of the narratives.
The versatility of Ronnie’s approach to design can be seen when Believe it or Not! is held up against his work for painter Amy Silman, The All-Over. Taking Amy’s eponymous show at Portikus Frankfurt as a starting point, the book documents her three main interests: classic oil painting, hybrid paintings with digital technology and cartoons and drawings. In order to make this distinction clear, Ronnie employed the use of material, building the book in several layers that “work independently and that distinguish from each other through the use of three different papers.”
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