My First: Colophon and Sophie Mayanne talk about the themes of their book, Twenty-Two
To celebrate the launch of Arjowiggins’ new digital range, we have partnered with the creative papers manufacturer to offer two emerging talents the opportunity to work with an established graphic designer to create a new publication that showcases the work of the participants and the potential of new digital printing techniques.
For the first book, type foundry and design studio Colophon Foundry / The Entente worked with photographer Sophie Mayanne on Twenty-Two, a chronological narrative tracking her journey as a photographer from graduation to today. Designer Bruce Usher took a very different approach for the second book, working with illustrator Antti Kalevi to create a visual poem, translated using a key, for I Can Speak with Shapes.
We continue our coverage by talking to Colophon and photographer Sophie, discovering what the trio learnt as they worked together to produce Twenty-Two.
“I started the journals after I had graduated,” London-based photographer Sophie Mayanne says of the diary entries, which form the foundations of the story told in the pages of Twenty-Two. “I was sitting on the sofa telling my Dad about a shoot, and he thought it’d be really interesting if I wrote about everything from my perspective. I actually took advice from my Dad – for once – and started writing them down.”
When it came to making a publication with type foundry and design studio Colophon, the journals seemed a natural place to start. “Four massive folders” and a lot of work later, the diary entries have been translated into Twenty-Two, a book which documents Sophie’s journey from self-conscious photography graduate to full-fledged photographer. “In the beginning, I never used to refer to myself as a photographer,” Sophie explains. “Twenty-Two starts at that point: there are ups and downs, but my confidence grows.”
Across dark blue, sky blue, brilliant white and ivory pages, Sophie is keen to show that pursuing a creative career is far from simple. “When you graduate, you think, what the hell am I going to do next? There was a point where I had to move home and I thought I wouldn’t be able to carry on.” Luckily, Sophie struggled through, sleeping on friends’ sofas to work in London on photography shoots, and the final message she projects is a positive one. “The journal shows that while points can be low, you’re going to be fine,” she says.
Returning to old work and becoming her own archivist highlighted to Sophie the significant development of her style and technical ability over time. “In the beginning, you agree to a lot of projects which aren’t your own just to experience different kinds of shoots,” she tells us. “I think there are still quite a lot of similarities between my work at the beginning of Twenty-Two and my work today, but I think it’s probably a lot more refined now. There’s more colour, and more studio which I didn’t do at all in the beginning because I was terrified of the studio and I had no idea about lighting! But I learned. So now everything looks like it’s from the same person whereas maybe in the beginning, shoots looked quite different.”
Sophie and Colophon hope that the themes beneath Twenty-Two might inspire struggling creatives kicking off their careers to keep going. “It’s a portrait of my own experience, but it’ll be relevant to people of a similar age, and also people a bit older,” Sophie says. “Everyone has points where they’re like, what’s going to happen next?”
Out of a stack of dusty journal entries rose a solid creative partnership and a book which bears each of the trio’s fingerprints – metaphorically at least. “We all pretty much came together with this idea of the journal,” Colophon says. “When Sophie brought the journals out, we all thought it could be a really big part of what we ended up making together. We were all on the same wavelength for a lot of it. There were obviously some edits which we needed to make in the journal entries and photo choices, but in terms of the grand idea we were on the same wavelength – the design of the book, editing, design of the typeface.”
“It’s been a really interesting experience: two professional backgrounds coming together to create something,” Colophon explains. “Working on Twenty-Two meant learning to take someone else’s work and express all of us in one project. It can be quite difficult at times, but it felt natural in this case.” Twenty-Two was printed with the help of Generation Press, but with the speed and flexibility of digital printing, anyone, anywhere can create their own first publication.
Colophon and Sophie used the following paper stocks to produce Twenty-Two:
Cover: Curious Collection Skin i-Tone Dark Blue 270g
Text Pages: Pop’Set i-Tone Brilliant White 170g, Pop’Set i-Tone Ivory 120g and Pop’Set i-Tone Sky Blue 240g
Arjowiggins Creative Papers has refined and extended its range of digital printing papers to offer graphic designers greater creative freedom with new sizes, colours, textures and finishes, plus easy selection with a new reference book. With digital technologies breathing new life into the medium of print, this digital range of papers allows designers to take advantage of custom print runs and quick turnarounds, while widening their creative options and retaining exceptional print quality. We invite you to read more about the new Arjowiggins Digital Range.
About the Author
Bryony joined It's Nice That as Deputy Editor in August 2016, following roles at Mother, Secret Cinema, LAW, Rollacoaster and Wonderland. She later became Acting Editor at It's Nice That, before leaving in late 2018.