photo: Visual Editions
The first presentation I saw at TYPO London left quite an impression on me. The two women of Visual Editions, Anna Gerber & Britt Iversen, think books should be as visually interesting as the stories they tell. That's why they bring together author and designer at an early stage. They publish books, produce apps and organize events that are all in some way about great looking stories. The aim of this publisher is:
- to champion visual storytelling no matter what the platform
- to create affordable cultural objects and different reading experiences
- to get people talking of different ways of reading
- to produce a shared experience for different types of audiences
A few examples.
The author of the book Kapow ! had a lot of side tracks next to the main story. In the design these extra texts are sometimes set within the main text. Sometimes they swing out on fold outs. Sometimes leaning sideward, sometimes upside down. It slows down reading and makes it more playful.
Then there is a unbound book in a box, Composition No.1. You are invited to read in any order you wish. At a V&A late evening event the public could walk along readers-out-loud who each read a page. Some reading really loud to raise above the noise in the cafe, some softly speaking in a quiet corner.
The book of Jonathan Safran Foer, Tree of Codes, was quite an undertaking. He wanted to use his favorite book to make his own. This he did with cutting parts of the original text, leaving words on the pages that told a new story. It took the ladies a long time before they found a printer who wanted to try. The book is printed in Belgium, die-cut in the Netherlands, hand finished in Belgium and bound in the Netherlands. One production run takes three months. And yet, the book is affordable at 25 pounds. They funded it the first time by taking a mortgage on their house. Luckily the book sold well...
Besides just bying the books there are more ways in which readers show their enthousiasm about the visual stories. They reward their publications by sending photo's of how they read the books.
After this presentation I was sold right away, and bought all three of them :)