At the heart of this substantial editorial project is Véronique Vienne, a top graphic design specialist with international recognition and who, through her research and her work, is in regular contact with the greatest designers in the entire world. She started her career with Raymond Loewy and for a long period was an Art Director in the United States for Vogue and other widely read magazines. Today she is a writer, a critic and a mentor, she writes articles and books in addition to running conferences on graphic design all across the world. She recently published “100 ideas which changed graphic design”.
She chose to give several top designers the opportunity to express their thoughts on the place of paper in the digital age. This is a highly relevant theme which particularly inspired all of the participants, each of whom gave their own, at times highly personal, vision regarding paper.
of Véronique Vienne
The writer and graphic design specialist tells us her story of the BO12 and shares with us the thoughts of some of the top current designers.
For this project, Véronique Vienne went to meet 12 designers, men and women, from 12 different countries (Lebanon, South Korea, Brazil, Switzerland, USA, Finland…). These designers have very different backgrounds (poster creators, directors of advertising agencies, typographers…) and they represent the myriad tendencies and trends in graphic design today. Whether they are stars or see themselves more as craftspersons, whether they are artists serving their art or advertisers serving business, they all have something in common : a strong personality and a sharp, personal vision of their profession and the way they approach it. Véronique Vienne guides us through their universe, their studios, their offices, be they in Manhattan or tucked away in a courtyard near to Montmartre, surrounded by books, papers, posters or their digital projects. We will learn about their latest projects such as Milton Glaser trying digital design on paper or Park Kum-jun camouflaging the shape of a frog within a post-modern graphic which looks like it was taken from an electrical circuit diagram. So many encounters, styles and approaches, each of them different, each of them fascinating…
Each participant provided his or her vision of the place of paper in the digital age. Their thoughts about paper, the pleasure of creating and the profession of creatives as it stands today are by turn surprising, amusing, optimistic and consistently intelligent. Each one of them has seen their craft and the way it is practised evolve and change. Although they remain creators in their own right, their fame and their status has also made them into managers who direct other designers, often younger ones. When faced with new approaches to creation, they are constantly obliged to examine and update their own savoir-faire. Given that they are, by nature curious, they go about this willingly and we are given the opportunity to follow them as they tell us about the way they approach creating in general terms and about the medium of paper in particular. This is a remarkable change if one considers that several of them started out by working in collaboration around large tables where the work was highly intellectual and manual in nature and where the verbal exchanges were instantaneous and highly enlightening. Whereas today, that table is the internet and collaboration takes place via e-mails and social networks. With access to an unlimited supply of images. This is a change which has had a direct and fundamental impact on the way creation takes place, and which these designers tell us about in their own way.
The BO12 (Book of 12) is not only a rich and unique collection of editorial content for creatives, but it is also an object. Because as well as being highly attractive and enlightening, it is also useful. Rather than producing a book like any other, we have decided to produce 12 notebooks which are contained in a presentation box. Each of these notebooks is printed with infinite care, often following the directions provided by our 12 icons of design, on very fine creative paper with stunning colours and sensual textures.
Exclusive content gathered together in a presentation box containing illustrated notebooks and featuring an image by each of out 12 designers. Images which in some cases have already been published and exhibited, but others have been exclusively created for this project upon request by the designers. The result is thus unique and will sit well on your bookshelf if you do not dare to write in the notebooks out of respect for such fine objects ! And we will give away, free of charge, an extra BO12 to the first person who gets their copy signed by our 12 designers !
Behind the scenes during production of the BO12 and the choice of paper for printing.
The BO12 has also been designed to remind everyone that the choice of paper is in itself an act of creation. This is what our 12 icons of design tell us : they remind us that a good creative concept consists of an idea, a style and a medium and that the latter plays a key role in adding value to a concept. It adds visibility, it serves the concept and makes a creation more desirable. It often has a decisive influence on the reader who, depending on the paper used, will stroll on by or will stop and look into the idea the creative is trying to put across. In this aspect, it is a manifesto for paper. In the digital age, where gaining attention is becoming a more difficult and haphazard process, it reminds us that the medium of paper has once again become a highly pertinent choice.
It is a project which reminds us that it is possible to create desire, and thereby attention, for an idea via an original form and a choice of attractive paper. We could have produced this project as a coffee table book or an A4 brochure printed on 110g coated paper. Or alternatively a paperback book printed on dense, bulky paper. We could have published it onto a website. Or sent it as a PDF attached to an e-mail. Or distilled it as a weekly newsletter. With the same author and the same content. But would it have attracted attention ? Would it have illustrated the contention of its authors that choice of paper is a highly important of design management ? Would it have added value to their images and their ideas ? The answer is contained in the very object itself. It is neither a book nor text, nor an idea, nor a paper catalogue : it is the BO12. A unique object for communicating ideas via a unique combination of paper.