Beijing Talk and Workshop

Presentation & Panel Discussion
We presented a few projects by our studio that dealt with book design and which showed our approach as designers, editors and publishers. Client related print projects were presented as well as selfinitiated projets, like our book on the Swiss punk scene from the 70s called „Hot Love“ and our latest book to be released end of 2015, which is about the visual world from the images of banknotes called „Money“. The other presentations mostly held by Chinese book designers showed both similar and totaly different approaches. The variety was amazing. Afterwards there was a panel discussion, moderated and translated, about the situation on graphic design in China. The question what makes Swiss Graphic Design special and many questions concerning our every day life as graphic designers here and there. The atmosphere was great.

The workshop focused on the question of how to transfer the straight story of a fight between 2 opponents (Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee) into a book. Dramaturgy and questions of narration were to be examined on the basis of image and text within a certain format, material and binding. We chose the topic of fight, because of the fact that there are 2 opponents, a situation that designers have to deal with very often during the process of designing (contrasts, double page, image and text…) and during the process of communication with other designers, clients and producers. The fight also represents a flowing choreography based on action and reaction within a linear time set. An advantage or in this case disadvantage of the book in general is the fact that there is no strict linear time set, so the participants had  to think about the possibilities of bookdesign in general in order to come up with a solution.

Another major part of the workshop besides book design was typography. Muhammad Ali had to be presented by the Latin alphabet, Bruce Lee by the Chinese alphabet. Meaning and sound were to be presented through form and shape. We all learnt a lot about the differences of both alphabets and their possibilities.

Throughout the workshop we had many individual talks and group presentations. It was fascinating to see the different approaches and how solutions became more and more concrete. What started out rather confusing became something that worked out pretty well at the end. In contrast to workshops held in Europe before the participants had a great backround of illustration skills, which also helped to try out and strike ideas very fast.

One side effect of the assignment was the fact that the fight (of course in a friendly way!) became also part within the group presentations. There were intense discussions and the participants realized very soon that there are many different possibilities to strike one idea and that many designers may find more ways to question design than one designer, who plans everything alone.

All in all we had a wonderful time!

Sebastian Cremers together with Piero Glina,  2015