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Just in case any of you folk missed my email invite.
Exhibition opening for Alan Ward: Books
A collection of our favourite books from the studio
The A0 photographs of Chorltonians with our books, taken by Len Grant hanging in the windows, are the images we used on an earlier trade advert see here for details.
Newport PR read as follows:
Alan Ward runs Axis Graphic Design in Manchester. For the last twenty years he has been designing publications for galleries individual artists and publishing houses, working for some of the most noteworthy artists around today. The exhibition contains a variety of outstanding examples of modern book design and clearly illustrates the central role a designer plays in the integration of text image and format.
Accompanying the exhibition are a series of tagged videos that show the publications’ content in double time on YOUTUBE
My Introduction panel:
Little did I realise the journey I was embarking on when I graduated from Newport in the late 8os, although all the signs were there in retrospect. I made my first concertina book in my final year. I was really interested in photography and it drove and inspired much of my work. I often gate crashed ‘Doc Phot’ events and lectures, and it was here that I first encountered many of today’s leading British photographic exponents, and it was with some of them that I started my editorial design journey.
I designed many of the early Cornerhouse photographic books, progressively broadening my field into gallery and contemporary art spheres, where I have ultimately established the studio’s practice. Almost all my work is based in the cultural sector and my role is often as collaborator, editor, researcher as well as designer and in some cases publisher too. I feel genuinely lucky to work closely with artists and curators on a daily basis.
It’s always difficult to encapsulate the sum of a book when it’s being displayed in a vitrine. Much of which I pride myself on is buried and not immediately visible in design terms. Books for me are a very personal, often quiet, tactile experience. You can mulled it over, flick through it and revisit many times, discovering new elements. It’s not just the cover but the feel of the paper stock, the smell of the ink, the binding, or the white space on the page. All these elements and more add up to the whole. For me a successful design process is one where you appreciate and enjoy the work first and then notice that the design is actually quite good too.
Selecting just a few representative spreads from a small selection of books has been almost impossible. I’ve QR tagged several of the books on display to a set of modest little videos on YouTube of me leafing through them at speed, should you wish to explore them a little more.
Acknowledgements: My thanks to Len Grant for use of these portraits, Martin Stockley and Manchester University Press for the extra supplies of their respective publications. To Seb my son for making the little videos in our back room at home and to Paul Morris for inviting me back. And finally to Mikey, Martyn and Paul for those enduring Newport memories!