Sunday, December 30, 2007

Case Study - Art Book Process

48 pages plus cover, perfect bound, 8x10" finished size
Project beginning – 2/17/07
Project complete – 11/20/07

(Rough images for blog only.  Final images will appear in Work section of k2forma main site soon.)

‘This [approach] allowed me to organize the images by sensibility rather than date of completion. Ultimately, this was what I wanted to deliver, a challenge to the reader to explore Corey’s work in ways they previously had not.’ 

I met my former professor, Corey Postiglione, in snowy NYC last February (’07) to walk the galleries in Chelsea and enjoy some Indian food. We began discussing his upcoming 30-year retrospective show at the Evanston Arts Center in January 2008. He asked me to design the catalog to accompany the show. Additionally, I was to select the images from his entire body of work that were to be included. It was to be a comprehensive review of his work, but not a monograph. A daunting task, considering that I knew Corey, but was not as familiar with the various status positions of his work, i.e., the important pieces.

I began thinking through the various approaches that I could take with this special project. Initially I thought of organizing the work in a traditional, chronological order. But, I really wanted to deliver something special, something unique for my friend’s investment. As we continued our conversation over the months there were two significantly influential experiences that shaped this process. One was a weeklong workshop at the School of Visual Arts with Milton Glaser that I attended. During that week, I was looking at a book that Milton had put together of his drawings, and talking with him about the process for selecting images and composing the book. He said that in his book, he wanted it to read like music flows. From that discussion, I realized that there was no way I could organize the work in Corey’s book chronologically. I wanted to tell a story with his work.

The second influence in this process was my reading John Berger’s The Shape of a Pocket. In the book is an exchange between Berger and Leon Kossof, discussing the model for his drawings and the relationship that has grown as this model came to his studio day in and day out. This exchange resonated with me because in an earlier conversation, Corey had indicated that his body of work had cycled from abstract to figurative and then back to abstract. I noted that throughout Corey’s body of work, the city of Chicago was a constant and central feature, whether the work was abstract or figurative. Initially, these seem like distant connections. But through this excerpt, I began to see the city in Corey’s work as his model. The entity that inspires, frustrates, and intrigues…just like a model.

A few weeks later, I met with Corey in Chicago to finalize the selected images. It was at this meeting that the concept for his catalog really took shape. We agreed to treat the City like a human model and associated human emotions with his relationship to the City and his body of work. Hence, the Discovery, Intimacy, and Anxiety structure. This allowed me to organize the images by sensibility rather than date of completion. Ultimately, this was what I wanted to deliver, a challenge to the reader to explore Corey’s work in ways they previously had not. I wanted the reader to look past the initial beauty and narrative of the work, and search for an understanding of why certain pieces were grouped together.

The Discovery section of the catalog includes all of the paradigm pieces – sketches or works that launched an entire series, or epiphany pieces – the moment of really seeing something that you’ve been looking at for years. The Intimacy section includes the pieces within a series in which the artist is trying to understand his subject from every possible vantage point. The Anxiety section includes works that are somewhat ominous in narrative and sensibility. There’s a desire with these pieces to recapture that moment of discovery, and a sense of insecurity.

I kept the design minimal, maximized the images and anchored them to the outside edge of the page so that nothing would be lost in the gutter. We used McCoy Silk for the paper to mimic the bright white walls of a gallery. 

I like this book because it is like a portable exhibition of Corey’s work, and I am eternally grateful for his faith in this approach.  

Corey Postiglione - Works on Paper 1972 - 2007 opens on January 13 from 1 - 4 p.m. at the Evanston Art Center.  There will be an Artist Talk at 1:30 p.m.   The exhibit runs through February 17, 2008.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Greening Your Business Starts With The Paper You Print On

An abbreviated version of this article also appears in the April 2008 issue of Today's Charlotte Woman

If you hug a tree in the woods, and no one is there to see it, does the tree hug back? Figuratively speaking, yes. While the term ‘tree hugger’ is a bit pejorative, it’s generally accepted that being responsible business people and citizens means doing what we can to preserve and restore our environment. One way your business can do this is by making environmentally sensitive choices when purchasing printed collateral materials. How does the tree hug back? With lower costs. Often, using recycled papers will cost less than the alternative.

In today’s market, there are myriad options for environmental papers. The main considerations for environmental papers are:
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification
- Pre/Post-Consumer product
- Chlorine Free
- Tree Free
all of which can be independent of one another or can be combined in a paper.

The FSC is an international organization that sets standards for responsible forest management and it accredits independent third party organizations that can certify forest managers and forest product producers to FSC standards. This means that when you purchase FSC certified paper, you can be assured that it is coming from a forest that is not being harvested in a way that would damage the natural habitat. Furthermore, you know that the rights of the workers and indigenous communities are respected. However, this is a fairly new certification and there are a limited number of papers that carry the FSC certification. Tim Etcheson, Vice President of Business Development with Wentworth Printers in Columbia, South Carolina also notes that it’s important to know that “if you want to carry the FSC certification on your finished piece, it must be printed with an FSC certified printer. There are several printers that carry this certification and more printers and paper manufacturers are earning certification every day, making it an easier and competitive option for businesses.”

Post-Consumer papers contain a percentage of recycled paper material and/or a percentage of post-consumer waste, while Pre-Consumer papers includes the trimmings and scraps from previous paper production. Many paper manufacturers already include pre-consumer content in their papers.

Chlorine was once a preferred method of bleaching paper pulp to produce a bright white finish, until it was discovered that the dioxin byproducts were contaminating our lakes and rivers. Today, there are several alternative methods to getting a bright white paper without contributing to contamination. Some manufacturers use elemental chlorine free process (ECF), process chlorine free (PCF), or totally chlorine free process (TCF). The ECF method uses chlorine derivatives that reduce dioxins by 90%. The PCF process uses no chlorine or chlorine derivatives and produces no additional dioxins. The TCF process is, true to its name, totally chlorine free. However, TCF papers are often made with virgin wood, eliminating the possibility of it containing recycled product. Many responsible organizations find that the most appealing option is PCF, which creates no additional dioxins and can be used with recycled papers.

It may surprise you to know that paper can be made from just about anything – denim, coconut shells, even old paper money! Tree free papers use any variety of organically derived fibers or ‘agrifibers’ such as hemp, cotton or other non-wood fibers. Often, these materials yield more pulp-per-acre than forests and can be brightened using a TCF process.

Several clients have been pleased to learn that the paper presented to them for their project is FSC certified and contains a percentage of post-consumer content. The misconception is that recycled paper is off-white or tan with some fiber or grain in it. To the contrary, one recent project used a beautiful, bright white sheet for a letterhead and business card package that contained 100% post-consumer content, was brightened process chlorine free, and cost less than comparable papers with fewer environmental benefits. When to opportunity arises, this client can now boast that their magnificent new promo kit is environmentally responsible. Quite a nice little hug.

This article is intended to simplify the terms and numerous options available when selecting paper, and empower businesses to make environmentally sensitive choices. For more detailed information about this topic, here are a few resources:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Invitations - The Pretty Little Workhorse

You've chosen your colors, you've chosen the venue, now it's time for you to choose your invitations. Invitations are the pretty little workhorses of your event. They communicate vital information beyond when and where - they set the tone for what's to come. Whether it's a garden reception for fifty, or a gala at The Plaza for five hundred, your friends and family will begin to get a sense of what to expect by the type of invitation you send.

There are myriad options, from paper color to printing styles, and brides today are redefining tradition. Etiquette advisors say that traditional paper shades for formal invitations range from ivory to white. This isn't necessarily true any more. Contemporary brides are taking cues from other aspects of their lives and creating invitations that serve to brand their event. Injecting your personal style into the invitations the new tradition.

So what do you do if you're overwhelmed with decisions about cakes and dresses and flowers? The best place to begin is your own home. Take a look around at the lovely things you've collected over the years, photos from trips you've taken, or even the clothes you already own. Bring the things that are precious to you into your event. I recently attended a wedding in which the bride and groom had small framed photos of themselves placed throughout the mansion where they were hosting the reception. It was a simple and elegant way to personalize the space for themselves, and it allowed them to share some beautiful and candid moments with their guests. This subtle touch was introduced in the invitation, which was framed and nested in a lovely keepsake box. Upon receiving this invitation, guests knew that they were in for a magical day.

No matter what the scale or tone of your wedding, its your wedding. Making your special day personal and memorable begins with custom invitations. Work with a good designer who will listen and collaborate with you, and you'll have beautiful invitations that convey more than just the time and place, they will tease your guests with the glorious delights to come.

Kelly Koeppel is an award-winning designer and owner of k2forma. For more information, visit