The book design

I know you will all be getting absolutely sick of the number of posts I have been doing about my book, but publication day only comes once in a blue moon and I have now spotted that Pentagram have done a very nice piece on their website about its design (

As it says, I have worked with Harry Pearce both at the Royal Academy and in the design of the book (now, sadly, out of print) which I did, also for Thames and Hudson, on East London. Following this, he was recruited to do the redesign of Thames and Hudson’s typographic identity, a job of exceptional significance given Thames and Hudson’s long-established involvement in issues of book and graphic design. I felt that the design of the book strangely benefitted from lockdown because of the amount of time he and his assistant designer, Johannes Grimond, were able to devote to its look and layout, tweaking the relationship of image to text and the overall visual layout jointly with Johanna Neurath, the Director of Design at Thames and Hudson, in a way which immeasurably enhances it and gives it a very distinctive visual character.

I did not know the sans-serif typeface they used, as I probably should have done – Paul Renner’s Futura. Renner was a member of the Deutsche Werkbund, published books on typography in the early 1920s and designed Futura in 1927. Since the first museum I cover is MoMA, which itself has had such an identifiable modernist typographic tradition, there is a subtle – or perhaps not so subtle – homage in the look and feel of the book to the legacy of Alfred Barr.


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