I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say Duke Ellington was one of the most important figures in American music history. The prolific musician, composer, and bandleader was an absolute giant in 20th century music, especially jazz. He accomplished just about everything you could possibly imagine a musician doing and more: perfecting his own skill at the piano, composing hundreds of songs, working with dozens of record labels, surrounding himself with talent & producing other artists, leading world tours, scoring films, achieving huge commercial success, and ultimately influencing popular music for five decades and beyond. DUKE ELLINGTON: An American Composer and Icon is an impressive new 9″ x 12″ hardcover from Rizzoli, edited and designed by Steven Brower, follows Ellington’s career as it progressed from the ’20s right through until his passing in the mid-’70s. [Read More]
Things Organized Neatly is a thoroughly enjoyable new look at everyday objects, carefully arranged and laid out – such that the arrangement is something of a work of art in of itself. This is most satisfying if you’ve got a serious inner neat freak (definitely guilty of this shortcoming myself). The author, Austin Radcliffe, is known for running a Webby Award-winning Tumblr site dedicated to the same topic. [Read More]
Whether or not you’re already a big fan of the work of Los Angeles-based artist Mark Dean Veca (interviewed), I think you’ll agree, his Mark Dean Veca: 20 Years hardcover coffee table book from Zero Plus Publishing is absolutely stunning. It’s almost slightly overwhelming – it’s hard to imagine one person producing so much amazing work, in so many different places, across such a wide array of media. The 11.25 x 11.25″ (28.5 x 28.5 cm) tome boasts 168 pages, with 145 color plates, and text by art critics Shana Nys Dambrot and Carlo McCormick. The signed edition is available in Mark’s online shop.
Once the exclusive domain of film crews tasked with realizing a director’s vision, storyboards have in recent years become appreciated as works of art on their own. This is largely the result of Drawing into Film: Directors’ Drawings, a landmark exhibition held in 1993 at Pace Gallery in New York. The show’s catalog, the first published collection of this rarely seen material, features sketches, drawings, notations, and storyboards by a who’s who of superstar directors, including Sergei Eisenstein, Orson Welles, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Federico Fellini, Tim Burton, and Terry Gilliam. These highly diverse, wildly expressive hand-drawn illustrations—from Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull fight sequence storyboards and Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice character sketches to David Lynch’s surreal Dune landscapes—add new layers of meaning that enhance the experience of these iconic films. Long out of print but available at New Metaphor Books, Drawing into Film a fascinating slice of film history and a fantastic visual feast.
Among the volumes chosen for a recently published collection of 100 classic graphic design books of the past century, one relative newcomer stands out. Featuring a stark white cover and a pink belly band, Designed by Peter Saville (2003) is the first monograph on the legendary British designer. He’s best known for the iconic album covers he designed in the early ’70s and ’80s for Joy Division and New Order. Long out of print but available at New Metaphor Books, it’s a fitting tribute to one of the late 20th century’s most influential designers and an indispensable creative resource. Designer Christopher Wilson’s austere and restrained layout resonates with the quiet intensity of Saville’s best work, the first twenty-five years of which is presented here in detail. Critical essays and an in-depth interview explore Saville’s creative process and unconventional working methods, revealing his genius for turning radical design provocations—from brazen acts of art appropriation to mad mashups of Post Punk’s New Wave aesthetic with Jan Tschichold’s New Typography—into iconic images with an uncanny ability to capture the cultural moment.
Outside the Box: Hand-Drawn Packaging from Around the World by Gail Anderson is a new paperback title from Princeton Architectural Press, which explores the resurgence of hand-drawn packaging in this computer-driven era. She is a former Senior Art Director at Rolling Stone. Her beautifully laid-out monograph documents countless examples of hand-drawn designs, sorted into four main categories: DIY, Art, Craft, and Artisanal Lettering. [Read More]