Q&A: Barbara Iwanicka

The jacket of Grand Stand 4 can be unwrapped to reveal a gloriously colourful A3 poster.

The newest book from Frame Publishers – Grand Stand 4 – hits the shops this week. It is latest addition to the sought-after book series which is brimming with articles outlining how design concepts are developed and executed – but what of the book's own design? Before it is unleashed on the world, we decided to find out more by chatting with Barbara Iwanicka, the designer at Frame Publishers who is responsible for the concept of this beautiful book.

What first hits you about the book are the geometric shapes. How did this design come about?

When we started talking about the design for Grand Stand 4, there were two things that we wanted to focus on: the limited floor area available at many trade fairs; and the way the stand designers play with light. Combining these two, the idea of a kaleidoscope emerged and became a starting point for the book concept. In the beginning, I made multiple typefaces constructed from coloured objects creating pattern-like fonts. One of them was built from triangles and I liked this one the most as it resembled two-dimensional prisms.

How is the concept implemented throughout the whole book?

Every chapter in the book has its own colour, and transition between the chapters is marked by the intro spreads where the colours merge and create the gradient, like light falling through the prism. The kaleidoscope concept gave us lot of space to play with layout, colour and proportions. The margins are very small, but big enough to create an idea of objects contained on the page. The text and the images cut-into each other, creating kaleidoscopic patterns. For typography we wanted a strong, geometrical but contemporary font that would enhance a feeling of pattern. We have chosen Swiss typeface LL Brown and couldn’t be happier with our choice.

Did you create the title and chapter fonts?

Yes, I created a simple grid consisting of the same size triangles. With such a pattern, one can create any kind of characters and they don’t all have to be the same but they still look like they are from the same family. If you look at the cover letters A, N and D, they are almost the same but not quite.

Which idea came first: the poster; linen spine; or silkscreen cardboard cover?

The ideas for the cover came more or less together, after a long process. We wanted to make the book special, give it more layers. The book is printed on beautiful Munken paper, which has a great tactility and gives printed images a rich depth. The cardboard cover is very minimal, so we wanted to spice it up with a full of colour jacket/poster.

Do you think people will unwrap the book straight away, or is it more of a slow process?

I think it very much depends. I can imagine people unfolding the poster and then they won't want to fold it again, but hang it straight away on the wall or wrap a present in it. The poster has this cool pattern that changes with each fold and reveals colourful images of the stands from the book.

Will you go for the ‘jacket on’ or ‘jacket off’?

My choice would be jacket off, simply because I love the screen print on the cardboard and the linen spine is so detailed and so beautiful. The poster will go on the wall of my home studio!

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This is the first book from Frame Publishers that has a jacket that is intentionally designed to be unwrapped to reveal the delights beneath. We are interested to hear if you too will unwrap your Grand Stand 4 or keep it swathed in its colourful poster. Click here to find out more about the book and to order your copy!

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