Monday, September 13, 2010

Design on the Airwaves

I had the chance of speaking about book design on live radio. It was nerve-racking, although you can't be seen shaking, it shows through your voice. I just wish I did better, but I think it went pretty well, eventually. The Shelve It show at Jam 88.3 every thursdays at 2 p.m. is an entire hour well spent on book reviews with DJ Lana facilitating who also was very nice and accommodating.

I talked about the design inspirations and processes of our lovely book, Unfolding Half A Century: The Lopez Memorial Museum and Library. It was the perfect project given to me through ArtPost Asia that took merely almost a month to finish, just in time for the yuletide season last year. Just imagine how gruesome the production schedule was. The hard work was all worth it. The book is exquisite, I'm so proud of it.

The inspiration for the book was the museum itself. If you have been to the Lopez Museum in Ortigas, perhaps you have noticed that their charm and strength lie in the maximization of an ample space in one of the corners of the Benpres building. A spectacular wooden door with carvings by the National Artist Napoleon Abueva greets by the entrance. Though the reception hall is a simple business place, when you get deeper inside, more magical surprises await. As you pass through, an entirely new exhibit mounts in another space. As if you have gone through a time space warp in a flash.

That museum experience is exactly what I wanted the reader to feel in the book.

Surprises entice you to keep on reading and turn the pages from cover to cover. There's a narrative upon narrative: the story of the museum's glorious years and the objects and collections create curiosity throughout the book. I was very fortunate to have the privilege in designing the book with creative freedom. The museum staff was very accommodating and cooperative, that helps importantly in achieving the vision I had for the design.

The museum has been the forerunner in mounting cutting-edge exhibit concepts and design. They have a vast and very interesting art collections, rare books in the library, and the most advanced art conservation laboratory locally. This image of the museum has to be incorporated in the book. I had the chance to study their interesting collections and look closely among them. Since I love ephemera, vintage books and illustrations, and paintings by the masters, this is the project I surely love doing even when deprived of sleep. Every object is celebrated in the book, a sampling of what you can find in the museum. I think the design has achieved its edginess by curating the objects as if curating in a gallery, only this time it's done on the print. I stayed away from conventional layout and the grid and maximized the use of layering, sense of movement, and simplicity in the design.

I have attached a photo describing how the inside pages look like. But the actual print definitely looks much better - surely a visual feast. If you are interested to get a copy of the book, you may contact the Lopez museum through Fanny or Jane at (632) 631-2417 or

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