Imagine that the internet is dying and everyone is moving back to print. (Yes, the opposite of now.) And imagine that both older and younger people are the ones spearheading and embracing this change. Imagine that you’ve only ever known digital books and physical ownership is a new concept. Your world has only ever consisted of using, swapping, and sharing images and words online. You’ve never actually received a book as a gift with a handwritten inscription nor cut books into pieces then collaged them back together again gaining rights to your remixed work. This is the ethos behind the fantastic new Gestalten design book, Fully Booked: Ink on Paper. It’s a tongue-in-cheek yet serious (and necessary) ode to the concept and design of printed matter in our accelerating digital age.
Riffing on the fact that, in our current climate, most digital materials are disappointing, Fully Booked aims to highlight the enduring pleasures of print. What would happen if we lost the art of binding, embossing, letterpress, gilded edges, and innovative spine design? What would happen if that tactile experience went away? Personally, I shudder to think about it and am thrilled that Gestalten—continual publishers of relevant and innovate design publications—has printed something addressing the necessity of printed and bound words and images.
Aside from celebrating the design, workmanship, materials, artistry, and techniques that have gone into printing beautiful books, Fully Booked highlights a variety of designers and bookmakers truly pushing the boundaries of concept and design. The book is divided into five chapters that are given identities—The Storyteller, The Showmaster, The Teacher, The Businessman, and The Collector—and each one represents key roles print plays today. It makes for a fun read, too, as each identity “speaks” in the first person. Edited by Gestalten’s Robert Klanten, Matthias Hübner, and Huffington Post Senior Books Editor Andrew Losowsky, Fully Booked is currently available in Europe and makes its way to the U.S. in April. Read more here.