My parents definitely introduced me to a lot of culture. My dad was keen on French bandes dessinées (comic strips) and music, which probably had something to do with my brother becoming a musician later on. My mom was very interested in architecture, product design, and classic and modern art, which she introduced us to…
…I was always more focused on graphic design, but I ended up doing illustration in a convoluted way. I started using a brush pen to break free from working on a computer all of the time and to experiment creatively. I felt quite comfortable with it and could draw letters as well as characters. That’s when I realized that the practice of illustration and graphic design aren’t necessarily exclusive. I also discovered designers like Alan Fletcher, Saul Bass, and Paul Rand, whose work all had a great sense of playfulness and a tactile aspect that I was really fond of.
Modern Life, a compendium of Jullien’s best known work, will be published by teNeues next month.
Remember Those Great Volkswagen Ads? is a short documentary about the classic, highly influential ad campaigns created by Manhattan advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) for Volkwagen in the 1950s and 60s:
New books, this piece of writing, everything is riding on that new cover. Is the mood right? Does the imagery hint at what is going on in the text? Did you tell too much? Did you tell too little? Yes, it takes place in the winter, but we want it as a summer read, so try to avoid seasons; she would never dress like that, or maybe she would, but it makes an off-putting cover; I know everyone in the book dies – but that image is so depressing no one will buy it; is the author’s name prominent enough? The type has to be much, much larger. We understand the word has sixteen letters, make it larger. No, it can’t go sideways, people can’t read sideways. I know spines read sideways, that’s not the same. No, no it’s not, and no, this word cannot be broken. We realize the title is part of the problem, we know it’s confusing, we can’t change it. Ok, the type is too condensed; it’s ok if it goes smaller if we can get a nicer font. Have you tried it sideways? The author hates it sideways and is suggesting you try championing condensed 87, do you have that font? I don’t know who designed this, I think it was one of his students, he asked that we show it to “the art dept;” I know, I know, now I can at least say I did. It’s approved! Sales didn’t like the cover, we have to change it. Was it just one person? Bob, how many in sales disliked the cover? Oh, it was just Jim, he’s always out in left field, never mind, glad I asked. Or, yes it was just Sally, BUT she looooves this book. I know you did too, we all do, we still need a new cover by next Tuesday’s deadline. Huge chain “X” wont commit to this book with this cover, I know we all loved it maybe you can save it for something else, here are some suggestions from the buyer, at least they are trying to be helpful.
You can read my 2009 Q & A with Paul here, and my 2010 interview with Paul and Christopher Brand about their book Penguin 75here.
I love what I do and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of amazing art directors on a lot of great projects. I’m always grateful for the work I get. But I’ve talked to a lot of women in the industry over the years, and there is a clear pattern we’ve all experienced. One day a few months ago, I was commissioned to work on the backlist of a prolific women’s lit author. Minutes later, an art director called about a memoir in which the author was “always the bridesmaid.” Later that day: a novel about a wife dealing with her husband’s indifference while balancing her new career and motherhood. Three projects from three different art directors. All aimed directly at women readers.
I doubt that many of my male colleagues have had the same experience. And that day wasn’t an anomaly.
The talented art director and cover designer Catherine Casalino has told me, “When you’re on the receiving end of a project, it’s hard to say no, and even harder to explain why you don’t want to work exclusively on women’s fiction,” and continued with, “I think if we mixed things up a little more—hired women to design sports books and hired men to design cookbooks—we’d get some fresh and unexpected designs. And that would benefit all of us in the industry.” Another female designer has written to me saying, “It’s no surprise that women are assigned these topics—being women, it’s natural to assume we are interested in these things—but sometimes the associations are so tenuous that you start wondering if the gender bias is actually a form of laziness.”