5 February 2009
The scariest taboo?
Sagmeister’s credit list questions designers’ reluctance to discuss fees
Abrams is about to republish Stefan Sagmeister’s Made You Look, first published in 2001 by Booth-Clibborn Editions, and reviewed in ‘Another self-indulgent design monograph’ (Eye no. 41 vol. 11). The book is exactly as it was, with perhaps a little more silvery finesse for the fore-edge (see foot of blog), and an overly dark shade of red for the transparent slipcase.
Given the vast number of design monographs – variously inspiring, smart, self-indulgent, baffling and plain dumb – that come the way of design mags, one of the more memorable elements of Made You Look is a credit section that details the number of hours spent on each project, together with the fee, cheerfully breaking a long-standing taboo among graphic designers.
Sagmeister also rates the quality of each project with a score – from 1 (H. P. Zinker album package, rated good) – down to 5 (packaging for DeathDrome CD-ROM).
Few design monographs are this open, though the recent For the Love of Vinyl: The Album Art of Hipgnosis (Picturebox) – see review in Eye 70 – slapped a self-deprecating ‘turkey’ symbol on the famous British practice’s less successful album covers (including the Shadows’s Specs Appeal and Wings’ London Town.
Could this be the beginning of a new, ‘bare-chested’ approach to books about graphic design? [Look out for our review of Design Disasters in the forthcoming Eye 71, Ed.]
Not bloody likely: money and fees are never mentioned in magazines, lectures or even blogs.
Sagmeister: Made You Look by Peter Hall, designed by Stefan Sagmeister and ‘improved by Chee Pearlman’, is published by Abrams on 9 March 2009 ($40, £24.99).
Top: Detail from ‘More credits’ spread (below). Look closely and you will see that James ‘Blood’ Ulmer got a better deal than fellow jazz guitarist Pat Metheny. But the cover scored ‘3’ compared to Imaginary Day’s ‘1-2’, so that’s ok.
Above: Flex the book one way and the title is revealed on its silver fore-edge (flex it the other way for a pattern of bones). Below: The front cover.
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Writing and editing: anonymous hack