Autumn 2010

Print for the rag brands

Graphic Design for Fashion

By Jay Hess and Simone Pasztorek, Laurence King, £26

Graphic Design for Fashion features inspiring work for small to mid-size fashion labels, such as Eley Kishimoto and Acne, by mainly up-and-coming design studios. Short introductions give insights into each studio’s approach to both brief and client. Designed by ByBoth (aka authors Hess and Pasztorek), the book is a source of inspiration and research into innovative approaches to design for fashion.

Samples of work are well photographed but the typography is less satisfying: neither adventurous nor classically simple.

The book falls short of having a ‘global selection of the best graphic design studios in the industry,’ as claimed in its synopsis, since it omits more established designers such as David James or Fabien Baron.

Similarly, the book does not feature bigger fashion labels such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Prada. I would have liked to see the works of brands such as Comme des Garçons – who use a very distinct graphic style as their identity and in their advertising rather than focusing on photography as most other labels do.

The book focuses primarily on show invitations, look books and packaging. The brand section briefly touches how graphic design works across various applications and how it evokes aspiration. Acne (with its in-house Acne Art Department), is a great example of an aspirational brand. Further information about the role of trademarks and online applications would have given us a more comprehensive picture of graphic design in fashion.

Perhaps the book is mislabelled, as it does have an appreciable amount of insight to offer. It would be appropriate to promote the book for its fantastic collection of work by contemporary designers, including Paolo Bazzani, Sean Carmody’s Commissioned Works NY for Rachel Comy and Aboud Creative. The book has enough content to inspire young designers to create stylish and engaging print material for an industry that continues to set its own standards within graphic design.

First published in Eye no. 77 vol. 20 2010

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.