Computer Arts - - Project Diary -

Emma Thomas and Kirsty Carter re­veal the process and think­ing be­hind the Basquiat: Boom for Real ex­hi­bi­tion’s com­pan­ion cat­a­logue The de­sign of the pub­li­ca­tion was ac­tu­ally the start­ing point of the whole project, as this was the as­pect we worked on first. We took a stripped back ap­proach to the cat­a­logue’s de­sign, al­low­ing the work to sit at the fore­front of each page. The book in­cor­po­rates im­ages of works along­side fac­sim­i­lies of many of the doc­u­ments, ar­ti­cles, clip­pings, notes and ephemeral con­tent in­cluded within the ex­hi­bi­tion. It also fea­tures rare photography and pre­vi­ously un­pub­lished ma­te­rial.

Ti­tles in the book are set in hel­vetica neue ex­tended, play­ing with the pro­por­tions of words in Basquiat’s work. Con­trast­ingly, the es­says are set in sabon, a leg­i­ble serif type­face that gives the con­tent a more aca­demic aes­thetic. The es­say text of­ten con­tained quo­ta­tions of text that ap­pear in Basquiat’s works, which were fully cap­i­talised. They looked odd when set in sabon. For this text we used neue haas grotesk reg­u­lar in­stead, a neu­tral-feel­ing sans-serif that com­pli­mented the visual weight of sabon more ef­fec­tively than hel­vetica neue could. This was im­por­tant to not break reader flow.

Ephemeral ma­te­rial was high­lighted us­ing full-bleed yel­low back­grounds on pages at the end of each sec­tion, echo­ing the dis­rup­tive wall colour used in the ex­hi­bi­tion.

Most pre­vi­ous cat­a­logue cov­ers in­cor­po­rate a busy crop of one of his paint­ings, which is dif­fi­cult to lay text over. We wanted to tap into Basquiat’s play­ful side, and af­ter com­ing across black and white pho­to­graphs of him work­ing, we knew that this had to be the book cover. There’s so much en­ergy, and he doesn’t ap­pear self­con­scious as with other im­ages of him. The cover text was screen printed over the top in a nod to the way that Basquiat him­self lay­ered and used dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als.

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