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Art Director at age Thirty!
Phaidon Press and Julia Hasting
By Majid Abbasi

Without a doubt in the past few years we have all noticed the changes in Phaidon Press's book designs. The Phaidon Press, active in different areas such as architecture, industrial design, graphic design, photography etc., is a completely familiar name to Iranians who read art and design books. The art directorship of Phaidon Press was given to the young designer, Julia Hasting effective from 2000. Born in Bremen, Germany in 1970, she was thirty years old at that time. Hasting began graphic design professionally in 1993 when she was in college. She graduated in 1997 from Karlsruhe School of Design. It was at that time when along with her first professional experience she became familiar with the meaning of client andorder especially that her clients forced her to get into contacts with printing and publishing institutions and this was an extraordinary opportunity to gain different professional experiences.
Julia Hasting's first professional project involved a group design under the supervision of Günter Rambow. Rambow was Hasting's instructor in Karlsruhe School of Design and on behalf of Franz Schneider Brakel Company that manufactured door handles was in charge of overlooking this project.



This company had previously worked with Otl Aicher the renowned German designer and the printing and publication of a design collection had brought success to that company. After the death of Aicher the project continued under the supervision of Rambow. Hasting says: "During my studies and along with this achievement, I designed catalogues, posters and identification cards of some companies for several cultural institutes in Karlsruhe including The Media Museum, Center for Art and Mediatechnology and European Film Institute."Hasting believes that being the art director of Phaidon Press is one her most important and ideal experiences. Richard Schlagman, manager of Phaidon welcomes his art director's new, experimental and ultra intellectual ideas and sometimes forces the designer and the art director to be cost effective. He says: "…still sometimes the allocated budget for publication of books interferes with my work. In such cases I am forced to go along with a lower price which is not always completely satisfying." On the other hand, working in Phaidon provided her with the opportunity to work with great authors, photographers, architects, artists and designers. These individuals most of the times desire for their books to be innovative and different and require high quality productions which is particular of a reputable publishing company. The contemporary artist becomes inspired by different ideas for her designs.



Hasting says: "This inspiration could be an architectural model, packaging and typography of a roll of film, the seal of a coffee brand, ornamentation on a sugar cube, a ruffled skirt, a statue, a traffic sign or a bubbled protective nylon, etc. When I begin a new project and think about summarizing a book, the idea dawns on me intuitively. While paying attention to her surroundings, Hasting interprets objects in a more different position that help in the formation of her design ideas. But the logic of communication with the book title and content is always present. "Often the inspiration can be found in the book's contents; a picture, a painting or a quote. But don't forget that after experiencing different methods, perhaps my primary idea will be my final one." In her designs she creates an atmosphere completely relying on logic and establishes a relation between the context of book design and the contents. Freedom of action in designing books and creating an unconventional atmosphere and avoiding previous models by the designer herself or other designers are among significant features of Hasting's designs. When I asked her which project was her preference in designing Phaidon books she said:
"I definitely prefer those titles and contents that require more freedom for the designer. Of course a book about 100 contemporary architects as compared to a book on an artist with an emphasis on the artist's special style, gives the designer more space in shaping a book with a strong designing context but this matter is dependent on my satisfaction and the design's attractiveness; like working on Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne. To me finding a graphical solution that can express his work without extra gaudiness is a challenge."
Designing books and book covers because of high volumes of print and preserving them in private and public libraries are the reasons for her keen interest in this segment of graphic design. Books contrary to advertisement notices or pictured identification cards have a long life and possess a timeless character. Hasting regards books as a three dimensional elements and in the process of designing she designs them not in two but three dimensions. Her designs are not just ordinary staging but the design is a product and ultimately a packaging type perspective towards it. On the process of designing books, Hasting states: "The important point is that designing a book is often a very slow, time consuming and intense process. It requires a lot of patience to in fact be bale to see the end product." Hasting is a designer that has maximized the efficiency of each project through the simplest and clearest elements and she uses image in one place and type in another. Sometimes typographical solutions come in handy conveying a more interesting message. In her eyes, typography is an abstract picture and the contents of every project determine the method, the significance of using and the finesse of its typography. The book, 'AREA' is one of her most prominent design projects that were presented in previous Neshan Magazine's Book Review section. Uwe Loesch introduces her as one of the most distinguished one hundred designers and this is concurrent with Hasting's appointment as a jury member in International Graphic Design Biennale Brno in the Czech Republic in 2004 because of her successive achievements in designing books. In 2000 she was introduced by Günter Rambow as the youngest member of AGI and simultaneously she became a member of American Institute of Graphic Arts and The Art Directors Club, New York.
Julia Hasting is a representative of the young generation. She is experienced and a manager in graphic design and a phenomenon in modern day graphic design with a completely bright future

I thank you for your time.
Main Pages, End Matter, Biographies of Book, Contents Page, Area, 2003