Anna Gerber & Brill Iversen (Visual Editions)
"We Don’t Own Anything. Our Readers Do"
The first talk I attended was Anna Gerber and Britt Iversen from the London based publishing agency Visual Editions.
Their ambitions within the company were to push visual storytelling no matter what platform by creating affordable cultural objects. Everything produced is paperback giving you the experience of touching and feeling the visual creation. They wanted to get people talking about different ways of reading and get people debating about the book. Essentially they wanted to ‘punk up’ books and produce a shared experience for different types of audiences.
They only publish books that have visual writing at its core with the aim of furthering the reading experience whether that be image or type based. Creating something that wasn’t ‘just pretty to look at.’ Their aim was to live up to their strapline ‘Great Looking Stories’
They went into depth about the process in which these books were created and how important the relationship between the designer and the author was. They us their intuition to team up the author and designer ensuring they each have different strengths in different and exciting ways, essentially ‘playing matchmaker’. It is all collaborative work, not just between them, the designer and the author, but also with the readers, who share the journey from start to finish. The time and effort that goes into making each individual book makes it a long process but makes people appreciate it more and want to wait for it. For example ‘Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer, was a die cut book with parts of sentences and words cut out of each page. The process in which this was made was documented and shown to share the process with the public, it shows how much detail, care and attention goes into the production of each one and the long process from start to finish.
This was very much about people sharing, being a part of peoples lives and collaboration. It was an interesting take on reading and the ‘visual’ but since our world has become so digitalized, it seems a nice way of getting back to ‘basics’ but in a moden and very different sort of way.