Implementing ideas radically
The Swiss graphic designer Julia Born lives in Amsterdam. Since graduating from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie she has worked on her own projects and for clients in Switzerland and Holland. She submitted six books for the Swiss Federal Design Competition, produced as commissions or on her own initiative between 2003 and 2006. The jury praises Julia Born's conceptual design approach and admired the fact that the straight lines convey a sense of personal handwriting. One of the chief characteristics of her books is that they are radical implementations of an idea that reflects the contents.
The publication 'Ofoffjoff – One To One' with the Dutch fashion designer Joff for example is more than just a look book. Julia Born describes her years of work with 'JOFF' as a joint search for unconventional ways of presenting fashion. Proportion and size are important elements of the collection and Julia Born adopts these for the design of the book as well. She decided to show the ten outfits life-size, divided among eight to twelve posters. So each figure is shown in the book cut to pieces and bundled. New combinations and juxtapositions of clothes, parts of the body and fabrics emerge on every double page. The posters also allude to the star cut-ups in the youth magazine 'Bravo' and to the way an outfit comes into being. 'Ofoffjoff – One To One' as a publication sees itself as continuation of the fashion collection, and not just a record of it.
For the exhibition catalogue 'Le Nouveau Siècle', Julia Born (with Lorenz Brunner) builds the chief characteristic of the exhibition venue – its symmetry – into the book design. The Gracht House dating from 1672 follows the rules of symmetry completely, even where it has no function. For example, false doors are included, or patterns extended merely for the sake of perfection. The two graphic designers take over the idea of symmetry as follows: they structure the content rigorously, and centre it in part. They have also devised a pictorial section of their own showing items and places in the building that conceal an element of asymmetry within themselves despite symmetrical composition. The title on the cover is folded in as a flap on its central axis at the back and the front. As the title is presented twice, half of it each time, it remains intelligible as a whole on the cover. Both these books show clearly how Julia Born transforms content into design.