library library —
Towards a graphic design publication practice
Professors: Richard Hunt & Ali S. Qadeer
“The Library has existed ab aeternitate. That truth, whose immediate corollary is the future eternity of the world, no rational mind can doubt. Man, the imperfect librarian, may be the work of chance or of malevolent demiurges; the universe, with its elegant appointments—its bookshelves, its enigmatic books, its indefatigable staircases for the traveler, and its water closets for the seated librarian—can only be the handiwork of a god. In order to grasp the distance that separates the human and the divine, one has only to compare these crude trembling symbols which my fallible hand scrawls on the cover of a book with the organic letters inside—neat, delicate, deep black, and inimitably symmetrical.”—Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel, 1941)
Since the fall of 2019 I’ve been working on the framework for a graphic design publication called library library. Firmly positioned as an anti-speculative design project, library library aims to make work that reaches a public while rejecting the paradigm of client-centred design.
Each issue of library library orbits around a literary text and experiments with form and materiality in ways that challenge the dominant models of commercial graphic design and mainstream publishing. library library explores the performative potential of publication, and asks questions about public institutions and cultural spaces, libraries and archives, design process and authorship.
My aim with this project has been to build a community through collaborative making and to connect with a small yet engaged public through various forms of dissemination, both analog and digital. Because each issue of library library considers visual form not just as a container but as content itself, it functions to elevate the designer to a position usually held by writers and fine artists. library library is an experimental publication model that enables me to use the language of graphic design to re-examine the discipline itself, and to challenge my own role as a designer in both commerce and culture.