Assignment: On the occasion of CraftNOW's fiftieth anniversary as a collaborative organization in Philadelphia, they set out to create a book that captures the essence of contemporary craft in Philadelphia — a city at the national center of fine craft and making. Because of Philadelphia's roots as a craft epicenter date back to the history of our nation, the city itself was to serve as a supporting role in visual storytelling.
The concept for this book comes directly from an essay within it — and from the city itself.
Don Miller, a woodworker, and educator writes, “The city surprises with treasures of material culture at every turn. The ghosts of generations of woodworkers, metalsmiths, and potters are our invisible companions as we make our work among the shops in which they labored ... cultures of making — are manifest in our day-to-day surroundings.”
Using this passage as a foundation, the concept of merging the past and present began to take shape. Throughout the book, the design confronts the reader with the juxtaposition of Philadelphia’s historical significance and contemporary mastery.
The book uses typography to call attention to the craft of original typesetting design — from the folios to the essay titles and author credits (which appear in a Colonial-era script). Formally designed chapter openers use a modern serif — justified with extreme care. These opening passages appear over the “ghosted” images of Philadelphia’s past. Most of the ghosted images reside in the public domain and are reproductions of etchings found in books about Philadelphia published in the 1800s. The inside front cover endpapers feature an interior view of Independence Hall, while the inside back cover endpapers feature what is now the Philadelphia Museum of Art. History is inescapable.
Photo essays — boldly arranged throughout the book — provide an extraordinary perspective into the makers of today, expertly photographed by Jessica Kourkounis. Large, full-bleed images, bright colors, and bold typography show the reader what an exciting city Philadelphia is, was, and — continues to be — for artists and makers of all kinds. The cutting edge of contemporary craft resides in Philadelphia today. Vibrant. Engaging. Bold.
To call further attention to the craft of bookmaking, Swiss binding, colored thread, a ribbon bookmark, along with embossed title on the front cover all work together to elevate details many readers might otherwise never notice and offer a more tactile experience.
Craft Capital was released in October 2019 in Philadelphia. The release event was held in conjunction with the American Craft Council annual conference event programming. The release was a great success, and the book generated incredible praise from some of the industry's fiercest critics. Our happy client had this to say about the design of the book, "Amazing! I couldn't be more thrilled."