Julia Hasting: The unusual book designer

Julia Hasting, creative director of Phaidon Press, has designed books that come vacuum packed like ham and doodled all over like a student notebook.

Zurich-based book designer Julia Hasting is the creative director for Phaidon Press, a publishing house who treat books like objects as well as conveyors of information. Under her guidance, Phaidon has gained a reputation for making unusually artistic books.

In this interview, Julia Hasting talks about some of the various books she has worked on with Phaidon. One of her early masterpieces was a book called Cream. The pages were super wide and the contents laid out like an exhibition. When the book was printed, Hasting decided to vacuum pack it like ham of coffee for the supermarket. 

“It was to kind of to get the idea across that this is now, this exhibition is now,” says Hasting. “If you open it then it is fresh." 

Inside its plastic covering the book was as hard as wood, but when the vacuum was broken the pages became floppy and the book softened and curved.

Another book that Hasting explains, Akademy X: Lessons in Art + Life, was put together to echo a student’s binder with collected lessons and doodled portraits of the teachers.

“There is a romance with books definitely,” says Hasting, who saddens at the thought of books being sold through thumbnail images in digital shops.

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