Javier Jaén's monograph provides an perception into his course of
The graphic designer Javier Jaén describes his new monograph as a “diary without a lock”. Over 392 pages, Greetings from Javier Jaén Studio are an exploration of the many paths Jaén has taken during his career and are intended to be a source of inspiration, advice and insight.
Jaén has created work for the New York Times, The New Yorker, Washington Post, Time, National Geographic, Louis Vuitton and many others, creating a visual language in which he plays with everyday objects, images and words. The experimentation with double meanings and symbols is enormous and the biggest challenge in putting the monograph together was to condense your work and then think of a way to organize it in the book. "Although there is an iron structure, it is invisible. I wanted to build a system that was flexible enough to be able to speak with multiple voices and in different tones, ”explains Jaén.
All images courtesy of Javier Jaén Studio, Javier Jaén and published by Counter-Print Books
“The book does not contain a single main theme. It's about the environment, technology, love, sex, diversity, art, literature, religion, science, gastronomy, health, sports, wild capitalism, social movements, economics, terrorism and war, politics, justice, archeology, coronavirus, music, theater , Fashion, wine and some graphic designs and illustrations…. For me it is very important to work with the rhythm of reading. The ordering of the material in this book was like a movie. "
A big part of the book is the insight Jaén gives into his creative process and the advice he has for those looking to get into the industry. "I've never been interested in secrecy. If this book can help someone in any way, then all of my work will make sense," he says. "It's not a book about how to do things, it's how I explain them and why they worked or were a disaster. "
Jaén was born in Barcelona and lives there. He decided to print the monograph in both Spanish and English. "I've always had a very internationalist view of the world," he explains. "I understand pictures as an almost universal form of language, and although English is the Esperanto of the 21st century, it was important to me to be able to express myself with the nuances of my mother tongue," explains the designer.
The book was published by Counter-Print and as with his other publications, the design of the book was carefully considered and was a collaboration with Jaén. "They were professional and human and gave all their support with design issues as well as logistics and my endless existential doubts during the book process," says the designer. “The final design of the book tries to be practically invisible and to highlight the content. The book is a strange Frankenstein of projects and reflections. "
Jaén says that after exploring various avenues for design, he felt that a low key and straightforward approach would work best. “We wanted a book that was a good size to read and enjoy, and paper that would match the originals of many of the works in the book,” he explains. However, what made the process more difficult than normal was the arrival of the pandemic, and most of the book was compiled during the lockdown. “For several weeks I had serious doubts as to whether it made sense to do this book in the strange world that I saw from the window. It's a pretty introspective book in some ways, and the interior landscape wasn't particularly colorful then, ”says Jaén.
Despite the challenges, Jaén values what he has accomplished with the book and hopes that whoever picks it up will find it useful. “Those who buy it should know that my mother is very happy every time one is sold. Buying the book doesn't force you to read either. So if you don't do it for me, do it for her, ”he says. "There are still about seven billion people who haven't bought it. From a business perspective, it's an embarrassing number, frankly."
Greetings from Javier Jaén Studio are available at counter-print.co.uk. javierjaen.com