Rene Wanner's Poster Page


All Men are Brothers - Designer's Edition
by Jianping He, published by hesign International, Berlin (DE) & Shanghai (CN) (2006); 664 pages, 18 x 25 x 5 cm, more than 1000 color illustrations; softcover in hard case; ISBN 3-9810544-0-7; in english and chinese; Euro 55 (about US$ 68)
A luxurious book asking 108 leading contemporary poster artists eight basic questions on life and design, and showing their recent work. The title refers to a famous classical chinese novel about 108 Robin Hoods fighting for freedom, for the poor and against the rich, and for mutual respect of each other.
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A list of all 108 artist and groups is in the News item about the book.

All men are brothers is the english title of one of the four famous chinese novels from the 11th century, given to it by it's translator Pearl Buck. The original chinese title was The outlaws of the marsh and tells the story of the bandit Song Jiang, basically a good man and some sort of chinese Robin Hood who, together with 107 companions, took from the rich and gave to the poor, fought corruption and mismanagement and injustice.

All men are brothers - Designers edition is a modern day version of the old classic. For each of 108 courageous, honest and selfless contemporary graphic designers, it shows a picture of his or her chinese ancestor, a portrait with all the necessary contact information, a biography, a list of publications, exhibitions and awards, a standardized interview with 8 questions and 6 full pages with important work, and all this in both chinese and english. It is a marvel of book design, in my opinion, not only in the way it handles the two languages, but in the concentrated presentation of text and pictures, like an art book from it's visual impact and layout and like a telephone directory from it's information density. It is also produced superbly, with pleasent paper, a readable font, interesting and colorful side borders, a shiny paper cut, a solid slipcase, and so on. It recently won a prize in the "book" section of Golden Bee 7 in Moscow.

Upper left corner of Kari Piippo's page

Here are some sample pages:

Andrei Logvin

Lech Majewski

Shin Matsunaga

One of the attractions of the book are the 8 questions:

  • Why did you choose graphic design as your profession?
  • How is graphic design present in your life?
  • Where does your design inspiration come from?
  • How many years of graphic design training have you received? Do you think the academic education about graphic design is important for designers?
  • Does your cultural background account for the main influence in your design?
  • Does literature, theater, music or any other subject contribute to your work?
  • Who would you name as the greatest master of graphic design?
  • Besides design, what other hobbies do you have?

    and just when I started to make notes on how uniformly or how diversely some questions have been answered, I found a short compilation at the end of the book, doing just that, pointing out that 20 designers like good food and wine, about 8 each like Cassandre, El Lisitskii, Henryk Tomaszewski, Shigeo Fukuda and Paul Rand, and nearly all claim that graphic design is dominating their life (24 hours, all my life, difficult to get away from it, the whole life, a fulltime job, all around ...). Interestingly, Jianping He, the editor and publisher of the book, claims that graphic design acounts for only 49% of his life.

    Jianping He has become well known during the past years for his many books on graphic designers that he edited. This is his first work where he is also his own publisher, and it is obvious that he enjoyed the new freedom to show the world what can be done by an unbridled passionate book and poster designer.

  • home   more reviews  page created on October 29, 2006 / this section is part of Rene Wanner's Poster Page /