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We love design; it’s what we do and it drives us to nurture the partnerships we have with our clients. We believe that listening is critical, process is key, collaboration is vital, and that design is a valuable contribution to the world of business, art, and culture. The 21xdesign blog features anything from discussing recent projects, exploring antique books we love, to the technologies that drive our profession.

Shelf Life – Faust by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe & Harry Clarke

Posted by on 7:39 pm in Blog, Publishing, Shelf Life | 0 comments

Shelf Life – Faust by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe & Harry Clarke

For Shelf Life this week, we’re looking at “Faust,” written by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe and illustrated by Harry Clarke. This story was first published in 1790 and is considered to be one of the greatest works in German literature. It’s a story that tells of a man named Faust who makes a deal with the devil to get anything he wants in exchange for being a servant in Hell. After the deal backfires and Faust loses someone he loves, he must redeem himself. The illustrator, Harry Clarke, was very prominent in the Irish Arts and Crafts Movement....

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Shelf Life – Ulysses

Posted by on 7:39 pm in Blog, Publishing, Shelf Life | 0 comments

Shelf Life – Ulysses

Still keeping with the theme of “Ireland,” this week’s Shelf Life is about James Joyce’s Ulysses. Ulysses was published in February 1922 by Sylvia Beach, in Paris. Ulysses tells the story of an “ordinary” day, June 16th, 1904, for Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. Ulysses is the Latin name for Odysseus (the hero in Homer’s epic poem Odyssey) and its structure is in parallel with that of the Odyssey. Ulysses is considered to be one of the most important novels of 20th century literature. It’s stream of consciousness writing, and myriad...

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Shelf Life – The Tain

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Shelf Life – The Tain

In honor of St. Patrick’s day and 21xdesign’s Irish heritage, this week’s Shelf Life blog is about a famous Irish epic called The Cattle Raid of Cooley (Táin Bó Cuailnge). This ancient epic tale (the oldest phonetic tale in Europe) tells the story of a giant cattle raid, the invasion of Ulster by the armies of Medb and Ailill, queen and king of Connacht,  seeking to carry off the great Brown Bull of Cuailinge. They are opposed by the teenage Ulster hero Cú Chulainn. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones then this story is...

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Shelf Life – Typo by Walter Marti

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Shelf Life – Typo by Walter Marti

This week we’re highlighting the book Typo by the Swiss designer Walter Marti. It’s a wonderful type & printing specimen book that was printed in Lucerne, Switzerland in 1957. This is a stunning showcase, not only of vivid typography, but also great printing techniques and selections of paper in the form of letterheads, envelopes, and business cards. The book is remarkable for being produced so soon after World War 2. In many ways, this book is a testament to the human spirit and the indomitable force of artistic nature and curiosity. The...

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Shelf Life – Godey’s Lady’s Book, June 1889

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Shelf Life – Godey’s Lady’s Book, June 1889

This week we’re taking a look at this beautiful vintage book called Godey’s Lady’s Book. These books were printed from 1830 until 1898 in our own city of Philadelphia. Louis Antoine Godey began the publication of these lady’s books in 1830, and he designed them specifically for the American woman. He wanted to keep the ladies of American informed as well as entertained. These books not only contained fashion and different patterns, they had stories, articles, sketches, even sheet music! As the popularity of these books began to grow, more influential writers had their work featured, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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Shelf Life – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Illustrated by Lynd Ward

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Shelf Life – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Illustrated by Lynd Ward

In the spirit of Halloween, we decided that this week Shelf Life should be devoted to what is probably one of the greatest and most enduring horror stories in literature. This week we’re talking about a beautiful edition of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, illustrated by one of our favorite illustrators Lynd Ward.

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Shelf Life – What Makes Day and Night by Franklyn M. Branley & Illustrated by Helen Borten

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Shelf Life – What Makes Day and Night by Franklyn M. Branley & Illustrated by Helen Borten

Teaching science to young children can be pretty challenging, especially trying to explain something as complex as the Earth’s rotation in the solar system around our sun. Franklyn M. Branley realized this and decided he was going to write a series of books for children explaining these scientific anomalies. In the series called “Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out” Branley explains different things such as earthquakes, the phases of the moon, gravity, and even humans exploring Mars! He uses simple language and activities for children to better understand these discoveries and get them excited learning about science.

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Shelf Life – Our Friend the Atom by Heinz Haber

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Shelf Life – Our Friend the Atom by Heinz Haber

The word ‘propaganda’ has such a negative connotation that people wouldn’t dare use the word to describe what Walt Disney was doing back in the late 50’s. However, that’s exactly what his book Our Friend the Atom was: propaganda. Released shortly after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Our Friend the Atom attempted to show the beneficial side of the atom as opposed to the destructive nature of them. The book is beautifully illustrated by the Disney Studios staff and art directed by Paul Hartley. With the help of German physicist and USC professor Heinz Haber, Our Friend the Atom showcases various scientists and theories around the atom and how we came to gain as much knowledge about them as we had at the time.

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Shelf Life – Lokis by Prosper Mérimée

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Shelf Life – Lokis by Prosper Mérimée

Prosper Mérimée was a French dramatist, historian, archeologist, and short story writer known for his love of mysticism, history, and the unusual. His most popular novella was Carmen which was later adapted into the famous opera Carmen by Georges Bizet. However, it isn’t Carmen we’re talking about today; it’s this gorgeous book called Lokis. Written in 1869 Lokis is a horror fantasy novella and one of the last stories Mérimée would write.

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Shelf Life – No Man’s Land by Blexbolex

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Shelf Life – No Man’s Land by Blexbolex

No Man’s Land is a book written and illustrated by the highly regarded French illustrator Blexbolex and printed by Nobrow Press. What makes this book so fascinating are the beautiful, albeit at times disturbing, illustrations captured by Nobrow’s printing process. Nobrow utilizes spot color printing, which is not too common process used only by a handful of printers worldwide. Spot color is a technique used in offset printing and is any color generated by an ink, pure or mixed, that is printed using a single run. More and more publishers these days are using digital printing processes since it’s typically cheaper, faster and the quality has improved tremendously over recent years. The beauty in this book is the simple harmony between the illustration and the complimentary printing style.

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