Variations on A Rectangle
30 Years of Graphic Design From Texas Monthly to PentagramBook - 2015
Editorial design is the art of storytelling, and DJ's brand of it is uniquely American. Western American. It starts out slow and builds. It wins you with a bit of humility (almost 'shucks-gee-whiz') and then comes back at you with a surprise punch. The pacing and analogies feel like a Will Rogers narrative. . . . When he first began presenting his work to his London Pentagram partners, they thought he could have just as easily been from the moon. But the storytelling was so strong, so funny, so completely designed but guileless at the same time that the Londoners, and the rest of us, found ourselves confronted with something real, authoritative, and probably definable only as pure American Graphic Design.
--Paula Scher, from the introduction
An internationally renowned graphic designer and partner in Pentagram, the world's most famous graphic design firm, DJ Stout is a fifth-generation Texan whose strong sense of place has inspired his design work for over thirty-five years. His contributions to Texas Monthly , where he was art director for thirteen years, helped the magazine win three National Magazine Awards. American Photo magazine named Stout one of its 100 Most Important People in Photography, and I.D. ( International Design ) magazine selected him for The I.D. Fifty, its annual listing of design innovators. The Society of Illustrators honored Stout with the national Richard Gangel Art Director Award, and he was made a Fellow of the Austin chapter of the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) for his lifetime achievements.
Variations on a Rectangle presents both a career retrospective of DJ Stout's work and his inimitable, often humorous perspectives on publication design. Using nearly eight hundred images to illustrate more than two hundred fifty major design projects, Stout describes the inspiration and creative process behind his highly innovative designs for magazines, books, brochures, posters, and even a fiberglass batcow. He tells fascinating, behind-the-scenes stories of Texas personalities such as Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek, and Ann Richards, who figured prominently in Texas Monthly 's pages, while also discussing how his Texas heritage has influenced his more recent design work US and international clients. An essential primer for younger graphic designers and a revelation for everyone who values exceptional design, Variations on a Rectangle proves Stout's maxim, A publication without style is just a document, and documents don't do well on the newsstand. And that's why you need editorial art directors. Amen.