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Pirates and Farmers by Dave Hickey (Ridinghouse)

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Dec 3rd, 2021. Artwork published in .
    Pirates and Farmers by Dave Hickey (Ridinghouse) 1
    Mark Thomson Design / Ridinghouse. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Pirates and Farmers is a collection of essays written by art critic Dave Hickey since 1999. Edited by Karsten Schubert and Doro Globus, the book was published by Ridinghouse in 2013. Mark Thomson provided the book design.

    He brought together two very different type designs: Macula is a trompe-l’œil typeface conceived by Jacques Le Bailly, with three-dimensional looking letterforms inspired by the impossible objects explored by Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvärd and popularized by Dutch artist M.C. Escher. Macula was released through Bold Monday in December 2012. Thomson recognized the potential of this highly conceptual and at the same time hilarious design right away, and employed it for Hickey’s book. Although the essays are illustrated, the cover isn’t: Macula is used in its Line style, set center-aligned with one word per line and ample spacing. The open caps were filled with color – yellow for the title, pink for the author’s name – resulting in a design that feels pictorial even though it’s purely textual.

    Macula was picked up for the book’s interior, too. Here it serves for the drop caps, and is linked to another type design in early use: the text typeface is Gantoise. Drawn by Fred Smeijers, it’s based upon work by Hendrik van den Keere, or Henri du Tour, a punchcutter who was active in Ghent in the sixteenth century – Gantoise is French for “of Ghent”. The family is used for everything from headings to captions, with the animated italics featured for citations and titles, small caps for names and initial words, and the beautiful oldstyle numerals for page numbers and years. As of 2021, Gantoise is still unreleased. Smeijers revealed that there are chances it will enter the public stage in 2022.

    Dave Hickey died on 12 November 2021 at the age of 82.

    A first version of this post was published on December 8, 2013, focusing exclusively on the cover design. It was updated in November 2021 and amended with images that also show the interior, kindly provided by Mark Thomson.

    Pirates and Farmers by Dave Hickey (Ridinghouse) 2
    Mark Thomson Design / Ridinghouse. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Pirates and Farmers by Dave Hickey (Ridinghouse) 3
    Mark Thomson Design / Ridinghouse. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Pirates and Farmers by Dave Hickey (Ridinghouse) 4
    Mark Thomson Design / Ridinghouse. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Pirates and Farmers by Dave Hickey (Ridinghouse) 5
    Mark Thomson Design / Ridinghouse. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Pirates and Farmers by Dave Hickey (Ridinghouse) 6
    Mark Thomson Design / Ridinghouse. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Pirates and Farmers by Dave Hickey (Ridinghouse) 7
    Mark Thomson Design / Ridinghouse. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Pirates and Farmers by Dave Hickey (Ridinghouse) 8
    Mark Thomson Design / Ridinghouse. License: All Rights Reserved.

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