Design and arts publisher Formist Editions has sifted through the pages of Kevin Finn's iconic design journal Open Manifesto and collected together the choicest excerpts for a new anthology release.
Suitably titled Open Manifesto: An Anthology, the 352-page book contains the best conversations and essays by influential movers and shakers from the world of graphic design. And as well as hearing valuable insights from the likes of Paula Scher, Peter Saville and Jessica Walsh, the anthology also features new text from Kevin himself and a foreword by Debbie Millman.
Originally founded in 2003 by the then Joint Creative Director at Saatchi Design Sydney, Kevin Finn, Open Manifesto was a graphic design journal with rather humble beginnings. Promoting itself with the modest banner 'some thoughts on graphic design', Open Manifesto went on to prove its worth over a 15-year run which saw it throw out the conventions of other contemporary design journals.
Set up when Kevin was an accomplished designer, who at that point had designed all of U2's album covers, Open Manifesto was also the result of something of a creative crisis. After winning a prestigious award at Saatchi Design, Kevin experienced an 'is this it?' moment and contemplated jumping off the career treadmill. Luckily for us, though, that didn't happen. After reading Emigre Issue #64, he realised that he had to capitalise on his position as a creative authority.
Arguably something of an unsung gem, Open Manifesto was read obsessively by those in the know thanks to its features and interviews with a host of high-profile international thinkers and practitioners. Covering design across a spectrum of viewpoints, including how it intersects with social, cultural, political and economic fields, it is seen as the peak of what journalism in the field can achieve.
Curated by Kevin himself, Open Manifesto: An Anthology contains more than 40 writings from the journal's hallowed pages. These include landmark conversations and essays, including 'How to approach design' with Michael Bierut, 'Cultural Schizophrenia' with Hina Qureshi, and 'Politics, conflict and graphic design' with Rami Elhanan.
In her foreword to the anthology, Debbie Millman writes: "Over its fifteen-year life, Open Manifesto was utterly egalitarian: it avoided singling out individual contributors on the journal cover, preferring to list all contributors together – in alphabetical order – regardless of fame or notoriety.
"Despite Kevin's declaration that 'he was not a journalist or an established publisher or a professional editor', with Open Manifesto, he created one of the most respected design journals of our time. What was once conceived in a moment of 'Is this it?' became an opportunity for Kevin to show the world 'This is it' when presenting what was possible in design criticism."
Open Manifesto: An Anthology is available to buy now for $50.43 AUD.