Barcelona-born graphic designer Javier Jaén is a multitalented chap, working across editorial illustration, book covers, audiovisual projects, advertising and cultural communication and more.
Having studied graphic design and fine arts in Barcelona, New York and Budapest; his client list today is equally diverse and impressive, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, National Geographic and Greenpeace.
Such diversity makes sense when you consider the breadth of Jaén's interests and inspirations. He cites, exhaustively: the environment, technology, love, sex, diversity, art, literature, religion, science, gastronomy, health, sport, wild capitalism, social movements, economy, terrorism, war, politics, justice, archaeology, virus, music, theatre, fashion, wine and some graphic design. Saying that, whether they're his passions or the areas he's worked in is really anyone's guess.
It makes sense that before he clocks up any more accolades, he should put out a monograph, which is exactly what he's done. Titled Greetings from Javier Jaén Studio, the book arrives since its creator realised he'd not yet "written a child, planted a book, or given birth to a tree."
The playfulness of this statement reflects the playful visual language employed by Jaén in his work, which is littered with whimsical symbolism in its reconfiguring of everyday objects, images and words. He is said to see his role as a creative working predominantly with visuals as similar to that of a translator – forging images from more abstract concepts and stories.
This monograph is a first-person exploration, both in English and Spanish, of the many paths that have led Jaén to where he is today and discussing his personal experiences in the creative industry.
Greetings from Javier Jaén Studio also opens up the designer's process in a way that aims to be accessible to readers at all levels in their graphic design career. This is frequently told through exemplary case studies of key projects from Jaén's career; noting both their successes and failures.
The book, which is available from Counter Print, comes with a free concertina-folded sticker sheet featuring many of the artist's best-known designs.