Variations on a Rectangle: Thirty Years of Graphic Design from Texas Monthly to Pentagram

Variations on a Rectangle: Thirty Years of Graphic Design from Texas Monthly to Pentagram

by DJ Stout

Hardcover

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Overview

Variations on a Rectangle: Thirty Years of Graphic Design from Texas Monthly to Pentagram by DJ Stout

“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.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781477303627
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 11/01/2015
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 1,252,426
Product dimensions: 10.70(w) x 12.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

DJ Stout was the art director of Texas Monthly between 1987 and 1999, and he has been a partner in Pentagram’s Austin office since 2000. He is the author and designer of The Amazing Tale of Mr. Herbert and His Fabulous Alpine Cowboys Baseball Club: An Illustrated History of the Best Little Semipro Baseball Team in Texas.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword. DJ Stout: American Graphic Designer, by Paula Scher
  • Introduction. Variations on a Rectangle
  • The Work. 1987–2015
  • Animals
  • Horse Senseless
  • A Dairy Cow Sitting
  • Hanging with Batcow
  • Animal Magnetism
  • Primer: The Art and Psychology of Illustration
  • The Bug Man
  • Bird in the Hand
  • Great Legs
  • Dog Days
  • Not Animals
  • Agriculture
  • Into the Weeds
  • Primer: My Favorite Editorial Layout Tricks
  • Western Heritage
  • One Ranger
  • Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
  • Hats Off to a New Park
  • A Cowboy Circus
  • Water
  • Primer: The Typographic Solution, from A to Z
  • Land
  • East and West
  • World’s Best Map
  • Neighbors
  • Melodrama in Mexico
  • Not Neighbors
  • Primer: University and Alumni Publications 101
  • Education
  • Community
  • Road Trip Redux
  • When Mary Wept
  • Culture
  • Sissy Fit
  • Primer: Hand-Drawn Type and Other Signs of Life
  • Going Postal
  • A Snapshot in Time
  • Bards of West Texas
  • Primer: I Always Judge a Book by Its Cover
  • American Beauties
  • Saying Yes to No
  • Truth and Advertising
  • Society
  • The Neuman Effect
  • Primer: What’s So Funny About Humor?
  • Not-So-Easy Rider
  • Families under Siege
  • The Bad Doctor and the Good Pianist
  • Primer: Mysteries of the Newsstand Cover
  • KKK Encounters
  • Sports
  • The Cowboys of Summer
  • Last Thoughts
  • Afterword. That Designer Down in Texas
  • Acknowledgments. With Gratitude

What People are Saying About This

Paula Scher

"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."

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