Poster design in the space between creativity and purpose
With the limited-edition volume sold out, Formist are pleased to release a new edition of Mark Gowing: Inside the Oblong. This updated edition features an essay by Eye Magazine’s John L. Walters alongside the foreword by design writer Kevin Finn.
Mark Gowing: Inside the Oblong collects twenty years of posters by the esteemed designer and is a portrait of his uncompromising process for commercial clients and his own personal practice. Over 288 pages the book explores the rhythms, proportion and dynamics of the oblong space that is the poster. The work is divided into five broad categories: Commercial, Exhibition, Film, Music and Practice. The posters display an approach to type, image and pattern that is immediately recognisable as Gowing’s and no-one else’s.
As Finn writes, “Gowing deeply understands the rules of design, yet regularly breaks them without restraint. He frequently uses the poster format in the same way one might use an artist’s canvas: as a means to express ideas, to experiment, to challenge, and to discover new things in the process ”.
Always with an audience in mind, the works featured include posters for the Sydney Opera House, Venice Art Biennale, Australian War Memorial, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Preservation Music and Hopscotch Films, as well as a selection of personal works, including the Warsaw Poster Biennale Gold Medal-winning Oil Kills Peace. As Walters explains, “Gowing gets to the heart of each subject. The posters map his understanding of nuanced, multi-dimensional content (art shows, talks, performances, architecture, films) on to what graphic design can do within the four corners of a flat surface, the ‘oblong’ of the title”.
The first 60 pages of the book feature photographs documenting process, display and various exhibitions Gowing’s posters have appeared in, printed bronze ink on black paper. The texts are set in a custom typeface designed by Gowing using a rigorous grid, resulting in a sharp and unusual feel.
Mark Gowing’s work has been exhibited and published around the world. He has received numerous international awards from staples such as Graphis, the New York Type Directors Club and the Tokyo Type Directors Club. In 2008 he became the first, and only, Australian to win a Gold Medal at the International Poster Biennale in Warsaw. A member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale, his work is held in numerous institutional collections including the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, USA.
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