Antiquarian book catalogues is not an area we often associate with gorgeous graphic design but Purpose saw an opportunity to shake up this stuffy industry when dealer Simon Beattie approached them in 2010.
“In the antiquarian book dealing world all the dealers pretty much without exception present their catalogues in the same manner,” creative director Rob Howsam said. “A5, invariably black and white and densely packed with words – all the mathematics of books like specs, sizes and dates. They’re really boring, really academic, really uninspiring and so a really great opportunity for us.
“What was missing was the passion of the artifacts, the smell, the feel. A book is a tactile experience and that was not coming across at all.”
Of course having the idea was one thing, persuading the client to take the leap of faith another. Rob and his team presented two routes – a clean, white, sophisticated approach, “‘smart but not exciting” – and this more creative solution. To Rob’s delight, Simon chose the latter.