core packaging redesign
Rixdorf Editions is a Berlin-based press committed to bringing unfairly neglected texts of the German Empire to a contemporary English-language readership. When designing both the brand and the book series, it was important that they visually live in both the Wilhelmine era and today. Click on the link below to read more about our design process and to see the newly released titles in this six book series.
Rixdorf Editions brand
and book series design
DESIGNER + ARTWORKER
freelance [rixdorf editions, berlin]
PUBLISHING BRAND INTERNATIONAL
We weren’t the first people to ever talk big plans in a Berlin bar, and we won’t be the last. But when I met Cara in autumn 2016 to ask her about designing books for a new publishing venture I was setting up, I already sensed I had found what I was looking for. It was an impression confirmed in our first proper meeting. Entering into an entirely new field (book publishing), and working with material that was reasonably obscure (translated texts from early modern Germany) I was anxiously mulling over what was possible, what was affordable, what was ‘correct’. But Cara simply said ‘you tell me what the work needs, and I’ll work out how to make it happen’. It was exactly what I needed to hear at that stage, and typical of her positivity and creative will. She not only appreciated what I was trying to do with the text, she also completely got the series identity I wanted for the books, using imagery from the time (c. 1890-1918) and a common type and colour scheme.
Seeing the designs come together and witnessing the thought and care she put into every element was inspiring. For one title I already had an idea in my head but I was curious to see what she would come up with. I still remember going to her studio and the almost spooky feeling when I saw the cover on screen – it was as if she had scanned my mind and reproduced what I was thinking. It seemed like magic, but ‘magic’ is here just a stand-in for the skill and sensitivity of a great designer. And as we got further into the process, there were a hundred decisions to make, usually in very rapid iterations – going over proofs, colour correction, dozens of text changes, small shifts in layout, back and forth. But Cara was responsive and attentive to detail at every step of the way.
Our printer was in Poland, meaning she, I and they were all working in a second language – German – but she guided the whole production process and got it done. She zeroed in on all the things I would never have known to ask about – stock options, colour saturation, show-through. Her passion for the printed object made all the difference. It was an amazing feeling when the boxes came back from the printer, and the fact that Rixdorf Editions books exist in the physical world is down to Cara.
Since then everyone, I mean every single person I have talked to about the books has said how much they love the look and feel of them. There are so many uncertainties and difficulties in independent publishing, but with Cara’s designs I have something that works equally well in a bookstore display, as a thumbnail, in a press pack, as a beautiful physical product to hold in your hand. I have something I can be immensely proud of.
JAMES J. CONWAY / PUBLISHER / RIXDORF EDITIONS