Letters As Symbols, originally conceptualized in 1991 by the Belgian pioneer in graphic design Paul Ibou. It has remained an unpublished project for decades, until now.
Throughout his long career, Paul Ibou has done a tremendous amount of work and projects. He has been a very active man in his field and at the age of 79, he still shows an admirable fire and passion for his profession. Ibou belongs to the kind of designers who have a natural predisposition to keep creating. The many ideas and projects that Ibou had led to various book projects of which he had already laid the foundations, but never executed them. One of those projects is Letters As Symbols, a logo book showing work that is based on one individual letter of the alphabet (from A to Z).
Like all other books Paul Ibou has published, Letters As Symbols is the result of years of dedication towards the corporate identity design industry and a close relationship with leading designers of his era. Due to his leading work, books and events, Paul Ibou is amongst the well-known and well-respected pioneers in the corporate identity design world.
Ibou was also the founder and president of the International Trademark Center (ITC) with which he aimed to group the most important logo designers in order to exhibit and publish their work. In 1994, this resulted in the World Symbol Festival of which the first edition took place in Ostend. Later, the festival was organized in several other countries worldwide. The World Symbol Festival was fully devoted to the logo as a symbol, represented by designers who influenced the industry as we know it today.
With ITC, Ibou was able to collect an enormous amount of submissions for his book projects which he received directly from almost every top designer the world has known such as: Saul Bass, Félix Beltrán, Burton Kramer, Sudarshan Dheer, Eduardo A. Cánovas, Ken Cato, Alan Fletcher, Takenobu Igarashi, Hermann Zapf and many more.
Throughout his career, Paul carefully stored all the submission forms he received, including those for Letters As Symbols. These original submissions were reproduced and used in the creation of Letters As Symbols and are accompanied by the work of contemporary talented and reputed designers or agencies from the industry. Looking purely at the aesthetics of the featured logos, they are all equal and have the qualities a good logo must have. With Letters As Symbols, we did not want to make a distinction between famous and non-famous designers. For that reason, the decision was made to arrange the logos in a non-specific way. The only order that is used is the alphabetical order per letter. The non-specific arrangement gives the viewer the possibility of being surprised when seeing the same level of quality between some of the most respected leaders and the less known designers.
Letters As Symbols poster
The poster that comes with the book is a limited edition print which will only be available through this campaign. This means that it won’t be reproduced ever again.
The poster features all the logos that can be found in the book. Each logo is numbered and refer to the pages in the book and thus lead the reader to more information about the different logos. Hence, the poster is an extension of the book and is not individually available.
Specifications on the book and the poster can be found further below.
Who is Paul Ibou?
Paul Ibou was born in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1939. Ibou graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp (1958) and the Plantin Institute of Typography (1962). In 1962, he started his career as a freelancer based in Antwerp. Ibou received numerous awards and worldwide recognition in specialized press, leading design books and magazines. His work can be found in among others: Trademarks & Symbols of the World (Y. Kuwayama), Logo Modernism (J. Müller & J. WIedemann) and my editions of IDEA magazine.
During his career, Ibou was often a guest speaker at design conferences and a member of international design juries. He is also the publisher of more than 50 books on art, design and logo design.
In 1994 Ibou organized the first World Symbols Festival in Ostend followed by many others in countries such as China, Korea, Japan, Poland, Mexico, Brazil, Czech Republic,… The festivals were fully devoted to the logo as a symbol represented by and with the presence of leading designers. Today, Ibou is sporadically active as an artist and curator of his personal exhibitions in his atelier in Zandhoven, Belgium.
About me & Logo Books
I have a profound fascination for logos and identity design ever since I started as a graphic designer. I have been focusing on this aspect of design from the beginning of my career. Along my continuous hunt for beautiful work, I have noticed that I mainly find the best work in older books featuring the work from the designers who have put identity design on the map.
Because of my eagerness towards these books and the work it contained, I started Logo Books in June 2017. I initially reviewed my own book collection on logo design by making YouTube videos and posting on Instagram. I felt like there was - and still is - a need for instructive information and inspiration on good logo and brand design.
The thing that truly lit the spark for Logo Books was the moment when I discovered the astonishing work from Paul Ibou. A compatriot I had never heard of and who was never mentioned during my education. I quickly discovered Paul Ibou was not just some Belgian designer. No, Paul Ibou is the greatest graphic designer Belgium has ever known. He is a true pioneer in the industry whose work is among the best, worldwide.
Only one month after I started uploading my video reviews I received a mail which seemed too good to be true. I got an email by the man himself: Paul Ibou. From that point onwards, Logo Books started evolving quickly as Paul Ibou was charmed by my project. He offered me the opportunity to collaborate on this magnificent project which he hadn't realized yet.
Today, Logo Books is an independent online book store and publisher specialized in books on logo and brand design.
Since the launch of Logo Books on social media, I have discovered that there is an enormous interest in books featuring logos. A lot of the elder books are unknown to many people, including myself. When I discovered Paul Ibou, I felt the need to share his work and books. What that man has accomplished is simply breathtaking.
Knowing that Ibou stored all his unfinished projects, Letters As Symbols is not only a book containing logos from talented and famous designers. The publication is also a throwback to Paul Ibou, his work and his remarkable achievements with International Trademark Center (ITC) and the World Logo Festivals as important milestones in his career. The World Logo Festival was such a great milestone in design history which cannot be forgotten.
On top of that, Letters As Symbols is a way to thank everyone who submitted their work for this publication. I have received many submissions from the most enthusiastic and loyal fans of Logo Books. By launching Letters As Symbols through Kickstarter, I want to make the book available for everyone.
By independently producing this book, I feel more connected to every single one of you who has been supporting me the past year and to everyone who will support me in the future. By making Letters As Symbols available through Kickstarter, it really feels like we have accomplished this all together.
The book and poster are already finished and will be sent directly to the printing company after the campaign will have successfully ended. All books and posters will be shipped in October 2018 at the latest. Orders containing the book and the poster will be shipped together.
- Every logo was manually vectorized to obtain the best print quality
- 324 pages – including the cover
- 306 logos printed in 100% black
- Cover printed with 2 Pantone spot colors and 100% black
- Size: 210 x 297 mm
- Softcover: IGEPA Incada Silk 350 gsm cardboard
- Paper: Sapi Magno Volume 1.1 150 gsm
- Binding: Sewn Otabind (remains flat once opened, enables “hands free” usage to easily study the logos and avoids a cracked spine)
- Printed in Belgium
- 594 x 841 mm
- Silk coated 135 gsm + matt protective dispersion varnish
- Printed in 100% black
- The poster comes folded
- Printed in Belgium
This project would not have been possible without Paul Ibou who allowed me to enter in his world of art and design. As he was so busy, he never found time to finish other book projects that came of his mind. It was thus an absolute honour for me to have the opportunity to collaborate with Paul on this project. Now, Paul and I need your help to turn this project into a reality.
Paul once said to me: "At the age of almost 80, I am at the end of my career. My job is done. The only thing I did not figure out yet, was what would happen with my work, projects and ideas if I wouldn't be here anymore. Now, I know it is safe and will continue to live. To me, you are a godsend." Likewise, Paul.
I would also like to thank all contributors of this book:
Thanks to everyone who submitted their work. I have received more than 600 submissions which were a huge help in making this book possible.
LogoArchive: a study of form language in logo design and a recovery, restoration and archival project by Richard Baird and BP&O.
Canada Modern: a physical and digital archive of Canadian graphic design, with modernism central to its glowing heart. Conceived and produced by Canadian creative director Blair Thomson.
My friend Emily Pehar, for helping me unrestrictedly with the translation and correction.
Risks and challenges
With Paul Ibou as the driving force behind Letters As Symbols, I had the privilege to make use of his years of experience as a publisher. Together with Paul, this project turned out into a magnificent publication showing the best work from multiple generations. We make every effort to ensure that this publication is produced and packaged with the utmost care to get the book and the poster in a perfect condition into your hands.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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