Le Theatre Graphique

A beautiful book for leading graphic artist and designer Sarah Boris, which raises the curtain on a French design festival.

We have been aware of, and admired, graphic artist Sarah Boris’ work for some time. So we leapt at the chance when she got in touch to ask if we could help her with a book project for a design festival in France. Although time was short, we knew she’d come up with something fantastic. We had to plan quickly but were confident it would be a great project.

Sarah looked carefully at our Tailored book sizes and chose the ‘classic’ format. At 235 x 210mm portrait it is very pretty, highly adaptable and, as you can see, very suitable for the many double page spreads featured in Le Théâtre Graphique.

We worked closely with Sarah and our great bookbinding team to come up with a dramatically blocked case. This was the most complicated part of producing the book because unless they are gold, silver or white, foils rarely appear to be the colour you were expecting once they are on the cloth. This is mainly to do with the effect of the colour of the cloth itself (our Colville cloth, a deep rich blue) but there is also an element of the colour below the foil affecting the brightness. Every detail was thought through, right down to the tiny head and tail bands – yellow for the head and red for the tail. Sarah only needed one book for the launch, so we blocked each book in slightly different colours and selected the one that best matched her ideal, the result, we hope you agree, is ‘magnifique’.

Many people have commented on the startling colour in the book. It’s unusual, in the sense that we have become used to seeing muted colour in print. But if you use good paper and good equipment; if you work with a good team and understand how colour works, then startling colour really shouldn’t present any unusual difficulties.

In all, we made five books, three of which went to Le Havre along with the book in it’s ‘de-constructed’ format – flat sheets, the original blocks and samples of the elements used in making it. There may even be a limited edition re-print in the pipeline and Sarah wants to add some additional text pages. We’re excited to see this updated version.

And the books? We loved them. As did the people of Le Havre. They were even featured on French TV and were the hit of our stand at Offprint London.

‘I was taught that, as a printer, it is essential that you allow artists into your world: Le Théâtre Graphique is proof of why that’s a good idea.

Words: Francis Atterbury