I [heart] Steven Heller

[Emily Potts] Yes, this is an open [heart] letter to Steven Heller for all to read. I blush as I write this. As an editor, I find Steve a dream to work with. But he is a bit of an enigma … I mean, how does the man manage to churn out so many books, write a daily blog, and teach? Not to mention he’s incredibly generous with his ideas and time.

You’ll [heart] him, too, after you see the beautiful book he’s compiled and edited for Rockport. Of course, much of the credit goes to the book’s designer, Rick Landers, for artfully capturing the contributors’ words and images. The book includes the likes of Deborah Sussman, Adrian Shaughnessy, Arem Duplessis, Liz Danzico, Marian Bantjes and many more, sharing thoughts and recollections about the one design that most influenced and captivated them.

For example, Ken Carbone selected a peace poster designed by Robert Brownjohn in 1969, saying “It was a radical departure from the peace posters of the time. Absent the Day-Glo colors, acid-trip type and hippie imagery, it is oddly haunting and potent.”

Click here to see full spread with text.

Mirko Ilic chose the powerful “Proces” Kafka poster from 1964, designed by Roman Cieslewicz. The poster combines the aesthetics of Polish posters with the minimalist Swiss design of the time. Ilic explains, “I was alway fascinated with this poster at first glance. It is a simple poster but is actually loaded with symbolism.”

Click here to see full spread with text.

Alissa Walker chose this “highly prized” serigraph, designed by Sister Mary Corita Kent in 1967. Walker explains how Corita Kent’s art helped her embrace her new home city of Los Angeles several years ago: “It was Corita Kent’s radical work that taught me how to truly embrace Los Angeles, for all its freeways and freakishness, all its ugliness and unfinishedness. This serigraph now hangs in my living room.”

Click here to see full spread with text.

Back to my love for Steve Heller: I first began communicating with him back in 2000, when I took over as editor in chief of Step-By-Step Graphics magazine. I asked him if he’d like to contribute to the publication, and he turned me down — but I couldn’t blame him. The format was tired and old. Even though he declined to write for me, he was always available when I needed advice. I’m sure he didn’t realize it at the time, but I was so grateful to him for responding to me and actually taking the time to give me thoughtful answers to my numerous questions.

Fast-forward to 2002 when Step-By-Step was relaunched as STEP inside design. It was easy to convince Steve to write for us after Robert Valentine did a beautiful redesign for the newly named pub with a new editorial focus.

Since then, Steve has been an invaluable resource to me, and I’m fortunate to be able to work with him on a regular basis at Rockport (we’re already working on our next book). He continues to amaze me with his generosity. If I send him an e-mail at 7 a.m. with a question about something, I get a prompt, pleasant response.

Oh, and I should also mention that he is very humble, and he has no idea I’m writing this. Sorry, Steve … couldn’t resist. I [heart] you.

You can purchase I Heart Design at the website of Rockport Publishers, here or at your favorite bookseller.

Emily Potts is the acquisitions editor at Rockport Publishers.

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Comments (1)

  1. Posted by LEE MOODY on 04.29.11 at 7:51 am

    I agree Emily ~ Heller is an inspiration to everyone ! Drooling over his daily blog is almost daily with me 🙂 Love your article , A+
    :)))

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