The architectural journal Perspecta is edited each year by graduate students at the Yale School of Architecture. The most recent issue, Perspecta 41: Grand Tour, looks at travel and the way that architects see the world. One of the editors, Gabrielle Brainard, writes about her experience producing the journal:
Those who have seen Perspecta 41 in stores know that each cover features a different postcard, making every one a unique object. Designers Rachel Berger and Lan Lan Liu used the postcard as a way to re-frame that quintessential by-product of travel, the souvenir.
Travel has always involved the displacement of physical objects as well as people, images, and ideas. As editors, we liked the postcard because its imagery -- monumental, kitschy, commercial, exotic, banal, and humorous -- reflected both the variety of work in the book and our editorial agenda of “looking at everything” without passing judgment.
To make the cover, we purchased thousands of postcards, dating from 1915 to the present, from collectors across the U.S. and the U.K. Many of the cards were postally used, with boring, funny, and even sad messages penned on the back. A typical message, from a British tourist on holiday in Spain, reads: “Having a wonderful time. The weather is perfect. The sun just never stops shining... Could stay forever.”
We mailed the postcards to our printer, Asia Pacific Offset in Hong Kong, where each card was glued on by hand and the book's title was screenprinted over both card and cover stock. It took some persuading to convince Asia Pacific that the variations resulting from printing on the cards - each one a different size, thickness, and paper stock - were a crucial (and desirable!) aspect of the design. But they gave us the benefit of the doubt and delivered a beautiful result.
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Photo credit: Rachel Berger