My foreign experience in book design took place in the most beautiful German city Hamburg, in 2006. This is when I met Charles Bukowski's controversial novel, while designing his autobiographical book "Schreie vom balkon" for Gingko Press.


I considered that one of the difficulties would be working with alien language to me. Setting up copy in German supposed to have some specifics which I came across

in multiple articles dedicated to typesetting subject. However, it was a brilliant opportunity to check all the typographical principles I had practiced already and the ones I learned in the works of Jan Tschichold, writings by Robert Bringhurst and numerous books on typography matter.


Last but not least, I could experience, how one of my favorite type families, Fairplex, would sit in a long run. I must admit, this type is a masterpiece, designed

and developed by a truly talented person – Zuzana Licko, Emigre.  


The book became bestseller a year later, probably not due to my approach

to design but fully due to the author. However, it's really hard to resist temptation 

to think otherwise....

New tools and visual technics 

give a good excuse to show off

old art-works with a new touch.

In spite of that the cinemagraphy

was presented a decade ago.

I've just discovered it

to my own purposes

and fell in love with it.


Hopefully, you would share

this excitement as I do. 

I had to spend half a year selecting ratios, dividing space, calculating type areas

for a perfect line, looking for appropriate typesetting method to get a properly 

organized body. 


The most interesting part showed off when it came to the cover. The solution was on a surface. The cover must be a mirror of Bukowski's life. No modern look, no fancy dressing, no glittering finishing, no spotlights, digital cameras and contemporary graphic arts. It should be the truth. Mood of a lonely man, a fighter, forgotten but honest to himself and having strength to stand against the severe destiny.


I took a pencil and drew Bukowski to my understanding. The rough pencil texture - just like his ups and downs, brown sad color - dirt and emptiness, his best friend 

as a symbol of cheap motel rooms and street benches. A glass of wine was a sip

of oxygen to a man in thoughts, who was looking for a way out through a poem.

the illustration

based on the foto

by Michael Montfort

the illustration

based on the foto

by Michael Montfort