It’s amazing how in the hands of a master, print design can by turns inform, inspire and add a touch of joie de vie to our everyday lives. This week, we find an adult coloring book that adds to our knowledge, a print that inspires us to be better people, and a pop-up book that’s more than meets the eye. (Previous Cool Designs of the Week can be found right here.)
Golden Ratio Coloring Book
Usually by the time Walmart starts cashing in on a fad by stocking items in bulk, a craze is already on the fast track for garage sales and the bargain bin. Yet the Golden Ratio Coloring Book, successfully Kickstarted by Venezuelan architect and illustrator Rafael Araujo, is a genuine work of art that tackles one of nature’s enduring mysteries with intricate lines that beg to be colored. This perfect–bound soft cover book opens flat with detachable pages made of acid-free, thick 270 gsm archival paper. If Leonardo da Vinci was to put out a coloring book, it might look a little something like this. (Bonus points to Rafael for including downloadable PDFs so you can practice before coloring in the book itself.)
‘Pay it Forward’ Print Design
Client gifts from design studios are usually ephemeral affairs, entertaining initially, perhaps, but quickly papered over or presented to the nearest intern with the words “file it.” Column Five’s superbly detailed 18″-x-24″ “Pay it Forward” print is a glorious exception, combining fine foil–stamping detail work with intriguing iconography and an inspiring message. True, the worldview put forward by these words from Benjamin Franklin is an entertainingly outmoded one – the top declaration about being able to “pay all your debts” demonstrably so. Yet the words of one of our founding fathers so beautifully rendered on one of several colored Gmund papers reminds us of what we could be, and perhaps what we may be again, once the political pendulum has ceased its erratic swing. (You can pick up a copy of this print for yourself for $25.)
‘Transformers’ Pop-up Book
There’s been no shortage of pop-up books for licensed properties lately, from “Game of Thrones” to “The Walking Dead.” There’s nothing particularly wrong with them, yet they still fail to truly impress somehow. Not so “Transformers: The Ultimate Pop-up Universe,” which not only features our favorite transforming robots, but actually allows you to make them transform from vehicle to robot with a simple tug of a tab. This is one of those books you give to that special child in your life, only to pilfer for yourself a few weeks later.