The Biblioteca Nacional José Martí (BNJM) is Cuba’s national
library in Havana, founded 1901 by military order after the United States
hijacked Cuba’s war of independence against Spain and turned it into the
Spanish-American War. It’s not the first library in Cuba; that distinction goes
to the Biblioteca de la Sociedad Económica de Amigos del Pais, or Library of
the Economic Society of the Friends of the Country, founded in 1793. After the
revolution in 1959, BNJM’s shelves swelled with books from private libraries
nationalized by those fleeing the new society. It’s a crucial public
repository. Interestingly, the United States—unlike most countries in the
world—does not have a national library. Most people assume that that’s what the
Library of Congress is, but that’s not true. “The first priority of the Library
of Congress is to make knowledge and creativity available to the United States
Congress,” reads its mission statement.
February 1999 I visited the BNJM as part of a research project with the
Cuba Poster Project to determine the best way to digitize their enormous
collection of posters. Besides the actual posters themselves, another archival
attraction was the fact that all of their posters had been cataloged, revealing
crucial details such as artist, publisher and year of publication. My original
idea was to scan the cards from the BNJM catalog and convert the data to
machine-readable type through an optical character recognition program. After
dragging a laptop and scanner from the United States to the library in Havana,
it quickly became apparent that the type on the cards was too inconsistent and
uneven to be readily understood by any machine, so I ended up scrapping that
plan. But I had a scanner and some time on my hands. After a long conversation
with Eliades Acosta, then-director of the BNJM, he told me about a special
collection of bookplates, or “ex libris” (“from the library of”) ownership
markers. The BNJM was able to supply some of the catalog data; others remain
a mystery awaiting further research.
Gathered from books in the library’s possession, the range
of bookplates is amazing. Some of them were hand-painted parchment from two centuries ago;
others were whimsical artists’ works from the mid-1960s. And they included
locations and names unexpected for Havana—George Washington, Ralph Radcliffe
Whitehead and Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. All are little jewels of literary
art, and the director felt that they merited more attention. Rightly so.
Who today profits from the creative works of the WPA era? Cushing calls for putting the “public” back in this public art.
Section: Inspiration -
Before we judged books by their covers, title pages were the place where design made a splash. Patton wonders what will become of print’s curtain raiser.
Section: Inspiration -
book design, print design, history, Voice
Digital devices are creating new possibilities for reading, but don’t write off books just yet. Heller argues for the mutability and adaptability of print.
Puerto Rican artist Lorenzo Homar was a pivotal figure of the
fields of design and
plastic arts during the second part of the 20th century. While he produced a large number of works of various media, he is best known for his posters and printed engravings.
Section: Inspiration -
graphic design, print design, posters, culture, diversity, Design Journeys, design educators, students
Every great success story starts at the first chapter, and we are honored to start two books at once. AIGA Baltimore has been awarded two AIGA Innovate grants to work on two special projects that are poised to have a lasting impact on the design community in Baltimore and at large.
Layoffs are a fact of life in the design profession. With unemployment at 7.7 percent nationally, and with firms learning to operate leaner
in order to remain competitive in a very crowded market, I've assembled a
list of warning signs that you might be laid off, and what steps you should take to achieve the most favorable outcome.
Section: Tools and Resources
To all who tuned in to our town hall this evening, a message from @JulieAnixter: THANK YOU. #AIGAtogether https://t.co/ASlVIhi2hR
43 minutes ago
RT @allisonpress: Audio or no thx @AIGAdesign for making space for @ideo & @IDEOorg to chat & learn about racial justice #AIGAtogether http…
1 hours ago
@SabrinaHallnyc Yes, definitely until next time. #AIGAtogether
BMORE Inspired at Station North Arts District
July 26, 2016
Two AIGA Innovate Awards Granted to AIGA Baltimore
July 22, 2016