For The Paris Review’s 2019 Spring Revel benefit invitation design, Topos Graphics conveyed a broad range of book design with 18 carefully-selected bookish typefaces. Topos provided this explanation by email:
We designed a book shelf environment for text elements to be placed, composing texts as if they were individual titles. Different volumes of content got different character treatments. This functioned to compartmentalize the invitation’s hierarchy of info, but it also allowed us to approach each individual element anew. Like a personal library, the result takes on a character of its own. Tinged with old- and new-era sensibilities, we felt the selections—and the suite’s color palette—connected to The Paris Review’s 1960s advent and a contemporary moment—both in literature and typography. Book collections, like font collections, showcase a rich diversity of history, form and taste.
The invitation unfolded to a 10″×14″ posterette, with the front and back sides designed as a kind of A-Side, B-Side of a wooden bookshelf. The shelf cubbies gave us spaces—a semblance of a grid—to place information within. And that grid functioned through the event’s other collateral, like its printed program.
The annual event’s title “REVEL” is spelled out of book spines and a clever crop of Schmalfette Grotesk’s R. Strategic moves in hierarchy, with color, scale, and type orientation, create an engagingly graphic reading of a large amount of text. The books are energetically stacked, with the bookshelf bolstering as a grid to group and separate information.
Larger book spines use display typefaces to prioritize the most pertinent information, like the event location and speakers. Smaller type used uniformly suggests the repeated design systems of book series—Study for the board of directors and Schmalfette Grotesk for list of hosts.
The opposite side of the unfolded invitation provides a peek at the book blocks from behind the shelves and a quiet background for a mailing label. All information is repeated from the graphic side, set more traditionally in Garamond Premier. The attention to hierarchy persists, and ruled lines parallel the organizational function of the bookshelf.