Javas Lehn Studio’s book for José Parlá showcases characterful yet restrained typographic treatment
Accompanying Brooklyn-based artist José Parlá’s show ‘It’s Yours’ at The Bronx Museum of the Arts comes a beautiful artist book designed by New York design practitioners Javas Lehn Studio; who’s editorial command is as emotive and deliberate as the art the publication is showcasing. In addressing his experience of the infamous city, Parlá’s work considers the ownership of community across the boroughs, as well as consigning voice on matters of gentrification, police brutality and the country’s issue of systemic racism. Alongside Parlá’s emotive work are similarly questioning texts from Henry Chalfant and Naiomy Guerrero, as well as an interview with Manon Slome.
Continuing their friendship and working relationship with one another, Founder and Creative Director Javas Lehn tells us “I’ve known José Parlá for maybe five-six years,” meeting through mutual friends in this city, beginning work on this project simply “with the printed invitation for the show’s opening along with a print ad for Artforum magazine,” prior to taking on the design of its book. With a close partnership with the publishers, Lehn took the opportunity to be more experimental with the methods and processes used; with a prominent and distinct red running throughout the book, from the duotone cover image to the thread in the binding. “We chose this particular red as it shows up in a lot of the work,” Lehn explains, telling us “the printing and colour proofing process was very seamless.”
Lehn’s chosen aesthetic and typographic treatment for the book intelligently and attentively gives precedence to the work alongside a healthy amount of crisp negative space, without becoming submissive and wholly dull. With a lot riding on his choice of typeface due to its vulnerability on the page, Lehn landed on Dinamo’s Favorit, explaining “we chose Favorit due to the fact that the low contrast grotesque look and feel was reminiscent of a mono-weight stroke sensibility of graffiti.” Showcasing the uniqueness of the typeface, with its contrary functional yet characterful nature, the book showcases personality, restraint and diligence in equal part.