J & L Books is a favorite of mine. It’s a small non-profit press founded by photographer Jason Fulford and artist/designer Leanne Shapton. They started publishing books in 2000 and have assembled quite a nice array over time. Their Dancing Pictures book got quite a bit of press when it first came out, if I remember correctly. They support emerging artists, their work is quirky and inventive and one of their guiding principles, according to Leanne, is that they “look for stuff that makes people laugh.” Works for me.
Their two latest books are J&L Illustrated #2 and Paper Placemats. Illustrated #2 features fiction by 10 authors and illustrations from 35 artists, including drawings by Tucker Nichols and writing by Miriam Toews. The book has a great feel to it too – it’s a nice compact size and the edges of the pages are stained purple, giving it an old-timey and handmade vibe.
The other title, Paper Placemats was “Conceived as a public art project, the placemats will be donated to restaurants across the U.S. with the help of volunteers in each state. Additional copies will be sold domestically and internationally in bookstores.” (from their site) Again, it’s something that’s great to have in hand – it’s a fresh concept that’s fun and funny, and accessible. (The photograph here is from Placemats.)
You can find the books locally or online – to locate a place near you click here.
Leanne and Jason are also featured in the most recent edition of Fresh Dialogue, which is the AIGA’s issue devoted to New Voices in Graphic Design.