Anthony Burrill’s “I Like It. What Is It?” Is A Book You’ll Tear Through (and Apart)

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Graphic artist, print-maker, and designer, Anthony Burrill, is famous for his persuasive form of communication. His most renowned works (plus a couple new ones) have been collected together and, as of last week, published within a book, I Like It. What Is It? Not just any ol’ordinary hardback, this is meant to be read, and then torn apart and hung on your wall. It’s a fun project, but also reminds us to the current state (and possible future) of design publication.

“Burrill is a great designer because he makes you notice and appreciate truths that would otherwise remain dead and inert. His work has such resonance because it’s so true: we should all work hard and be nice.”
—Alain de Botton

Very much like an author, Burrill is an artist who works with language. But, he has found a distinct voice through the presentation of his words. He prints ‘language’ into pieces of art, so one can read his work, but also visually admire it as well. His process of image making is born of tradition, largely employing hand-made methods (screen, press, woodblock, etc.).

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It’s a craft he takes seriously, working hard to select the perfect inks and papers to print his projects onto. It’s a dedication that pays off, you can sense the diligence by simply standing in front of or holding one of his works. It’s an aspect of Burrill that I’ve always appreciated, I never fail to fill of tenacity when I gaze into the pieces hung on my wall. Famous for pieces like “Work Hard & Be Nice to People,” Burrill’s style is now a highly recognizable one, so much so that publishing a book featuring his work is a no-brainer.

 

Consisting of 30 pieces (and sticker sets), the book is a tight little bundle, oozing aesthetic. Each design is printed on 355 x 279 mm stock, giving the book some weight and a sturdy feel. The backside of every design reveals the story behind the work. Flip through looking at cool project after cool project and learn a little something a long the way too. Not bad.

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As if that’s not enough already, each piece is removable. Awesome. The book is wrapped in a manner that they’re easily detachable, the intent being you can read this book, but also use it too, affixing the works to wherever your liking.

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In this month’s Creative Review, Mark Sinclair writes about the move of graphic design publications from traditional book formats to “products.” Paper-based creations, gifts, and new formats are appearing on shelves where books sit. It’s flushing a lot of money back into publication, as publishers are discovering new and creative ways to bring life back into the market. I welcome it, as products such as Burrill’s new book are well-thought, well-executed, and an evolution. I Like It. What Is It? is a Laurence King publication and designed by A Practice for Everyday Life. Kudos to these folks for pushing the medium.

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I’ve always wondered about the statements in Burrill’s work. They’re bold, they’re colorful, and often carry a lightness of touch and humor. But what exactly do they mean and where do they come from? Are these his beliefs? Quotes? Something has always urked me about not knowing the origin (and intent) of many of Burrill’s messages. I can rest easy knowing that my questions will be answered within this book. The tales on the backside of each page are written by Creative Review’s Patrick Burygone; there’s sure to be many creative insights and learnings to take away.

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I Like It. What Is It? is available for a mere £19.95. A steal, if you ask me. I’ve ordered two, one for the shelf, one to tear apart and hang all over the damn place. To coincide with the release of the book, an exhibition at London’s KK Outlet will be running November 8th to the 30th. If you’re London based (or planning a trip soon), be sure to swing by and soak up the wonderful work of Anthony Burrill.

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Nick Partyka

November 12, 2013 / By

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