• Steven Brower

John Gall and the Art of Collage

John Gall has been creating award winning designs for over 25 years, first as art director at Grove/Atlantic, followed by a 14 year stint at Vintage/Anchor, imprints of Random House, where he was also a Vice President. He has designed covers for such authors as Dave Eggers, Haruki Murakami, and Vladimir Nabokov and his freelance clients have included Farrar, Straus and Giroux, The Criterion Collection, and Nonesuch Records. Today he is the Creative Director at Abrams Books.

10 Years of Innovating with the Medium

Hot off the press is a new book, John Gall Collages 2008–2018, from Aprilsnow Press, South Korea. Gall, who often employs collage in his design work, turned to the medium ten years ago to refresh himself creatively and explore the form deeper. Soon after this innovative work made its appearance on the pages of the “Shortlist” column in the New York Times Book Review, where it continues until this day. Matt Dorfman, the art director of the Book Review, notes in his foreword, “If wordless mind wandering can sustain a state of beauty and grace, this is what it looks like.”

Collage as a Way to Unlearn

According to Gall, “I wanted to explore ways of working that I wasn’t able to address as a designer. In graphic design there is some kind of problem to solve, which must then be presented to the public in some sort of visually pleasing way. I questioned everything about that, forced myself away from design thinking to create a space where I could make “wrong” decisions and search for new ways of seeing. So began a long process of unlearning.”

Gracing the 192 pages are over 200 collages that invite, delight and confound all at once. Not to be missed.

Explore more of what collage has to offer designers in this profile of DR.ME.

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