April held an exhibition and launch party at JMP's gallery for their Graphic Europe book, a guide to 31 European cities, one in each European country, written and illustrated by graphic designers living in those cities. Taking an intimate tone, the designers point the reader in the direction of their favourite hotels, restaurants, shops, galleries and cultural venues. These listings make a refreshing change from traditional tourist-guide fare, and all have an alternative/arty angle: a small gallery on a side street, a bar where all the art students hang out, or a derelict cinema of particular architectural interest, for example. The designers then illustrate these texts using a broad range of visual material, reflecting the way they experience their city rather than a literal interpretation of the venues listed.
"We are designers. We notice things in a different way to other people. We appreciate the nuances of a certain typeface, the way a sofa or a chair is shaped just so, and the textures and lines that define an architectural space. We are urban creatures, and the cities we live in inform who we are and what we do. We know the friendly restaurants, designed with love and care; the bars with alternative music, a good cocktail list and a crowd that is cool but not intimidating. We know the little local gems that have remained reassuringly unchanged through the decades, the skylines and street-scenes that make our cities unique, and the rivers and parks that give us space to think. We look for open-mindedness and experimentalism wherever we go, and we find inspiration in unexpected places."
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