By Jennifer Morla
432 pages, hardcover, $125
Published by Letterform Archive
Bold. Bright. Illuminating. Jennifer Morla’s monograph is all of that, and more. With 120-plus examples of projects spanning 40 years of work, Morla : Design provides an intimate perspective into Morla’s design approach and prolific career. From ads to catalogs, book covers, packaging and more, each project is presented with a short description of the challenge, Morla’s rationale for her solution and numerous photos, both in context and as extreme close-ups. Bursting with color, forms and angles, the resulting cornucopia of visuals reflects Morla’s design ethos; she writes, “Words are as important as images. And images can be more powerful than words.”
That’s one of 25 “designisms,” Morla’s term for her reflections and observations on design. Printed on vellum and featured throughout the book, these statements are gems of insight, reflecting at once Morla’s perspective on design in society and the principles underlying her work.
Also sprinkled throughout the book are stories of Morla’s early interactions with other design giants, such as calling Andy Warhol for photos of his jeans—unbuttoned. Beyond being entertaining, these stories offer a glimpse into Morla’s ability to form connections across disciplines and integrate them into her journey as a designer, artist and educator. Notes on Morla’s major influences (and favorite typefaces) provide an additional peek into her wide-ranging interests and sources of inspiration.
“Open this book anywhere, as it is not a linear read,” writes Morla in the introduction. But beware: Opening this book is like dipping into a museum. You may lose yourself for hours, exploring the ideas and exhibits inside. —Maya P. Lim