By Paul Sahre
320 pages, hardbound, $37.50
Published by Abrams
Each year, hundreds of design books that neatly present case study after case study are published, guiding readers through their subjects’ creations. Eschewing such a route, though, is exactly what makes Two-Dimensional Man, by Paul Sahre, such a revelation. The graphic memoir instead offers a razor-sharp view of Sahre’s life in design, charting the experiences and day-to-day exchanges that have shaped Sahre into the designer he is today.
Sahre begins with his escape from his suburban “Wonder Bread America” upbringing and his entry into a world that he’s since made his own, revisiting his 30-year career in fast-paced chapters. The sublime layout toys with typography, and pictures and artwork punctuate his many stories, such as designing the typeface Fur Extra-Rounded (and seeing it picked up for an ad campaign for Dr. Scholl’s) and the time he and his team built—then destroyed—a life-size pink monster hearse. But far from simply blowing his own trumpet, Sahre also recalls notable failures to dramatic effect, including a doomed, expletive-laden meeting with the band Steely Dan.
Throughout, Sahre also weaves in notions of politics and family, revealed through stories of the deeply affecting relationships he’s had with his brothers. These include times with his brother Angus, who died in 2005 following his struggles with alcoholism, and Greg, with whom he collabo-
rated on a global project. The resulting memoir is enlightening, entertaining and sobering at different points—but always illuminating. —Ben Olsen