Ryan Polich is our design and production assistant and image manager at Marquand Books, which means he is busy turning visions for book projects into tangible realities. Ryan moves from designing book layouts and managing images on his computer to printing and binding small-run books and brochures by hand. This week, we caught up with Ryan to ask him a few questions about book production and design.
What is your current favorite typeface?
Franklin Gothic. It’s a solid design that’s really versatile, but still has plenty of personality. The fact that it was designed over one hundred years ago and still looks contemporary is also pretty fantastic.
What does a typical day as the design and production assistant and image manager look like?
There is definitely no such thing as a typical day for me, and that’s just perfect. I’m involved in a lot of different activities in the office: layout, design, printing and binding, image management—it’s never slow, and there’s always something new to keep me on my toes. I don’t think I’m cut out for a predictable job—I’d probably just fall asleep at my desk.
What sparked your interest in book production?
Working on books is one of those things that I didn’t realize I should be doing until I started doing it. When I started at Marquand Books, I thought it might be an interesting change of pace from the design work I had been doing. And now that I’ve been here awhile, it’s hard for me to think about doing anything else. Part of that is because you can access a book from so many angles; sure, you may be drawn to the content, but you can also appreciate the design, the typography, the printing, and the binding. I’ve always been a type geek and a designer at heart, so I think that was the doorway into the world of book production for me. Books are places where design and typography can really thrive and do what they do best.
What projects have you been excited to work on this year?
The Rodin book we’re wrapping up has been a really interesting project—it uses a wide variety of printing techniques, so there had to be a lot of thought and planning about how it was going to work from a production standpoint. I’ve also gotten the chance to stretch my legs a little more from a design perspective this year—there are a couple projects where I’ve been heavily involved in the design process, or have built the design from the ground up.
What things, people, or experiences have recently inspired your work?
I find a lot of inspiration in letterpress printing, especially within the community of printers at the School of Visual Concepts (where I’m an occasional teaching assistant). After spending a day sitting in front of a computer, it’s so amazing to interact with physical pieces of type and make something tangible and immediate with them. And the experience directly relates to the world of books, because it’s how books were made for hundreds of years. That alone is crazy and inspiring—it’s not very often you get to tinker with such old and important technology.
photography by Jeremy Linden