Litographs: Word-shaded art


I first learned about Litographs at the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Light Bash. Their posters were part of the swag bags given to guests at the end of the night. There were a variety of options from Moby Dick to Alice in Wonderland, however, I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Pride and Prejudice one.

pride and prejudice posterIf you can’t figure out why one would get excited over a poster then you have never seen one of Litograph’s designs. To the left, you can see my poster inspired by the classic Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice. It’s gorgeous, right? Not only is it gorgeous, it is made entirely out of words, which are completely legible! Every Litograph design emerges from the text of a book. They use the words from the book itself to illustrate the memorable characters and scenes we have all imagined when reading one of our favourite books.

Litographs specializes not just in posters, but will place the same design on tote bags and t-shirts (for both men and women). You can watch their video here, detailing how they make their t-shirts.  All of the Litograph products come with a choice or colour from black and white to green or purple, and they are all printed locally in Cambridge, MA.

Another great thing about Litographs is their choice in books. They don’t just go the classics and instead have a varied list of book options for every book lover out there. Their genres include American Lit, British Lit, Children’s, Epics, Essay Collections, Mystery, Nonfiction, Plays, Poetry, Sci-fi Fantasy, Science, Shakespeare, and Story Collections. Recently, Litographs has also just started a chain of literary tattoos, which you can opt in to be a part of. I am eagerly awaiting their actual temporary tattoo line.

Litographs wuthering heights toteSince I already have a poster, I have now been eyeing their Wuthering Heights tote design. It is quite whimsical with the view from the window.

However, Litographs is always coming up with new designs, and if you subscribe to their newsletter they will notify you every time a new design is available to purchase. Their most recent addition is that of the Time Traveler’s Wife, and it is giving Wuthering Heights a run for its money. I especially like Litographs time traveler's wife designit as a t-shirt.

You can browse their collection here and see for yourself the endless options. Litographs would definitely make a great present for any book lovers you know or it would also make a great gift for yourself. We all need a little spoiling now and then, and I definitely like the idea of art lovingly made from the words that have brought me joy. What could be better?





Penguin Turns 40 at IFOA

Penguin Canada 40th Anniversary

On October 28th, 2014, Penguin Canada celebrated its fortieth anniversary as part of the Harbourfront Centre’s International Festival of Authors (IFOA). To commemorate the event, four authors joined a round table discussion to discuss the transformative power of literature and Penguin books, specifically. The discussion was moderated by Jared Bland, the Arts Editor of the Globe and Mail, and the authors present were Joseph Boyden, Lee Henderson, John Ralston Saul and Johanna Skibsrud.

Unfortunately, I was a bit late for the event, so I missed some of the readings that happened. Each author picked a book Penguin has published in that the recent or distant past to read from, describing its importance in the literary world. The reading I particularly enjoyed was given by John Ralston Saul, a published author as well as the international President of PEN International. He read from Dead Souls a novel by Nikolai Gogol published in 1842. The novel is a satire meant to demonstrate the flaws and faults of the Russian population. This ailing social system is shown through the selfish actions of one man named Chichikov. The book is anything but subtle in its criticism and its obtuse obviousness was hilarious to behold during Saul’s reading from different sections of the book. I find myself intrigued to read the whole book, considering the love I already have for Russian literature.

IFOAAfter the readings, all the authors sat down with Jared Bland to discuss books, the act of reading, and their  favourite publisher, Penguin of Canada. However, I think the best conversation, or debate really, was on the phenomenon of e-books. As a publishing professional, I understand the value of this new technology and keeping up with the trend, but as a ready I haven’t joined in. I am a lover of the physical book, therefore, I can’t imagine giving up the sensation of feeling or smelling the pages of old and new books alike. Frankly, I don’t think the smell of technology is all that enticing. So when Lee Anderson started to berate the e-book’s existence, I was all for it.

Anderson went on to say he can’t leave the house without a book and that when he visits other people he loves browsing their shelves if they have a great library in their homes. He made it quite clear just how odd it would be to ask to see someone’s e-reader and be amazed at their collection. Hands down, it was the best rant ever! You had to be there to truly appreciate what was said and Anderson’s accompanied hand actions to support his opinion. Absolutely priceless, and many of the other authors in attendance agreed.

They also all agreed that Penguin is everlasting and infinite. Everyone knows that orange colour and that little penguin logo. Merged with Random House or not, Penguin will always stand on its own as a valued publisher and a friend to all readers and their shelf space. Anderson put it perfectly when he said, “You can always trust that little bird.”

Overall, it was a great evening at IFOA and a beautiful celebration of Penguin and the art of publishing. And upon filing out of the Brigantine Room, all the attendees were given a Penguin bag, a miniature Penguin notebook, a key chain in the shape of the infamous penguin, and best of all, a Penguin poster with the statement “Go Away I’m Reading” (there was also champagne!). Pretty awesome perks from a pretty awesome publisher.

Penguin Poster

Happy Anniversary, Penguin Canada! (now shush, I’m reading)