Graphic Life

I’m fascinated by monographs, as a concept, but generally find most underwhelming, self-aggrandizing printed portfolios. A successful monograph could and should recontextualize a body of work, revealing the threads that connect otherwise unrelated client work, and allowing the designers’ voice to illuminate the often faceless projects. Pentagram partner Michael Gericke’s new monograph, Graphic Life, does all these things and more.  Gericke joined Pentagram in 1985, first as a designer for Pentagram founder Colin Forbes, before becoming partner himself a few years later, making him the second longest-service partner at the studio. Over his nearly 40 year career, Gericke’s work has focused on three broad areas, revealed in the monograph: places, stories, and symbols. At 519 pages, the monograph calls to mind the equally massive monographs like Rem Koolhaas’s SMLXL or 2×4’s 2009 it is what it is. With this size, filled with immersive, full-bleed photography, Gericke creates an experience that is architectural in its own right, making an object that allows the longtime Pentagram partner to step into his own spotlight.