BANG! is an annual printed magazine published by illustrator Klaas Verplancke as a unique way to display his work. Utilizing a different art director with each issue, Klaas just finished his second installment. We asked Klaas to tell us more about his new publication.
SPD: What is BANG!
Klaas Verplancke: BANG! is a promotional showcase of my illustration artwork, published as a personal magazine. The majority of the very limited print run is sent to my personal selection of creative directors, art directors, editors and publishers. Only 100 copies are available for purchase via www.bangmagazine.limited. I’m pleased to quote Steven Heller here: “BANG! is the best artist’s promotion on the seven seas. It’s a beautifully and tastefully conceived publication that makes me happy just to look at it.”
SPD: Why did you decide to create this type of publication?
KV: I’m familiar with promotional communication and how to stand out from the common rules and habits since I have a background and experience as an art director in publicity and communication agencies. Artists are usually too focused on production, and forget to invest in creative thinking in the marketing and promotion of that work. I brand and market my work. BANG! is a carefully developed concept that fuses graphic designers, printers and paper developers with my work. The outcome is a high level collector’s item, made for my target audience.
SPD: How do you choose the guest designer?
KV: Every issue is art directed by a young, groundbreaking designer who can start from scratch with my portfolio and create a publication to conform with his or her vision and signature. I bookmark potential graphic designers on social media and try to select names who can be challenged by designing a mainly visual tabloid. The work of Ines Cox, who designed Issue #1, is fundamentally typographic, and Tim Bisschop, who designed Issue #2, is a book designer. Both had to leave their comfort zones to invent and create the concept of their BANG!
SPD: What was the collaboration process like on your most recent issue?
KV: The designer works totally free and independently. I provide a selection of my complete portfolio that serves as the visual database for the issue. The designer develops the concept and designs the combinations, layouts and compositions according to his/her ideas.
Tim and I had about 4 or 5 meetings to discuss the ideas and finalize the selection of the images and the words. He quickly came up with the idea to interact my imagination with bold typography. Words that reflect on the images and play with possible interpretations of what you see. It is a concept I liked a lot, since most of my work is initially made to dialogue with text and meaning. A different design reveals a different story and shows how an image can have different layers and appearances.
SPD: Why did you want to print this on tabloid paper?
KV: A tabloid is a medium in between a large newspaper and a magazine. It is possible to create poster like pages as well as thumbnail compositions. I also wanted to play with the short lifespan of a newspaper and turn it into a high quality printed and designed publication. A one day paper that changed into a limited and exclusive collector’s item; that was a contradiction that fascinated me and gave me the opportunity to show my portfolio in an unusual, new environment. And finally, print is a statement, more than ever. Once more, Steven Heller: “Just the idea that Verplancke invested in a printed tabloid paper in this digital age to show off his very clever offerings, earns him a place in the illustration pantheon, but to do so with such a high level of design class as this makes him a hero.”
Books and other printed publications have become art objects to treasure. Print is not dead, even in these digital times. On the contrary, the essential beauty and uniqueness of print becomes clearer and more relevant as a creation tool.
SPD: What do you have planned for Issue 3?
KV: I will absolutely continue the concept with the same partners, and I’m currently looking for the next art director. Young graphic designers who would like to apply as thé guest designer of BANG! #3 can submit their CV, portfolio and a brief presentation of their concept for BANG! #3 to email@example.com.
Klaas Verplancke is a worldwide acclaimed illustrator, animator, author, lecturer, jury member, curator and keynote speaker. His work have been commissioned by The New Yorker, The New York Times, Pentagram, MoMA, Centre Pompidou, Marc O’ Polo et al and selected for the annual competition of American Illustration, Society of Illustrators, AOI and 3x3, where he was recently awarded a gold medal. Klaas is on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.