Album binding should be "minus"
Li Zhenwei Yan Minxin/Planner
【Editor's note】The State Administration for Market Regulation newly revised and issued the mandatory national standard "Requirements for Limiting Excessive Packaging of Commodities Food and Cosmetics" (GB 23350-2021) officially came into force on September 1, regulating the packaging requirements for 31 types of food and 16 types of cosmetics, and the document further emphasizes that grain and its processed products should not be over-packaged.
In the binding design of the album, there is also the same problem, some albums show a large, thick, heavy binding tendency, some album binding far beyond the basic function of the packaging itself, forming a waste of resources. Of course, as a special cultural commodity, the originality and appropriateness of the binding design of books are very important, and it is worth thinking about how to eliminate the extravagance and waste of binding while ensuring the quality of the album. This review focuses on this topic.
Guide to this issue
● Tian Songqing: Focusing on originality and appropriateness is the publishing trend of future albums
● He Weiping: Over-packaging of albums should be braked in time
● Wang Boxun: Practice the concept of comprehensive and economical green publishing
● Liu Guang: The "burden reduction" of album binding should continue to be reduced
Focusing on originality and appropriateness is the trend of future album publishing
In essence, the outer packaging of food and cosmetics has nothing to do with the food and cosmetics themselves, so the "burden reduction" of the outer packaging will not affect the quality of the goods themselves.
However, as a special cultural commodity, books are fundamentally different from food and cosmetics. The main body of book sales is culture, but this subject must rely on the carrier - paper to bear, and through the binding design after printing and packaging, so as to form a complete cultural commodity. Culture, carrier (paper), binding design (printing package) are indispensable. Therefore, the binding design of books is fundamentally different from the outer packaging of food and cosmetics. Because of this, in addition to the content itself and the processing of the editor, the originality and appropriateness of the binding design will play a very important role.
As a niche product in books, art books, especially picture books, can be counted as "luxuries" in books, whether it is function, content, layout design, or folio size, paper quality, printing process requirements, pricing, print count, etc., are very different from ordinary books. The main function of this kind of album is not for daily reading, but more for the perfect display and reproduction of artworks, for flipping and collecting, so it has high requirements for paper and printing technology, and also requires large folios, such as 16, 8, 6 or even 4 (such as Shanghai Calligraphy and Painting Publishing House's "Shi Wall Plate") large format to display the details of the artwork. Therefore, it is not entirely reasonable to use only large (area), thickness (volume), and weight (weight) to judge whether an album is "over-bound".
Because of this, the publishing houses that now publish the album, including our Shanghai Calligraphy and Painting Publishing House, have basically abandoned the low-end method of only seeking large, thick and heavy to highlight the artist's works in the binding design of the album, and pay more attention to originality and appropriateness. For example, according to the content, form and accuracy of the picture selection of folios, like the aforementioned "History Wall Plate", because of the blessing of high-tech photographic equipment and photography technology, we can enlarge a single golden text ultra-high definition on the bronze history wall plate by more than 100 times, presenting shocking visual effects and unparalleled research samples, so after several studies, we finally decided to use the rare 4-folio (350×530mm) printing. Although the 4-open "History Wall Plate" is super large, every reader who reads this book is amazed and shocked by the exquisite ancient characters of the mainland, and the cultural confidence has risen sharply.
For example, in terms of materials, it is not the thicker the paper, the better, but whether it is suitable for the printing of the content of the album. The "Wang Guowei Hand-copied Hai Rilou Poem" published by our company adopts the form of wire-bound rice paper printing, which is a high-imitation copy of the original book. The original book is one volume, and if it is printed on traditional handmade rice paper, it must be bound into two volumes because of the thickness. After considering various paper solutions, the editor-in-charge chose an ultra-thin handmade rice paper that was not common, which perfectly solved the problem of binding into a book, and although this rice paper is thin and tough, and has an excellent feel, this book has been well received by the industry as soon as it came out. This further proves that originality and perfection in the binding is the best. In addition, the originality and appropriateness of the binding can also play a key role in the strict control of costs and proper pricing of the album.
I think that as a modern professional art publishing house that keeps pace with the times, the binding of the art albums we publish should have already crossed the stage of "large, thick and heavy" binding tendency, and is leaping towards a higher realm of exquisite, precise and essence. ■
(The author is the editor-in-chief of Shanghai Calligraphy and Painting Publishing House)
Excessive packaging of albums should brake in time
The "Requirements for Limiting Excessive Packaging of Goods Food and Cosmetics" (GB 23350-2021) became mandatory on September 1. At the same time, "Stepping onto the Peak of Painting Creation in the New Era-Renmei 'Da Hong Pao' 30th Anniversary Exhibition and Seminar" coincides with the call for papers. The organizer, People's Art Publishing House, proposed to "highlight the aesthetic values of the times and disseminate contemporary Chinese values" through the event. As a representative of the heavyweight album of Chinese art, the high-cost binding and printing of "Da Hong Pao" has undoubtedly attracted a lot of attention, and the fashion it has led since its first publication in 1993 needs to be revisited in this context.
As a carrier for the dissemination of cultural heritage, the beautifully bound album itself does not need to be blamed, and the first batch of "Da Hong Pao" selected by Ren Bonian, Wu Changshuo, Qi Baishi, etc. is among them. From this perspective, the "weight" of the album even has the sublime significance of paying homage to culture. However, as one of the means of self-marketing of painters in the commercial era, luxurious binding is also the result of the collusion of all parties in the market, which belongs to the trading behavior of profit gain and willingness to fight, and there is no need to discuss too much. However, seeking personal gain in the name of academia, destroying the art ecology by using public confusion, and causing unnecessary waste at high costs are another matter. Roughly speaking, the three different perspectives of painters, publishers, and the public contribute to the continuous evolution of this phenomenon, and it is also convenient for us to initially sort out the cognitive path to find a solution to this problem.
In addition to the academic publication of classic works, as far as the appeal of the album - the painter, family members and investors are concerned, there is even a rumor in the art circle that the painter "was born in the art museum and died into the 'big red robe'". Entering the National Art Museum of China to hold solo exhibitions and squeeze into the publication of the "Da Hong Pao" series has become the painter's long-term mission and direction of efforts. The painter himself or his family members are forced to follow the trend of involution with painters of the same level, or are positioned to invest in the market game, which is the so-called "one book in hand, no worries about the market". Under the needs of identity matching, compliance with the market, academic pursuit and even collection awards, painters and their families have become the claimants of excessive packaging of albums.
From the side of planning, designing and publishing albums, although publishing houses still assume the responsibility of national and local cultural publishing, under the dual pressure of self-responsibility and the rise of digital communication after the transformation of publishing houses, how to balance academic standards and survival profits is also a problem. Therefore, the publishing process adheres to the practice of multi-party benefit, gradually dilutes serious publishing standards in the face of continuous market shocks, and openly accepts intuitive economic investment and self-funded projects. As far as the publisher is concerned, the economic benefits invested by painters and investors have become a potential bargaining chip to measure the volume, binding and design of the album, and the expert committees, designers, review and filing and other links in the process, except for the strict review of the publicity department in terms of content pictures, the rest have become process work, which cannot effectively suppress the excessive binding and packaging of the album.
From the perspective of practitioners, collectors and enthusiasts, the fine album is convenient to reflect the status and "strength" of the painter from the side, the large-format album provides the necessary conditions for practitioners to deeply appreciate and study the work, and the luxurious packaging is also convenient to dispel the doubts of collectors who lack judgment on the painting itself. There are even empty shelves in large and small libraries and private clubs. Despite the criticism, luxury albums have long been a "private matter" of other people's homes, and most of them have not entered the regular book sales channels, but are mostly circulated in the form of activities and internal gifts, which have nothing to do with mass consumption and are naturally not within the scope of relevant government policies.
Art theorist Chen Chuanxi once described the binding of a book: "There is a sleeve outside the book, a hard shell outside the sleeve, and a large wooden box outside the shell, the wooden box can be pulled open, the production is very exquisite, the wooden box is lined with yellow velvet, and the outside is painted and carved, which is extremely luxurious." Outside the wooden box is a carrying bag, which is made of cloth and cloth, and has pictures printed on it. Seeing the package, the author expressed "great annoyance". Designer Yu Bingnan also expressed his opposition to "painting albums made into handicrafts", calling them "design garbage"; Some designers described this kind of album production phenomenon as "beyond the boundless decoration of the text theme", and denounced its design and printing as "unlimited addition without cost".
In view of this, on the occasion of the implementation of the country's mandatory standards for food and cosmetics packaging, the practitioners behind paintings with collectibles, gifts and market attributes should take the initiative to reflect, and the excessive packaging of albums as typical derivatives should brake in time. The album should build a visual order for the content of the work between the artist, the publisher and the user, and grasp the relationship between classic inheritance, art dissemination and appreciation experience; Especially under the premise of the high maturity of electronic albums, we should adhere to the basic principles of artistic works to carry forward the core socialist values and excellent traditional culture, start from the album as the "business card" of the painter, respond to the relevant regulations of the state on economy, and create a clean art ecology.
Li Shangyin Shiyun: "After experiencing the former virtuous country and family, success is made by diligence and thrift. "The publications represented by the "Da Hong Pao" album have completed the mission of inheriting the classics and deserve recognition. However, its follow-up trend is still in the inertial continuation of the triple inherent factors of painters, publishers and readers in a certain period of time, and it is urgent to refer to the relevant suggestions of the state on excessive packaging and "return to place" in the new communication of the rise of electronic albums, so as to effectively "highlight the aesthetic value of the times and disseminate contemporary Chinese values". ■
(The author is an associate professor at Changzhou Textile and Garment Vocational and Technical College)
Practice the green publishing concept of comprehensive economy
A few days ago, the State Administration for Market Regulation newly revised and issued the "Restrictions on Excessive Packaging Requirements for Food and Cosmetics" (GB 23350-2021), which is a mandatory national standard that gives specific implementation standards for packaging in the field of food and cosmetics production. Art albums are cultural consumer products, and packaging (book binding) is an indispensable production link. The newly introduced implementation standards are not only applicable to the packaging of food and cosmetics products, but also have important reference significance for the art field album publishing industry.
"Han Feizi" wrote about such an interesting story, in order to achieve the purpose of successfully selling the jewelry, the jeweler made a gorgeous box for the jewelry, resulting in the farce of the buyer abandoning the jewelry and only taking the box. Of course, in real life, this situation cannot happen, and people's decision on the trade-off of an item is ultimately based on the actual functional effectiveness of the item, not the other way around. As a classic fable, it is intended to be an allegory for the absurd behavior of society that abandons the book to the end, and gives people a warning.
The publication of art albums in the past also had drawbacks similar to "buying and returning beads" to a certain extent. As we all know, art creation is a systematic work, not only including the artist's labor on the shelf of the studio, but also the systematic peripheral services, such as life experience, material arrangement, material supply, work decoration, exhibition display, publicity and introduction, marketing and album publishing, all of which work together to form a complete closed loop of art production. The uniqueness of the original work is a key constraint to the dissemination of artworks, and before the maturity of digital intelligent technology, album publishing (print media) assumed the main function of communication.
At the same time, due to the short time and unidirectional nature of the on-site display of artworks, the album becomes a flat carrier for the permanent display of artworks, providing the possibility for people to achieve sustainable reading of artworks and for researchers to implement in-depth interpretation of artists and their works. It can be seen that the publication of albums is one of the components of the art production chain, which has multiple functions such as publicizing the practical achievements of artists, continuing the exhibition space of works, amplifying the social influence of works, accumulating art history research materials, and cultivating the art consumption market, and plays an irreplaceable role in the process of fully realizing the social value of artworks.
However, once upon a time, the publication of albums was far from its essential attributes, and albums became a symbol of individual artists' "strength" and an externalized symbol of wealth, and also became an important means of displaying "extra-painting kung fu". Influenced by this concept, excessive binding has become a common practice in the field of album publishing, and the strange phenomenon of "buying and returning beads" is not uncommon, and for a time there were endless abuses in the field of album publishing.
The large, thick and heavy album was doomed to be shelved from the moment it was printed. As a result, people often see that at the opening of the exhibition, many guests avoid receiving the album because they are worried that the album is too heavy; Even when they are taken home, they rarely take it out and read it carefully, but use it as an accessory on the shelf, buried in the dust of time. Over-bound luxury albums inevitably correspond to high pricing, which will affect market circulation, and eventually hinder the information transmission function that the album should have, resulting in the circulation of the album being limited to a narrow social circle of acquaintances, which seriously violates the fundamental compliance of socialist literature and art centered on the people, and objectively leads to a great waste of printing materials.
The report of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China put forward: "Implement a comprehensive conservation strategy and promote the conservation and intensive utilization of various resources." "A social atmosphere of green and low-carbon development and advocating conservation is taking shape, and the importance of comprehensive conservation strategies is increasingly rooted in the hearts of the people. All kinds of chaos that had occurred in the field of album publishing had been effectively controlled, and the implementation of comprehensive savings had gradually become the consciousness of art production in the new era.
At present, the implementation of the concept of comprehensive and economical green publishing still needs to deal with the following aspects.
First, call on the vast number of artists to change their concepts, establish the overall view that resource conservation is related to the sustainable development of the Chinese nation, recognize the importance of comprehensive conservation to the green and sustainable development of the mainland's economy and society, improve the consciousness and sense of urgency of resource conservation, combine the comprehensive conservation strategy with personal artistic production, strictly practice conservation, and oppose waste; Second, continue to introduce relevant laws and policies, pay close attention to revising and improving relevant laws and regulations on energy conservation management, continuously enhance the pertinence and effectiveness of laws and regulations, improve the relevant laws and regulations for album publishing, and try to establish a grading system for album publishing; Third, according to the current development level of the industry and the expectations of medium and long-term development goals, scientifically determine the energy efficiency indicators of the publishing and printing industry, standardize the production behavior of publishing enterprises, strengthen the constraints of professional standards, and use institutional means to control the chaos in the field of album publishing; Fourth, accelerate the application of technological innovation, adjust and optimize the layout of the publishing and printing industry, truly realize the transformation and upgrading of the publishing industry structure to improve the level of album printing, and truly realize the green saving of album publishing.
It is believed that with the implementation of the national standard of "Limiting Excessive Packaging Requirements for Food and Cosmetics", in the near future, whether it is food cosmetics or published printed matter, a green saving wind will be formed, and the farce of "buying and returning pearls" only exists in fables. ■
(The author works at the National Art Museum of China)
The "burden reduction" of album binding should continue to be reduced
How to "reduce the burden" of album binding was once a "problem".
If you use a relatively fashionable word to describe the root of this "problem", it is probably "involution". The involution between calligraphers and painters, the involution between the "services" of the publishing industry, and even the contest between paper publishing and new media have made the comparison between publishing and binding pay more and more attention to external forms. Of course, the driving force that supports this kind of involution, for calligraphers and painters, may not be the psychology of comparison - folio, material, design, etc., in the mutual borrowing and reference, step by step and "up" - your folio is bigger, mine is greater; If your material is good, mine will use better; Your designer chooses a big name, and I don't spare a lot of money.
Whether calligraphers and painters package more "decently" for the sake of "face" or out of "forced business", the waste caused objectively is always obvious to all.
As far as the author is concerned, since 2020, the problem of excessive waste of this binding has been gradually solved and improved. On the one hand, because the activity of the art market is affected by the macroeconomic development trend, the overall performance of the art market is not as active as a few years ago, so calligraphers and painters have also tightened their "pockets", and the unnecessary publishing and printing expenses have also shrunk sharply; On the other hand, for publishing houses, its adoption of "reduction reform, high-quality development" is an inevitable trend, especially for paper publishing, shrinking volume, improving quality, and competing to launch high-quality publishing projects are undoubtedly the needs of their own development, but also the core elements of basing themselves on the industry and winning the market.
Today, paper publications are no longer a competition of external luxury - under the pressure of new media communication, under the background of a large number of calligraphers and painters withdrawing from the "inner volume", the overall volume of publishing is shrinking compared with previous years, which may seem pessimistic, but as far as the publishing industry is concerned, the comprehensive quality of paper publishing content and form is constantly improving. Although the external form is also an important aspect of the image presentation of books, the focus on design and economy has also become an important aspect of competition between publishing houses. In general, there are fewer gift books and more academic books; There are fewer books to decorate the façade and more books to read; There are fewer shoddy books and more carefully planned books. Publishing houses are also becoming more and more "business-based", blindly "on projects" less, and more digging and cultivating the field; There is more emphasis on publishing quality, less complexity and luxury than assembly.
In some publishing houses or printing houses, the phenomenon of extravagant and wasteful album printing exists, and the phenomenon of overbinding is naturally inevitable - after all, not all albums need to be printed, and not all binding can be economized. However, with the change of readers' reading habits and the improvement of professional judgment ability, it is naturally not difficult to judge which are the waste of resources and which are just the right effect. As far as the author observes, with the improvement of public aesthetics, the diversification of perspectives from self-media remarks, and the sharper discussion of specific artworks, the authority of the previous "heavyweight" publishing and printing is gradually disintegrating - the audience pays more attention to personal feelings, although these judgments may not be professional, but the feelings about artworks, especially calligraphy and painting works, are more direct. This process can be understood as over-binding being "minus".
Whether it is constrained by objective economic conditions, or painters and publishing houses paying more attention to content and depth (height), in recent years, the situation of extravagance and waste of album binding has objectively improved. But from the perspective of the environment and soil, only by improving the reader's appreciation and identification ability, only by cultivating and supporting the "good money" of the publishing industry, those publishing and printing that only have decorative functions to revel in themselves, those "series" that seem bluffing at first glance and those that are very similar, will eventually be like the emperor's new clothes, scorned by readers, and those gorgeous bindings will gradually be abandoned by society and industry because of the lack of audience and soil. ■
(The author is the deputy director of the editorial department of "Chinese Calligraphy and Painting")
Edit | Yan Minxin
Production | Feng Yaying
Proofreading | Wang Milin
Second Instance | Ma Zilei
Third Instance | Feng Zhijun