An inside look into the MENDO design process
MENDO has produced 26 books and many more in the works. In case you didn’t know, those 26 books were initiated, designed and published by us, and in particular by our designers Joeri Worm and Joost Albronda, also known as hashtagjoost. You probably recognize Joeri from our store. But who is this mysterious Joost figure? And why does he go by the name of hashtagjoost? Here’s a glimpse of who’s / what’s behind the account.
Who or what is hashtagjoost?
Actually, hashtagjoost is kind of my personal design diary. Our “friend” Kapi Alem, once coined the name because of my absence on Instagram, and I ended up using it as a new way of documenting my design progress. I think it shows that making a book is not just an assignment that results in a design. It’s a journey that doesn’t really have an end for me.
Could you describe that journey?
It’s constantly making decisions, revisions, amendments, scribbles, starting over, going back to what you first had. Making a book is such a rollercoaster sometimes, but every decision is made, based on the previous one. It’s great, but it’s also hard work. At the end of the journey is the final result, and I think there is no right or wrong there. So when people say that they don’t like a certain color or font, that feels pretty weird to me because it isn’t a matter of nice or not nice. When someone says they don’t like it, it’s probably because they don’t know where it comes from.
How do you deal with that?
Well, you always know there will be a point of feedback and most of the times the feedback is justified. But sometimes it doesn’t correspond to what happened inside your head when you made the design. Designing is a profession in which you have to be vulnerable. You start with a blank canvas with unlimited options, and by filling that space, and making choices, you rule out other options. This way you’ll get into a trajectory of constant doubt and insecurities. It’s not a one-man-show, but you’ll see that every design has a lot of myself in it.
How exactly do you work?
I usually already have an idea of what the book must look like and most of the times I know what the images will look like. That’s where I’ll start. I always try to challenge myself by doing things I haven’t done before, but it is a step by step process. It can happen that I start with an idea from which I go in a completely different direction, but end up at the same idea I started with. It’s never one straight line. Everyday I try new things, or remove things that I’ve added before. In a way you’re never finished.
That must be difficult when making a book.
When a book is printed, you can’t do anything about it. So at a certain point, you’re obligated to make a definitive choice. Which is something you should do, but as a designer, you never really want to.
Then why do you do it?
Because I love to find new ways of creating something that feels complete. To me, the process is almost as important as the book itself. Perhaps even more important. That’s why I started the instagram account as well.
To capture the process?
Yes. In the journey of creating a book, you’re making baby steps. With hashtagjoost I wanted to record those steps as a reminder or reference to my own work. It wasn’t intended as something for the public, but rather as a simple tool for me to look back on the work in progress. I’ve always made PDF records of what I was doing, but Instagram is a nice way to quickly post something and see it in perspective. It shows the rough drafts that were the results of that day. Most of them weren’t even thought through. That unpolished work is fun, that’s why I post it on Instagram. It reminds me to not play it safe. And those that are interested, are allowed to follow as well. Although I don’t really do it for the followers.
‘In a way you’re never finished’
‘In a way you’re never finished’
That’s what they all say.
Yeah but you know, it might not even be that much fun to follow me on Instagram. I don’t use funny captions and some of the stuff I post doesn’t even make sense. That’s why I don’t follow any friends or family either, just a few interesting accounts in terms of design and print. hashtagjoost is just a record of my creative outings, which are sometimes very interesting for MENDO fans, but often are completely random. Perhaps the most interesting thing is to know who made the fonts or photos. But I guess that’s only interesting for design buffs.
There are, however, some previews of books that are still being made or perhaps will never even become reality.
I feel like we’re in a time where it doesn’t revolve around the perfect final product anymore. The process towards that product is equally important, and for me even more important. It’s not about giving updates on where we are in the process, though. Some things I post are just random typographic experiments that make no sense at all.
Then why should people follow you?
They probably shouldn’t. I have more unfollowers than followers (if that makes sense). So learn from those who have followed me in the past.
Will there ever be a personal Joost account?
Got any exciting things you’re working on lately?
We’ve got some pretty cool new books coming up that are now available for pre-order. And I’m working on a book that allows me to go completely crazy. (Of which you can see some previews on my Instagram.)
So, maybe people should follow you?
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