Rumors designs visual systems for cultural, commercial, and editorial groups worldwide. We place equal emphasis on content, style, and behavior.

Work includes:

Identity, environmental graphics, and website for SCI-Arc, the foremost independent architecture school in the United States;

Direction, design, and interactive planning for Verso Books, the preeminent radical publisher;

Identity, strategy, and interaction design for Hopscotch, a visual programming app on the iPad;

Ongoing art direction of Bidoun, a magazine and website covering art and culture in the Middle East;

Interactive projects for the Canadian Centre for Architecture, including the notable 404 Error exhibition;

A new identity and design for Dissent, the long-standing quarterly of politics and culture;

and more.
(347) 689-9019

Verso — Rumors



Verso header   all small

“As a work of graphic design, it’s spectacularly impressive, varied, consistent and instantly recognisable…” — Owen Hatherly, 3am Magazine

Our collaboration with Verso began with Radical Thinkers, an ongoing paperback series of political and philosophical thought. It had already seen three volumes produced by the time we took things over; the first three volumes featured designs which emphasized the author’s name and a large ornamental bracket. We decided to abandon this in place of something new.

Our approach was a response to clichéd “radical” designs, often seen in advertising, which rely on formal gestures like ripped paper and aggressive typography. We wanted to show restraint; if the titles in this series are radical it’s for the ideas contained within, not for the packaging. But we didn’t want to reject design as a vehicle for meaning, or strip away every design element in search of a hypothetical “pure” cover, devoid of reference. So we developed a rigid palette of line and type that tries, in varying ways, to stay true to the spirit of each work.

The illustrations aren’t meant to explicitly explain the book’s content. They’re oblique, and occasionally difficult to parse, not unlike some of the texts at hand. The content doesn’t always immediately offer itself to the reader because the system opts for the poetic over the declarative.

“The uncertainty of the world lies in the fact that it has no equivalent anywhere; it cannot be exchanged for anything.”
Baudrillard, Impossible Exchange
Volume 6

Virilio, War and Cinema. From Volume 4

Foster, Design and Crime. From Volume 5

Godelier, The Mental and the Material. From Volume 6

Feuerbach, The Fiery Brook. From Volume 7

Rowbotham, Women, Resistance, and Revolution. From Volume 8

Segal, Straight Sex. From Volume 9

Mannoni, Freud. From Volume 10

Elson, Value. From Volume 11

Wood, Democracy Against Capitalism. From Volume 12

The Radical Thinkers series wouldn’t have been possible without frequent conversations with Verso, and as a result we settled into a comfortable working relationship. This grew into a collaboration on the website, where we rethought the presentation and use of Verso’s deep catalog, which reaches back to 1968.

The result is both a research tool and promotional apparatus, as useful for Verso staff as for visitors. Authors, books, blog posts, discussions, and an events calendar are tied together, with each leading to the next, making for a structure that encourages both searching and wandering.

Our work here is ongoing. We laid the groundwork for future growth with the launch, and then introduced direct book sales — including book/epub bundles with no prohibitive DRM and free shipping! — with the site’s second phase in 2014.

While working on the website we became intimately familiar with Verso’s catalog. This led to a series of conversations about their overall design strategy, and eventually to our art directing their catalog of about eighty titles a year.

Our ongoing goal is to grow readership by pulling in design-literate book buyers. Many of these readers have only second-hand exposure to the authors and ideas that Verso publishes; if we can get just one first-year art student to read Jean Baudrillard or Hal Foster, we’ll be satisfied. (Not really.) It’s been our privilege and pleasure to commission covers from some of our favorite designers, including Michael Oswell, Neil Donnelly, Sulki & Min, and Everything Studio.

For infrequent updates of new covers, follow Verso Covers on tumblr.

Dardot and Laval, The New Way of the World
Design by Michael Oswell

Hancox, The Village Against the World
Illustration by Josh Cochran

Pasolini, St. Paul
Design by Everything Studio

Ranciére, The Intervals of Cinema
Design by Jessica Svendsen

Bjerg, Making Money
Design by Erik Carter

Silverstein, The Secret World of Oil
Design by Matt Dorfman

Althusser, On the Reproduction of Capitalism
Design by Neil Donnelly

Kundnani, The Muslims are Coming
Design by Oliver Munday

Radio Benjamin
Design by Isaac Tobin

Wark, The Beach Beneath the Street
Design by Adly Elewa