New East Digital Archive

“It’s a long-distance run.” Designer Ania Nałęcka on the art of photo book making

“It's a long-distance run.” Designer Ania Nałęcka on the art of photo book making

10 June 2016

Polish-born Ania Nałęcka is prolific in the world of photo books. The designer of some our favourite photo books of recent years (including PKiN by Jacek Fota and Presentiment by Yulia Krivich), she started Tapir Book Design in 2009 after leaving an advertising agency where she was an art director.

The first books she collaborated on were At the Border, the inaugural publication by Sputnik Photos, and 7 Rooms by its founder, Polish photographer and Nałęcka’s partner Rafal Milach. Her books are simple but have a timeless quality. She often chooses hardbacks in block colours, meaning each of her covers reveal the content subtly, whether with a line drawing or faint screen print, while many are left blank.

Besides being a designer, she’s also somewhat of a personal coach. “After one of my presentations a fellow designer approached me and she said that it seems that my work is mostly as a psychologist. I have to really understand the artist and his story, to be able to do my part done well.” On actually making a book, she reflects, “It’s a process, and if you are open to look for the best solutions for the story, you are ready to change everything till the very end.”

Ahead of Photobook Bristol, where she’s holding an all day workshop on the topic, we asked her on her advice for photographers looking to make their first photo book. “Ask yourself why you want to make a book and why on this particular story. But most importantly, if you have enough strength and determination because it’s a long-distance run,” she replied.

Photobook Bristol festival runs from 10 until 12 June. The full schedule of events can be found here.