A couple weeks ago I ended up at a tiny online store (to find a shirt I wanted) and clicked around a little before I left. In their “Books” section was Be Here Now by Ram Dass and the illustrations they sampled were astonishing.
I dug a little to find out more. You can read the whole thing online; I haven’t (yet) but I was just taken with the art. Was that type hand lettered? Rubber stamped?! Turns out it was rubber stamped–I found this article about the making of the book on Fonts In Use:
Ram Daas explained the production process in a 1970 lecture at the Menninger Foundation that was later published in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology:
They start with these four-foot pieces of cardboard and this book is 108 pages and each day they meditate from five to eight in the morning – there’s a group of five of them – and then all in silence … they hand rubber-stamp each page, all the letters of the page, and then the artists do all the sketching around the thing. Then the whole thing is photo-reduced and shipped to Japan where it’s printed on rice paper and hand stitched because it’s an experiential-type document.
As the Fonts In Use article says, “The book is a feat of non-mechanical text arrangement” and pretty amazing to dip in to–both for medium and for message (for this hippie, at least).
(That “Surfing” one made it up to my office wall.)