Book Design

Design for a book by influential hair stylist Guido Palau and photographer David Sims that highlights hair as a transformative medium.

Guido Palau, also known as simply Guido, is an unparalleled force in fashion, a hair stylist who has worked alongside many of the most influential designers and photographers to shape contemporary beauty. A progenitor of fashion's “grunge” movement in the 1990s, Guido continues to use hair to explore notions of identity. Hair is a book by Guido and the renowned fashion photographer David Sims that highlights hair as a transformative medium in a series of portraits of unique and astonishing styles.

Pentagram has designed Hair to showcase Guido’s avant-garde creations as works of art. Created over a two-year period, the 70 portraits in the book represent a personal project that allowed Guido the freedom to use hair to re-contextualize personalities, genders and codes of identity.

The design for Hair links the project to the epic arc of historical portraiture. Many of Guido’s styles look to the past as they set a vision of the future, and the designers wanted to create a format that would accommodate this incredible spectrum of references, from punk to Renaissance and Northern European portraiture.

The stillness and purity of the photography is mirrored by a controlled and severe approach to the book’s design; the solemnity and rigor of the layout works in tandem with the imagery. At the same time, the minimal design sets off the incredible variety of Guido’s styles, highlighting hair as a dynamic mode of expression.

The large-format images are presented without commentary, save for the name of the featured model. The portfolio is occasionally punctuated by a running conversation by Guido and the fashion journalist Tim Blanks, with text appearing on unfinished cream-colored paper that adds warmth to the book and complements the skin tones of the models. The book’s typography is set in Antwerp, a contemporary text font inspired by 16th-century typefaces. Andrew Bolton, the curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, contributes the book’s preface.

New York
Abbott Miller
Project team
Yoon-Young Chai
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