Today we've got a lovely Q&A with one our favourite publishers, Gestalten - we stock a range of their brilliant books in our little shop and we wanted to share a little more about them with you.
Please introduce yourself and give us a little background about your role at Gestalten?
Hey! My name is Maria-Elisabeth Niebius and I am the Senior Acquisition Editor at Gestalten. I have been working on our books since 2013, and since last year exclusively on Little Gestalten, our kids imprint. I am in touch with illustrators and writers across the world, pitching ideas back and forth, developing projects for our Little Gestalten programme, writing concepts and briefs, checking in with my colleagues, managing the process, and above all - keeping everybody entertained and in a good mood because this guarantees a good product in the end!
How did Gestalten start?
With an idea from our publisher, Robert Klanten back in the 90s. He wanted to celebrate the graphic design on the Berlin music scene, which was already really diverse and international, and made a book about posters and covers, called Localizer (highly recommend that if you desire a psychedelic design vibe!) and then it developed into a publishing house covering all the interests of creatives around the world.
Where does your love of books come from?
Probably from their power to introduce you to another world, whether real or fictional, but one you don’t know (yet). And something which keeps my love for books alive is learning empathy through stories about others, understanding why people act like they act, and ultimately learning more about myself.
What’s your favourite book of all time and what’s your favourite from your own range?
I can’t answer that! For each point in life and each state of mind I have a favourite book, and it doesn’t feel fair to pick one. My favourite Little Gestalten book is You and Me and Everybody Else, a picture book we did with Marcos Farina. It shows that no matter what you look like and where you come from, we all have similar feelings, needs, and experiences. Especially nowadays, this is an extremely important message which should be more widely spread in kids books.
What role do you think books play in the modern world?
They can open worlds, old ones, modern ones, unknown ones, and more. They can destroy the borders we have in our minds. They explain. A good book can keep you focussed despite all the distractions the screens around us constantly provide. Books can be homes. And especially kids book! It would be cool for kids to use books to tell the adults around them how wrong their beliefs are.
What is special about the books that Gestalten publishes?
They inspire! Obviously, besides the kids books, the interior books make you want to decorate your house, the titles in our Escape section make you long to go out and explore, and the architecture books … just flip through our book about Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill and your mind will explode while it tries to grasp the insanely clever and good-looking buildings he created!
Thank you so much to Marie and Emily for helping us and answering our questions. Gestalten have very kindly provided us with a book to giveaway, please see our Instagram for all the details!