Thursday, May 27, 2010

Illustrator Review: Laura Ljungvist

Last year I was working on a children's hospital design (which, sadly, never came to fruition; it was completely reworked design-wise). The inspiration was a linear element which would carry throughout the hospital as a wayfinding element. Each floor of the hospital would highlight features of the city; one floor highlighted parks, another bridges and water, another the cityscape. We wanted a clean-lined, sophisticated graphic style using bold colors that would appeal to children of all ages.

When I stumbled upon Laura's book "Follow the Line" it was like déjà vu. The sketches we drew were eerily similar, and the concept of a line which carries you through space? Wow. It was like she read our minds. And not a single person on the design team had ever seen her work.

Since I first saw Follow the Line, I have collected almost every one of Laura's books. The graphic style is a unique combination of colors and geometric forms. Each page of the three book series not only follows the story, but has activity questions such as "How many cars have their headlights on?" in Follow the Line, or "What shape is the swiss cheese?" in Follow the Line through the House.

As you can see in the illustration below (example page from Follow the Line through the House), there is a line which comes from the left hand side of the page (which is a continuation of the line on the previous page) and becomes the form of the drawers, then becomes the form of stove, the form of the chairs and table base, to finally carry off the right hand side of the page and into the next. I love how the line pulls the reader through the story, while showing the reader how everyday objects can be broken down into simple geometric forms.

If you are interested in seeing more examples of her illustrations, where to buy her books, or information on Laura, check out her website here.

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