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A Designer’s Research Manual
C
PROJECT:
A Drawing Manual by
Thomas Eakins
CLIENT:
Philadelphia Museum of Art,
in a joint effort with the
Pennsylvania Academy
INTENDED AUDIENCE:
students, scholars, curators,
and individuals interested in
American art and art education
CREDITS:
Design, Baseman Design
Associates
HISTORY LESSON
When Frank Baseman of Baseman Design Associates got the opportunity to design
and produce a historic volume, he dived in to the nineteenth-century research the
project demanded. In Baseman’s case, looking back in time allowed him to create
the best design possible for a modern book. Baseman’s historic research offers a
fascinating look at a different approach to a set of design challenges.
Staying True to the
Period
The Philadelphia
Museum of Art and the
Pennsylvania Academy
enlisted Baseman to help
publish a book entitled
A Drawing Manual by
Thomas Eakins. Because
Eakins began writing the
book roughly between
1881 and 1885, the
design of the book
needed to refl ect both
the time frame and the
content accurately. Adding to the challenge, Eakin’s book had never been published
but was full of useful tips, diagrams, drawings, and suggestions for advanced study
to accompany his text.
Baseman’s design needed to unite the original manuscript and the original
drawings—together for the fi rst time—in as true a manner as possible to the
author’s original intent.
Basemans historic
research offers a
fascinating look at
a different approach
to a set of design
challenges.
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Chapter Four: Case Studies
Right
Primary research conducted
at the American Philosophical
Society library in Philadelphia
gave insight into period
publications. Baseman studied
typeface selections, typographic
treatments, publication size,
printing techniques, and use of
imagery to design the Eakins
book accurately.
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