Book and Digital Publishing Design Studio
Graphic Art Department
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
(public university of arts)
prof. Maciej Buszewicz
assistant Paulina Derecka
(Grażka Lange was the assistant since the beginning of the studio til year 2007 when she started her own Illustration Studio. Daniel Mizieliński was the assistant til year 2013 - he is responsible for GUI design part of the studio. Next the assistants were: Mateusz Kowalski and Rafał Buchner)
About the website:
Website was created by Magda Zelezik and Paulina Derecka and based on 2009 flash website designed by Daniel Mizielinski.
One word is enough – the rest is chatter
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
What accounts for the phenomenon of Maciej Buszewicz’s Book Design Studio?
Above all, his studio is about reclaiming letter as an image. It extends beyond an exercise in quark or a choice of fonts – it is about building a typographic consciousness. A typography that returns to the roots of the picture in the relationship between picture and literature. Only at that level, is “work against the grain of words” meaningful. It requires a particular sensitivity and visual hearing. The most important processes in book design happen at the borderlands of seeing and hearing. For Buszewicz, book design is a unique and timeless process.
In his own words: “Each artistic creation, each graphic design is an object to communicate with another person without the need for direct contact. It is an object to transmit information, thoughts, moods and many other things. The author is contacted through an object of his/her creation. If we reach for a book published in the 1930s, the people who created it are long gone, but our close relation with them remains through the object they created. This applies to any art object, be it a painting in the museum or an altarpiece in the church. The intimate relationship between humans is carried through objects that have almost magical properties to enable such contact and thought exchange.” (Book Alchemy [Alchemia książki], Vidart nr 12/2004, interview by Andrzej Tuka).
The solemnity and intensity Buszewicz has in relation to books carries into relations with his students who venture into the book’s architecture, history and technology in search of innovative ways to connect words and pictures. My Illustration Studio and Buszewicz’s Book Design Studio are part of the same department. How we differ Buszewicz describes in the above-cited interview: “The text that Januszewski uses for his studio projects is just an excuse to play with a picture. A picture in a sense of an illustration. In my studio the gravity falls on text which is not necessarily ordinary and simple. A good example of this approach may be Agnieszka Borucka’s design for the Letters to Milena by Franz Kafka. What you see is not a bad copy of the book. It is not the result of manual typeset, although she managed to get the proof effect. The design is revealed by turning the pages in the book and witnessing the progressing and intensifying disease that affects the letters. The image is built consciously through tension of the text; the image is never clear. From a formal point of view, the book resembles classic typography and the effects appear to be results of some mistakes in the process. Text is the focus of the book but the text is not just a typeset. Text is also not just an illustration; the form and use of letters is consequential.” What matters to Busz(ewicz) is a departure from obvious associations and a search for a complex vision of an entire book which unifies the text and the project.
Buszewicz’s long-term collaboration with Grażka Lange, now continued with Daniel Mizieliński, put a mark of his approach on a whole generation of young designers. They continue to develop their own vision for unconventionally designed books that appeal to adults and books for children. Grażka, Daniel Mizieliński and his Hipopotam Studio, along with others, participated in the Caution! Earthmovers! New Polish Illustration (Uwaga! Spychacze! Młoda polska ilustracja) exhibit organized by the Illustration Studio in May 2009 as part of the Animaliter project. The exhibit catalog was prepared by Monika Hanulak of the Illustration Studio who, since 2004, is a member of an informal art group CMYK (Grażka Lange, Małgorzata Gurowska, Monika Hanulak) that designs unconventional books, organizes illustration exhibits and art shows dedicated to books designed by a single artist. This unity in contradictions has its roots in the synergies of the artistic academic education.
Buszewicz’s current studio continues on the trajectory of distinctive developments in book design at the Graphic Arts Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Some of its features come from the Typography Studio of Lech Majewski (diploma under Henryk Tomaszewski) who along with Buszewicz (diploma under Halina Chrostowska) had fun running that studio. I notice this sense of continuity in Maciej’s words (interview with Monika Małkowska, Sweet pictures are bad for teeth [Od słodkich rysunków psują się zęby], Rzeczpospolita 12.02.2008) that closely resonate with me – “There are two things I forbid my students: to imitate children and to illustrate the words. A picture in a book must complement the words! One has to create what is not in the text. One must work against the grain of words.”
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
The sharp voice of ‘the boss’ -- Jennis Joplin – woke me up around four in the morning on the day we traveled together to America in 1990. The PanAm flight was taking off from Okęcie airport at 6 or 7 in the morning. Oh Lord, it was so long ago. We were 19 years younger. We had a nice start in the late 1980s but were still at the beginning. The Beginning of the New Time for Poland and for us. When we returned changed a year later, we began to build from scratch. Buszewicz received the title, Prince.
Aristocracy (derived from the Greek aristokratia – aristos ‘the best’ and kratoi ‘the strongest’) is the highest social strata. The term was most probably introduced by the Sophists and made common by Aristotle to distinguish aristocracy from oligarchy.
More than forty years ago, perhaps in 1965 or 1966, a play Horserace in the Palace (Derby w pałacu) by Jarosław Abramow was showing at Stary Theater in Kraków. Applause erupted when the Count said to the horse-farm Director, a son of his former coachman: “You respect horse’s blue blood, but not the human’s blue blood (quoted from memory).“
But this story is not about the traditional aristocracy but about the graphic designers‘ aristocracy. One made of people with the highest imagination, design skills and knowledge. Every country has few princes. Maciej Buszewicz is one of them in Poland.
It might be easy to read this I essay in jest or as tease. I am not sure if I can (or should) write these words. But I am not up to writing analytical opinions. I wrote two reviews of Buszewicz when he received tenure and professorship. This essay must be different. Everyone knows we are friends. Regardless of how well I know him, I am setting the tone. I am writing this essay fully aware of that, although –in full disclosure—I have on hand a bottle of Lagavulin I got from Buszewicz (PROFESSOR or Busio for friends) who taught me how to spot a good one.
PROFESSOR B – is one of the most prominent Polish graphic designers, an author of numerous layouts, picture albums, books, publications, posters and in earlier times LP album covers (with Lech Majewski), postage stamps and theatre programs. His commitment to work is monumental.
Buszewicz’s work is designed for a sophisticated viewer.
He designs for a selective audience, for people who are educated, have a sense of aesthetic, simply put, people who are intelligent. Buszewicz’s works are for those who, luckily, have not succombed to the deluge of junk. Looking at Buszewicz’s work we know that we see objects created by a cultured man.
Buszewicz is also an excellent teacher who revives the language of book design. Every other year, when I watch the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts diploma show during the Poster Biennale, I am amazed by the work he has accomplished with his students. Buszewicz has more than a program for his studio; he has a concept that shows off his great teaching talent. And he has been directing students‘ diploma work only since 2000.
Buszewicz promotes creativity in the choice of topics, offers detailed critical analysis in reviews, applies his ironic sense of reality and encourages social references in the works of his students to showcase their ingenuity and intellect. References to the absurd poetry, so dear to me, are humorously and graphically interpreted in students‘ projects. Buszewicz challenges students who signed up for his Book Design Studio at the Graphic Arts Department by frequent topic changes and making them sweat to stimulate thinking. I am not sure if the students are fully aware what they are getting into when they choose Buszewicz’s studio, but I am sure that by the graduation time they become independent and intelligent designers. And this brings the most satisfaction. I witnessed a lot of interest in his achievements by the European designers at the diploma exhibition.
I wanted to be the first one to showcase his studio. I did not happen. However, I am very happy that PROFESSOR is showing a fraction of his students‘ achievements in Kraków. It is wonderful that the New Art Foundation ZNACZY SIĘ opened a new gallery and is showing Busio’s studio as one of its first exhibits.
In life we ought to know how to make the best of it. Buszewicz knows it even if I think sometimes that he works too much. Because life is simply too short.
Professor, Busio, Maciek – I am openly jealous of how you run your studio. Congratulations! Cheers!
Academy of Fine Arts, Kraków
Krakowskie Przedmieście 5
Email to studio:
Contact to professor Maciej Buszewicz:
Classes are held on mondays and wednesdays from 10 am to 2 pm in studio nr 33.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Seria wydawnicza : Ameryka, Proces, Przemiana
The book of imaginary beings
The Card Index
Martin Luther King
Two Michaels were dancing
Słownik miejsc wyobrażonych
Susan Sontag – wybór esejów
About love of two masters
Professor Tutka about different views
Professor Tutka was a journalist
The Bald Soprano
Miłość i gniew
Fables for Robots
Wind the bobbin up
pozdrawiam Paulina Derecka Pracownia projektowania książki
If on a winter\'s night a traveler
Long and wasted years
Life: A User\'s Manual
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
Death in Venice
Oda do typografii
Pat a cake – Mother Goose Rhymes
The Ego and Its Own
The Street of Crocodiles
Boundaries, identity and territory
The accuracy in science
The Threepenny Opera
10 birds with which we live in the city
Strange city - Arts & Entertainment in multinational Lodz in the years 1821-1939
Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World
The Witch of Edmonton
Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Four-and-twenty tailors went to kill a snail
Murder with the best company
Peter, Peter pumpkin eater
A Wise Old Owl
One Thousand and One Nights
Jacques the Fatalist
A History of Six Ideas
Book of Imaginary Beings
Project of King's novels series and movie posters
Project of King's novels series
Mother Goose Tales
50 mathematical puzzles
The Name of the Rose
The Most Beautiful Woman in Town
On a Stall
Calandrinos Love Affair
Saladyns and Torells incidents
Alatiel, the bride of King Algarbii
Andreuccio from Perugia
Proof of Nobility
Proof of nobility
Project of Fredro's plays series.
The Lost skeleton
On Rikikis board
Johanns Sebastians Faun Afternoon
Stuck on a spike
The Island of Doctor Moreau
The Life of Charles Wilkes
Four Roses for Lucienne
The Catcher in the Rye
In Cold Blood
Around the World in Eighty Days
Series of Shakespeare plays
Grześ goes through the village
Dog rushed into the kitchen
Salvation Army concert
Kitten climbed the fence
Z notatnika nerwowca
How to initiate, conduct and resolve family disagreements
Miracle in Lublin
Stars and Mushrooms in Folk Tales
Little Flowers of St. Francis
The Time Machine
New Warsaw Legends
Adam and Eve
Unstable Stuff / The Instruction Manual
Little Red Riding Hood
A Streetcar Named Desire
Lázarillo de Tormes
The Book of Tea
Arden of Faversham
Arden of Feversham
101 philosophical games
Discourse on the Method
It is burning
The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
Le Paysan de Paris
Le Panama ou les aventures de mes sept oncles
Słowo o Jakubie Szeli
Like Water for Chocolate
Mr. Cherry Kitchen
two thousand ten
This? The worst magazine
My Water Cure
The Life & Opinions of Zacharias Lichter
You Kissed Lilly
Tales about sun
No se culpe a nadie
Neli monoloogi Püha Jüri asjus
The Bourgeois Gentlemen
Listy z fiołkiem 1947
Moscow to the End of the Line
A Clockwork Orange
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Paweł i Gaweł
Wyrok śmierci na konia Faraona
Creation according to Genesis
Tales of Pirx the Pilot
Letters to Milena
O traktowaniu przestrzeni
Sarna, albo rozmowa Szatana z chłopcem, aniołem i Lucyferem