Inhouse 78 Billy Apple®: Life / Work

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Arch MacDonnell
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Alexandra Turner
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Arch MacDonnell, Alexandra Turner, Alistair McCready, Toby Curnow
  • Client
    Auckland University Press

Billy Apple®: Life / Work is the first substantial book on Billy Apple’s career. Drawing on material from over a decade in archives worldwide as well as unprecedented access to Apple’s own archive, Tina Barton chronicles how Billy Apple has developed his art over 60 years from London to New York to Auckland. The study includes a 130,000-word text and 200 illustrations in colour, with a generous selection of reproductions of Apple’s works plus other illustrative material. Many of the illustrations have never previously been published. The brief noted that it shouldn’t look like an artist book but a book for reading about an artist. The book is not an academic monograph; it’s an art history book about Billy and his work, aimed at a bookstore audience, rather than a book for galleries/libraries/specialists, so it needed to look and feel like an accessible book about a man and his art.

Determining the format was the first consideration for this publication. The book is essentially an illustrated essay, so it’s closer to a novel than a coffee table art book. The cover features front and rearview portraits from original transparencies used in an iconic 1963 artwork and acknowledges a design construct from a series of previous Apple publications. The headings are set in Futura, Apple’s signature typeface, and the body copy is set in the neutral Untitled Sans. A single-column grid is utilised for an easy reading experience, and images and marginalia are dispersed throughout the essay. Extensive footnotes are also included on the page where referenced, adding a vital layer of information for the reader. Red and green title pages demarcate transitional periods in Billy’s career.