AIGA Santa Barbara wound down our 2016 event schedule last week with some local history, insulated from the chilly December air by a healthy helping of holiday cheer. About 40 guests joined us at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum for “What Does It Take: The Evolution of ‘Santa Cruz Island: An Illustrated History,'” a presentation about composing, designing and publishing the the lavish two-volume anthology by John Gherini.
Representing both AIGA SB and chapter sponsor V3 (which printed the book), Tom Hinkle introduced the event by noting the book’s long development period and momentously finite deadline: August of this year, the U.S. National Park Service’s 100th birthday. Author and publisher John Gherini described his research process, covering as much of the island’s history as he could with maps, photographs, and documents all featured in the book. The trip through geologic, Native, Spanish, Mexican, and United States periods ultimately intersected with his own history in the twentieth century when his ancestors acquired part of the island, now controlled by the Santa Cruz Island Reserve and National Park Service.
Designer Michelle Shapiro then presented her role in the project as creative director, describing her initial meetings with John during the solution-defining discovery phase. She also discussed creative decisions for typography, color palette, and imagery before moving on to production layout and finally handing it off to Tom for printing by V3. One major highlight was Michelle’s story about the original challenge John Gherini gave her: designing Chapter 10, about a prolonged period of early-twentieth-century litigation over the island’s ownership. Michelle described her solution—using the various legal documents as design elements—before pronouncing it her favorite chapter in the book.
Following the presentation, AIGA SB raffled off a copy of the anthology to one lucky winner, and then everyone decamped to the Endless Summer Bar & Café next door for a holiday nightcap. Thanks to John Gherini, Michelle Shapiro and Tom Hinkle for sharing their story of this labor of love. Thanks also to the AIGA SB board volunteers for their time and the Maritime Museum staff for hosting us. Finally, thanks to our attendees for joining us. AIGA SB will be back with a year-end recap soon, and with more events in 2017.
Rock Star Gig Rating: On a scale of “zero” to “insane,” this one was like a special, one-off supergroup appearance at a remote, Isle-of-Wight-type festival.
Photography by Marianne Cothern, Keir DuBois and Elin Thomson.