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Unit Editions
at Designival

Sarah Schrauwen 

Designival is advertised as 'the North's biggest and most established design festival of 2012'. It was held on 22 and 23 November in Liverpool, the city of the Beatles and football fanatics. Unit Editions was invited to host a pop-up shop on the second day of the event. It was my first time in the North of England (I'm originally from Belgium). 

Camp & Furnace, Designival's main venue on Friday, was a pleasant surprise. A fairly unremarkable building among the grand industrial structures near the docks, this old factory was transformed into a modern multifunctional space. A wide range of events are hosted here, from the Liverpool Biennial 2012 to a psychedelic rave. A 'pop-up' caravan hotel and picnic area are planned. The talks were held in the 'camp' area while the pop-up shops were situated in the larger 'furnace'. The contrast between old and new elements was well balanced and the odd caravan planted here and there added a quirky touch.

Designival started off with a day of open studio tours, portfolio surgeries and masterclasses, while the second day featured a line-up of four speakers: Sara de Bondt, James Jarvis, Simon Manchipp and Lance Wyman. The last speaker of the day was Wyman and we had the pleasure of attending his talk. Like a band playing their breakthrough song, Wyman spent a lot of time on the graphics he created for the 68 Olympics in Mexico. His systematic use of pictograms instead of the obligatory three languages was an act of genius. His post-Mexico work drew extensively on this experience as he specialised in wayfinding, pictograms and supergraphics, for instance in the complex signage and wayfinding systems for Mexico City Metro, National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and several cities in the US. 

As with most design events, there was a great atmosphere and sense of camaraderie. It was good to chat with fellow book lovers and the people running the other pop-up shops (Liverpool-based Cow&co and Percy Gulliver's Print Shop). We played a cracking game of ping pong, and I learned what it means to be 'from across the water' (Birkenhead) and that Northerners, unlike people in London, are truly fascinated with my accent and where I'm from. 

As an 'online book seller', Unit Editions is always happy to have a real life presence at design events such as Designival and TYPO London. It gives us a chance to meet the people who buy our books, and it gives them an opportunity to browse through our books. We are therefore happy to announce that we will do more pop-up shops in 2013.


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