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Made & Sold—Book Review



Made & Sold charts the efforts of designers outside the usual 9 to 5 bill paying work. Published by Laurence King and edited by FL@33 towards the end of last year; FL@33 have built themselves a reputation for editing quirky titles often focusing on work produced for pleasure as much as for the pay. Made & Sold continues this trend showcasing a wide range of work from some well known trend setting creative maestros.

Most, if not all designers and illustrators at some point in their careers have had to produce dull client work stripped of creativity and visual flair. Outside this mundane work creative types have produced zines, tees, books, toys, prints and much more on their own time to stay creatively limber and fulfil the void that can only be achieved by boundless client-free projects. The essence of Made & Sold captures this playful and slightly jovial attitude in a lot of the work which makes for an enjoyable and inspiring read.

The majority of projects presented illustrate their creators own lust to produce a desirable product with the odd exception such as James West’s Create/Reject which donated proceeds to UNICEF. Though the work is often self-indulgent, this is usually out of necessity and acts as a force for good within the design community, bringing both pleasure to the creator and consumer whilst creating a perpetual motion that inspires more creatives to go on and produce their own wares. Made & Sold does a good job of distilling this ethos into a book that will not only please the eye and bruise the pocket but gives you a jolly good kick up the bum to start producing your own merchandise.

However fulfilling, self-gratification isn’t the only driving force for putting in the extra hours after work. It gives creatives the chance to experiment techniques and explore ideas often too risky for client paid work. Inevitably the free reign often feeds back into their day to day work as well as an extension of each creatives brand, which sees Made & Sold acting (in the most forgiving way) like a shopping catalogue as much as a snapshot of creative endeavours.

Each page contains quotes and a short description of the artist. This works well and brings context to them and their work. However these quotes run centred along the footer, seeming a little awkward with the rest of the grid. Apart from this, Made & Sold is well produced with plenty of detailed images that present the work well. Though some of the work really needs to be seen in the flesh the uncoated stock helps to carry the handmade feel of the work but at a relatively low price—just don’t expect any high end production finishes.

?When we first read about this book being released we were very excited, as a lot of the work on show can be far more insightful than the work people do as part of an agency. There’s a sense of authorship in every piece of work in Made & Sold which is a refreshing change and a major factor that is so alluring and spurs on creatives to keep producing this sort of work. FL@33 have become dab hands at producing these sorts of titles, producing visually exciting books that will definitely titillate the creative mind. With a resurgence in craft, this area of design is poignant and it seems a shame Made & Sold only touches the surface. Probing further, discussing the comeback of craft, out of hours work over the history of the industry and looking into creatives who make a living out of the products they create could of added depth. Those of you who like to fritter your pennies away in Magma, Analogue, Etsy etc or have dabbled in product lines will definitely enjoy Made & Sold and at the low price point it’s a great springboard to see what’s possible outside 9 to 5 whilst still developing your creativity. So go grab a copy and set up shop but don’t expect the millions to be rolling in any time soon.

Made & Sold is available from Amazon and all good local book stores now.

FL@33 have also created dedicated site for Made & Sold.

Words: Gil Cocker
Photography: Malcolm Menzies

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