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Singing to the Deaf
Unified in its black case, Singing to the Deaf goes beyond the conventional book. Its collection of “songs” appears scattered and detached, but fills one with delight.

I still thumb through the various treats, much like a child near the end of Christmas day. Tinkering. Looking. Playing. Searching for newness, after the gift’s been opened. Many themes are present in Singing to the Deaf, and each reader should be left to their own discoveries.

The level of craft amazes me. Each relic has been constructed with painstaking care. Lyrically, the words leap out at you with delicate typographic execution, but there’s no loyalty to style here. Singing to the Deaf may borrow from familiar vernacular, but the cumulative effect does not call out Swiss, New Wave, or DeStijl. If comparisons can be made, we can turn to the Dadaists with their radical typographic experiments. I feel Tzara and Arp’s influence, but Rustand leaves his own signature without a doubt.

On its website, Singing to the Deaf is hailed as a collection of lyrical songs. I like that analogy. It’s not pop music, and it’s not alternative. If compared to any musical genre, Singing to the Deaf is very much jazz. It’s free form jazz and it’s playful. Think Keith Jarrett’s Inside Out. The printed matter you explore will hold your interest. Once you’ve exhausted it, you shelve it, but will return to it again in a matter of time because inside you feel as if something’s been left unturned.

Book Information
Singing to the Deaf by Paul Rustand
Contents Vary
Publisher: Widgets & Stone
Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Sep.07.2004 BY Jason A. Tselentis
stefan sagmeister’s comment is:

...what Paul is able to pull off is incredible: rather then visualizing music (something all record cover designers have been involved in for decades) he actually manages to stimulate an emotion in the viewer, an emotion not unlike the one you feel when listening to good music.

On Sep.08.2004 at 10:47 AM
Jason T’s comment is:

... how true

On Sep.08.2004 at 02:44 PM
Armin’s comment is:

This book reminds of Gregg Brokaw's — a local motion designer — music video for the deaf. Click on work, then on the seventh little circle. I have seen a longer version and an explanation somewhere but I can't remember where…

On Sep.08.2004 at 05:02 PM
bradley’s comment is:

I honestly feel as though this is one of the strongest projects I have recently seen both conceptually and in execution. Paul was able to express a sensibility so often lacking in contemporary graphic design. Heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears... all of that and more seems wonderfully evident (not overpowering) in this work.

Ventures like this one deserve not only a brief applause but also lasting attention. He has accomplished something not only aesthetically pleasing, but also conceptually fantastic. Is this a 'niche market' within graphic design? Perhaps, but it is certainly one that needs to be explored!

Let's hope Paul is working on something else...

On Sep.21.2004 at 11:07 AM
Jason T.’s comment is:

The reason I became so interested in this project is because of the matters you brought up, Bradley. Authorship has been talked about amongst designers and critics for what seems like years. A select group of designers have been able to create work that gives them creative control from start to finish. Do we label it art or design? And just what constitutes authorship? Total control? Self-publishing, writing, designing, photographing, etc? I don't know that it matters. The final product can be critiqued amongst varying contexts, but to see that designers have ambitions in authoring work carries more weight than how or where it will be categorized. It demonstrates the willingness to take control of the very medium and craft that you use day by day in service of others. It can feel selfish at times, but will carry its own rewards.

I too hope Paul is working on something else, and that his work will inspire other designers to stretch their abilities.

On Sep.21.2004 at 12:21 PM
Michael Hendrix’s comment is:

My appreciation for "Singing" is rooted in its accessibility. It's troubling how many times designers try to be "artists" by creating cryptic and obtuse works that seem to be important but say nothing at all. ("WHEREISHERE" immediately comes to mind.) However, with Paul's work I can show the collection to my non-artsy parents and they can get something out of it. That's quite an accomplishment. Especially since they can't define what a graphic designer does.

On Sep.21.2004 at 12:42 PM
Jason T.’s comment is:

Especially since they can't define what a graphic designer does.

You know, I'm just fine with that. Why do so many designers insist on letting others know what we do and how we do it? Let's remain Wizards Behind the Curtain or for those with the ambition, the singer/songwriter.

On Sep.21.2004 at 02:03 PM
Mark Cooley’s comment is:

I love the personality of this book. From subtle to raw, Paul weaves several styles and thoughts into one collection. Each different track takes the participant into a different and compelling place. This is a unique book, a great project, and a beautiful song.

On Sep.21.2004 at 04:03 PM
Caleb Ludwick’s comment is:

Like all good songs, these pieces are sometimes over my head and sometimes hit me square in the chest. As someone who lives on the periphery of the designer community (I like the view but have no desire to dive in) Singing to the Deaf is for me all about points of reference. Paul unapologetically writes in his own voice, like the best songwriters, but in describing the little postage stamp of native soil under his own feet speaks of my world too. I admire the creative control that he’s exercised over a variety of mediums, and that he is not afraid a) to bend them to serve a meaning, or b) to leave potential meanings only half-explored.

On Oct.15.2004 at 05:18 PM