This is the expression of a professional ethos: the designers’s work should have the clearly intelligible, objective, functional and aesthetic quality of mathematical thinking. His work should thus be a contribution to general culture and itself form part of it. Constructive design which is capable of analysis and reproduction can influence and enhance the taste of a society and the way it conceives forms and colours.
— Grid Layout in graphic design, Josef Müller-Brockmann, 1961

From his background in graphic design, Gallant’s research into the motifs and concepts of contemporary visual culture had led him to pornography and the magazine. He was fascinated that such a fetishised object should be so universally mal-designed, flawed with garish colours, poor English and most importantly unattractive layouts.

We are familiar with the collage of the beautiful, decorative and obscene that Tom carves with a blade into this material. Since the beginning of his research a concept emerged to re-design the porn magazine. Until recently he was missing the right combination of languages, each with their own layers of meaning that would enable him to appropriate rather than ‘design’.

A recent discovery of the work of Joseph Müller-Brockman, a Swiss graphic designer from the 1950’s and the father of grid design and minimal layout, inspired Gallant to re-design the material he has so famously re-shaped with a knife. Müller-Brockmann created a system whereby a designer can create a perfect continual flow of image and text on the page. His language referenced the ‘beautiful’ in the Golden Section, Divine Proportion and Vitruvian Man that in turn refer to the mis-used, even dangerous, scientific language of perfection and purity.

Using the entire issue of a magazine called Knockers, Gallant transcribed all the text and the images into the ‘grid’. The images were then reduced to their absolute average colour, the essence of the fleshy tones that attract us so primitively to pornography. However, whilst dramatic in their reduction there is enough information through the text and subtle shifts in hue and tone that the brain searches for the pattern and even form in the banal and the repetitive. 

The text without its explicit images has become ridiculous and plays into the idea of buying Penthouse for its articles, or the Sunday Sport for its cutting edge reportage. Eric Gill’s Gill Sans has been used not only because he was the forefather of modern typography, in much the same way as Müller-Brockmann lead the way in design, but for his deep connection to the erotic and darker side of human nature. A fitting partner in this re-dux edition of Knockers – issue 2. 

Edition of 500, £30 + p&p, to buy a copy please email.

I was asked to contribute to Garageland magazine and applied similar rules whilst adapting to the specificity of the source material and the context of the site.  To view and download the free layout click here