Symphony City

by Amy Martin

I highly, HIGHLY recommend clicking over to Amy’s website. She has beautiful work everywhere you look, including some wordless spreads from Symphony City. Her style commands attention while still being sweet and subtle. {I particularly enjoy the Alphabet of Los Angeles. Taco Truck!} And I’m eyeballing one of her prints for my teeny corner of the house. Symphony City is her first book.

Music drives the story in Symphony City, which is so interesting given that it’s obviously in book form: art + pictures. And that is what is so magical about this book. The language is spare and staccato, leaving room for the pictures to whisk the reader away. Even the endpapers and title page sing with beats and rests.

nothing to do

we can make it if we hurry

{This is my favorite spread in the whole entire book. I love that you can’t see her face, but you feel her determination and zest. And the echo of the flock of birds in her vibrant raincoat? Along what surely everyone else sees as a boring and bland brick wall in the subway? Love.}


The color palette is gorgeous, the use of white and negative space is perfection, but one of the things I love most in this book is its texture. Texture gives an added spark of life to the pages. If the texture was removed, the art would still be beautiful. Absolutely. But in this book, the slight paper texture and grain adds an additional layer of richness, similar to the layered sounds of an orchestra…

…similar to the rising crescendo of the Symphony City.

The faint roughness in the browns and greens of this spread adds warmth and interest.

Similarly here, the poofs of the ladies’ tutus are full and tactile. But can’t you also hear them? The rustling of those poofs? The slightest hint of texture helps evoke that experience in the reader.

Texture adds a vibration to this art. A deft-handed touch of texture breathes extra life into these pictures, to the point where you can almost hear the pulse of the city. Subtle integration, huge dynamic impact to the read.

{even in texure; even in graphic design.}


  • Posted February 28, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Another gorgeous book, Carter! What a unique concept and look – and how much do I love those ballerina trees? And the yellow against the gray. I think I want a print too!

  • Posted February 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I wish I was one of the ballerina trees. I either want the city or the fish print!!

  • Posted February 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I love these posts! So great to see PBs from the eye of a designer. I’m learning so much!

  • Posted February 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Julie!

  • Posted March 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    This is a beautiful book!

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    VERY cool work — can’t wait to check her website when I meet my pressing deadline on a few freelance writing assignments…thanks so much for the referral!


  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    It’s a super choice, thanks for posting. Have you seen Augustus and his Smile by Catherine Rayner (no relation etc, but I am a huge fan of her style!). You might like it! Deirdre

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Wow, I had no idea book design was so vibrant! I’ll have to look for Symphony City in print.

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on OnlyArt and commented:
    The texture and color are amazing in these designs. I also like the clean and simple look.

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    OMG !! This book has awesome illustrations man !! Thumbs up for Amy Martin !! And congrats for FP !! Cheers

    And please check out my latest post on love & relationship –

    And even my new PhotoBlog –

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what a great book! I absolutely love the art.

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I am very visual, and this book is amazing! Love the use of color and shapes. Bravo!

    And love all your blog, I’m a graphic designer and love books, I feel like a kid in a candy store in this blog…following!!

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Welcome, Doris, and thank you!

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I must look out for this work. I sort of collect illustrated books. They design and colours are always uplifting, I find. Many thanks for introducing me to this artist’s work.

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful pictures ! Btw I also have a posting about pictures. Here Please check it if you have time. Thank you

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Simply beautiful pictures! Very inspiring.

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all for visiting today…how fun to be Freshly Pressed!

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Love it!

  • Posted March 5, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Very nice — you should get a PR fee!

  • Posted March 6, 2012 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    wow this book looks awesome :) really wish that i had the talent to do something as amazing as this :) truly beautiful! keep smiling, keep creative

  • Posted March 6, 2012 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    What a find! What a talent! Love it!

  • Posted March 6, 2012 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Beautiful and lyrical.
    I am grateful to see this beautiful book.

  • Posted March 6, 2012 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on bountifulgiving.

  • intuitiveone
    Posted March 6, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    you are gifted!

  • Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Hot chocolate and books and commented:
    What a beautiful book, bold and colourful textures and colours are a treat to the eyes! I hope to get my hands on a copy soon. Great review!

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