Around the World with David Doran
The world gets smaller and smaller by the day. It’s not just that you can jet to the other side of the globe in half a day, but as we connect digitally the spaces between us disappear. We live in a global community with friends in cities from every time zone, include places we’ll never visit. But when communicating is this easy sometimes it’s easy to forget to actually get out there and see the world. David Doran wanted to bring the world a little closer to all of us in his new book ‘Alphabet Cities’ that features a unique construction of 32 different pull out prints, each as if it were a travel poster for the city. “It’s a collection of prints not just the normal way of looking at the book,” explains David. “It was born from a love of travelling and seeing different cities, to exploring places, and hopefully the book will give the reader a chance to explore different places.” The idea for this format came from his editor, but making travel posters is something that David is always down for.
To inspire the look of his work for the book, David references early Twentieth Century travel posters, a consistent source of inspiration for him. Usually he brings that inspiration to bear on work in different contexts, whether it’s a corporate advertisement or social media work created as an influencer. For ‘Alphabet Cities’ he got to actually make travel posters. “I find those images really inspiring,” he explains. “I always source them or mention them as a point of reference for visuals and aesthetic, and the way the images were created using really traditional printing techniques. This is the most direct reference to those posters, the most direct way of citing them as a reference.” Obviously he couldn’t print this book the way those posters were printed in the Twentieth Century, but the look and feel can be kept alive.
The book is a beautiful way to travel around the world and get an impression of 32 different cities, but the world is bigger than what fits in this book, so David had to look at the entire world and figure out which cities should be included. At least one city matches each letter of the alphabet for the purposes of the book, spurring a process of elimination. He explains what the final list of cities represents: “Both my favorite cities and then also just researching and finding some of the more hidden cities and places that people don’t quite know about, but will discover through the book,” says David.
Once the list of cities was finalized he only had a single poster to represent, and in some ways explain, a whole city. So he had to be discerning with the representation: “In all cities there are particular elements that sum up the total feel for the place. So for example, New York City: the water towers make a lot of people think of New York but maybe not really think about how much of New York thing that is, so I use that as my main point of reference.” Each poster offers David’s impression of the city, a distillation of its identity in unconventional ways.
‘Alphabet Cities: Around the World in 32 Pull-Out Prints’ is currently available from retailers all over the world including Waterstones.