Question Everything
Designers & Books, 01.26.2021

Question Everything
Designers & Books

Interview with Oliver Knight and Rory McGrath, revisiting key references that have come to play in the development of InOtherWords. 

Available to read here.

WDV: I want to start by telling you how much I loved the design of Real Review when I first saw it. How did you arrive at it and/or what was the inspiration?
RM: I'm glad you enjoyed it! Real Review was founded by Jack Self and Shumi Bose and is an important project for us. We had been developing a shared conversation for a long time before the first issue, so that by the time it came out we already had a strong collective ideology about the kind of object and project it was and could become. At the time, and I think it still is the same, there were all these magazines that had aspirational production value, in the sense that magazines wanted to be books, but the content was very light, perhaps not appropriate for the form. For us it was about being critical of that and reviving an ephemerality that was lost while responding to the central idea of the magazines tagline, What it means to live today. Everything was based on minimums and constraints and was explicitly resourceful. The page space responded to ideas of real estate and how to maximize use of space. It was really a critical process. At one point we asked ourselves what would happen if we folded the format: wed be able to gain four pages for every two! We loved endorse folding, which I saw was prevalent in the U. S. with direct mail. When I was there I was collecting a lot of examples, so we started to examine the idea of using the fold so it becomes part of the space. So you get a front and back cover and then you get a unique inside space to work with, which leads to all kinds of new possibilities with form.
WDV: What does having InOtherWords provide for your design practice that no other outlet does?
RM: The conception of InOtherWords ties into a broader philosophy of OK-RM, one based in the constant questioning of the boundaries of our practice into a propositional position that operates across disciplines and into culture at large. This is not counter to the treasured history and tradition of craft, but is an acknowledgment of the emerging structures and opportunities that our context presents, and an excitement about the potential for design to shape it. InOtherWords provides us with a very specific inquiry into both the presentation and the representational qualities of our work within a consistent project and a consistent frame. No other book projects we work on have that kind of continuity. Even though its not contrived and were not thinking, Ok, what does the body of work need now? we try to avoid those questions at the same time, we use that body of work to understand more about what do we do, where is its evolution, what is our work about its about inquiry.