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2016 National Book Festival Poster Takes Viewers on ‘Journey to the Unknown’

The following is a guest post by Guy Lamolinara, co-director of the Library of Congress National Book Festival.

2016 National Book Festival by illustrator Yuko Shimizu.

2016 National Book Festival by illustrator Yuko Shimizu.

The 2016 Library of Congress National Book Festival poster is being unveiled today for the Sept. 24 event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

“I think the poster this year may be one of the best and most beautiful we have ever had,” said Guy Lamolinara, a director of the festival.

The poster artist is Yuko Shimizu, a Japanese illustrator based in New York City. She is an instructor at the School of Visual Arts there, and her work has been commissioned by companies and publications as diverse as The New York Times, DC Comics, Target, The Gap and GQ magazine.

Cindy Moore, a graphic specialist at the Library of Congress, led a team of other graphics specialists at the Library in choosing Shimizu.

“The poster art team had given Yuko a creative brief asking for ideas based on books as passports to knowledge and showing the discovery of new ideas and the exploration of new worlds,” said Moore.

“When Yuko sent me the initial sketches, she wrote how she really liked [poster artist for 2014] Bob Staake’s and [poster artist for 2015] Peter de Sève’s compositions, as they took the poster in a newer direction,” Moore continued. “She wanted to continue that trend. Thus, this year’s composition throws a bit of a ‘curve ball,’ as Yuko put it, since the focus is on a diagonal movement and odd perspective.”

Said Shimizu: “Theme-wise, using ‘books as passports to knowledge and discovery,’ I wanted to take the characters in the image, as well as the poster’s viewers, on a journey to the unknown. Setting sail on a journey on a boat seemed like an appropriate visual.”

There is one more thing Shimizu, according to her website, would like people to know: “Please do not mix her up with another Yuko Shimizu. This Yuko did NOT create Hello Kitty.”

You can download a copy of the poster from the Library of Congress National Book Festival website.