Creativity 50 2011: Anna Gerber and Britt Iversen

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Anna Gerber and Britt Iversen
Anna Gerber and Britt Iversen

Anna Gerber and Britt Iversen are the founders of Visual Editions, a London-based indie book publisher that's challenging the traditional book form with creative design. The pair wowed the design community with a die-cut edition of Jonathan Safran Foer's "Tree of Codes," whose blacked-out passages and glimpses of text prompted some to dub it the "anti-Kindle."

"We think of what we do as looking at different ways to tell stories," Ms. Gerber said. "It's about looking at how stories are written, how they're read and how we interact with them in our visual culture every day. With 'Tree of Codes,' we were excited to publish a book that is familiar in so many ways, while retaining a strong element of surprise. It looks and feels like a paperback from the outside, but is something very different on the inside. It's about reading in a very unexpected, tactile, sculptural and even experiential way."

Ms. Gerber, from Paris via Los Angeles, is a graphic designer, while Ms. Iversen, from Copenhagen, has worked in advertising and branding, most recently at Mother, London. The pair define creativity as "taking risks, seeking out opportunities where people see obstacles, and most importantly: having a helluva lot of fun along the way" and say they are most inspired by "working with talented people and being told that something's impossible." And the biggest creativity killer? "Not listening and not being heard." They are currently working on their third book, "Composition No. 1," which they describe as a "book in a box." "We're hoping it's going to be a beautiful cultural object in its own right, but it's also about non-linear ways of reading, which is something we all do on our screens every day. We like to think of all our books as pushing boundaries in some way."

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