November 22 – Gerhard Steidl

Happy Birthday Gerhard Steidl!


Gerhard Steidl – born November 22, 1950 – German book designer / publisher

Read about Gerhard Steidl here and here.

Q: Many people call you the “king of printing” and some artists will trust no one else with their books. In what way are Steidl’s books different than other books?

Steidl: Most of the publishing houses in the world are owned by shareholder companies and their interest is to make profit. My publishing house is a private business. I founded it in 1968 and it is still owned by me. It is a family business. It is a Manufaktur and we don’t set any limits on cost. A Steidl book is always made in Germany, in Göttingen, in Düstere Straße 4 and there is a guy, Gerhard Steidl, who is hands on.So, believe it or not, I oversee every sheet that tumbles out of our press. This craftsmanship and this know-how we bring to every one of our babies, our books, makes a huge difference compared to the production processes of other companies.

Q: What is the most difficult or extravagant print job that you have ever done?

Steidl: It was a book that I did for Ed Ruscha, Kerouac’s On the Road. We printed it in letterpress and offset, with hand-tipped-in original photos. I worked with him throughout a period of six years. Every month I was in Los Angeles for one or two days to make corrections with him, to show him print tests. It was the most complicated job I have ever done for an artist, but the result is outstanding. And I made so many inventions throughout the production process that all of the books since then have looked much better. It was hard work, but it paid off in the end.

[from The Talks – Gerhard Steidl: ‘I turn everything upside down’ ]

Watch an excerpt from the documentary How to Make a Book with Steidl.

The making of a book of Gordon Parks’ photographs:



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