A new book called Where Chefs Eat borrows its aesthetic from commercial printing from the 1950s and '60s.

It was designed by Kobi Benezri.

The book includes restaurant recommendations from over 400 chefs, organized by city.

Israeli-born designer Kobi Benezri created the book’s layout and visual identity, choosing over 50 fonts for use throughout the dense tome.

Each city includes a font-tastic cover page and map.

While the actual restaurant guide is set with the classic AT&T typeface, Bell Centennial.

The entire book is printed with a single ink--process black.

And like British phone books from the 1950s and '60s, where space was sold at a premium and font variation stood in for images, every square inch of space is utilized.

An Atlas Of Where Chefs Eat, Told In 50 Fonts And 700 Pages

British phone books from the 1950s provided an unlikely precedent for Kobi Benezri’s design of the new Phaidon tome Where Chefs Eat.

It would take you more than six years to try every restaurant recommended in a new book called Where Chefs Eat, even if you ate at a new joint every day. Pitched as the insider’s guide to food in each major city in the world, the Phaidon-published book contains over 2,300 recommendations culled from chefs like David Chang and Daniel Boulud.

For designer Kobi Benezri, the book’s hyperbolic scope was an invitation to experiment with an equally dense graphic identity. The former I.D. art director found an unlikely precedent in British phone books from the 1950s and '60s, where space was sold at a premium and font variation stood in for images. "Every square inch of the books were covered with paid advertising," Benezri explains.

Like those 60-year-old phone books, Benezri’s design lets the content spill out onto every available surface in the book. There are at least 10 individual typefaces and text boxes on the front cover alone, plus printing on the spine and the page edges. "The cover is exhaustively typographic," says the Jerusalem-born designer, "with type all over the front, the spine, back, and paper edges—top, bottom, and side."

All in all, there are more than 50 unique fonts in the book, several of which were custom designed by Benezri’s studio, but all of the individual listings were set in Bell Centennial—AT&T’s proprietary typeface designed by Matthew Carter in the 1970s. The phonebook metaphor even extended to the printing process: Where Chefs Eat was printed with a single ink, process black, the unsaturated color that represents the K in the CMYK commercial printing standard.

It’s a smart appropriation of a largely forgotten type of commercial design, and it’s perfectly tuned to the content of the book—unpretentious, honest, and encyclopedic. Plus, all that cost-cutting pays off: The 730-page, hardcover book is just $19.95 at Phaidon’s store.

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4 Comments

  • Carly DeFilippo

    Awesome! I wish they would sell an electronic or iPad app version. The design is beautiful.

  • restos_into

    Checked out the book, really comprehensive from a breadth perspective, but if you're looking specifically in the US, Chef's Feed is what you want to be using.

    Same concept, except on a dish-by-dish level, updated frequently, and much more depth in each city. I've used it in New York, San Fran and Philly so far and it's pretty much the only thing I need to use now.

    Check it out:
    http://www.chefsfeed.com/about

  • susan

    Thank goodness for abundance in design! Minimalism has its uses, but this book is tasty.

  • asperous

    I would consider this book (judging by the pages) to be minimalistic: Clear Fonts, Simple Black-n-white maps, blocks of color, clean lines. Not much that doesn't need to be there.