Grindr is championed as a space that encourages uncensored exploration, so it makes sense that the app’s first publishing venture would provide a similar space for self-discovery. Called Home, the title is a collection of photographs focused on intimacy and LGBTQ narratives by artist Matt Lambert, now the global commissioning director at Grindr. Art directed by Berlin’s Studio Yukiko (this is its third project with Lambert), the book is dedicated to the spaces—both physical and virtual—that have been crucial to the development of LGBTQ+ identity.
Context here is crucial. Consider it in light of the Orlando massacre, when we have a president whose Supreme Court is made up of historically anti-LGBTQ conservatives, and at a time when more than 75 countries still criminalize homosexuality. Home, on the other hand, is a place where questions are explored and experimentation is championed—and that goes for its editorial design choices, too.
The gorgeous black edging, black passe–partout frames, and photographs highlighted by black spot varnish, Home feels like a personal photo album: familiar, yet also a little mysterious. Using a special cold foil production technique (the process of foiling the paper was done during offset printing) Studio Yukiko created shiny, near invisible text, adding an element of secrecy.
“It was one of the hardest print productions we’ve faced,” says the notoriously experimental studio. “From the cold foil not actually sticking, to the original choice of paper, to the varnish machine catching fire… The making of the book sort of went trial by error and caused us a lot of stress. But we didn’t give up and kept on pushing it and coming up with new solutions.”
We’d say the effort has paid off. When was the last time you stroked an embossed black suede book cover so that it sent shivers up your arms? “The book is soft enough to keep under your pillow if you feel so inclined,” says Studio Yukiko. Cozy. “Home’s size also isn’t imposing,” say Studio Yukiko. “It’s something you can treasure and hide if you want to, but it can also sit on your bookshelf. It has a certain type of stature.” A shrink plastic wrapping is also rasterized with a detail of a sexy body that you have to actually destroy in order to open it—the book is about experience just as much as it is about documenting. “Matt and Grindr really wanted to create a book that’s a testament to the safe spaces of young gay men,” concludes Studio Yukiko.
“The book is about the gay community and about now, more than ever, holding together.”
There’s been a lot of conversation about how print provides a “quiet space” in the post-digital media landscape. In recent months, I’ve noticed publishers describing print as a “safe space,” too, away from the negative impact of tireless trolls. Likewise, Home isn’t just about dwelling on the work of Lambert; through its considered design, the book provides the reader with a safe space to discover something about themselves, too.