The book itself feels celebratory, diverse, and collective. It covers as much of Belgium’s scene as possible, largely inspired by Sara’s own exhibition at the Design Museum Gent, titled Off the Grid: Belgian Graphic Design from the 1960s and 1970s as Seen by Sara De Bondt. “I invited everyone I could think of who knew anything about the subject to give a talk in the little reading area we had set up in the show,” she says. “It felt like a waste not to capture all the new content being produced in the exhibition context so that people could enjoy it longer.” By the end of the exhibition, Sara had archived and stored away the works and asked practitioners in attendance to contribute words to the books.
Ultimately, Sara herself is a designer “inspired by peers, colleagues, and students’ work,” consistently drawing on life she encounters in her everyday to constitute her work. It’s probably why Off The Grid feels so genuine and authentic, as it’s infused with Sara’s genuine appreciation of art as much as it is with aesthetic fancy. Often, it’s the quotidian things like “drawing, art, walking, travelling, flea markets, bookshops and nature,” which Sara looks to for artistic fuel. “And with Occasional Papers, the people whose work we publish are always people we admire,” she says.