Client, Year

Paula Gately Tillman, 2018

Services

Naming
Brand Story
Logo
Identity Development
Book
Packaging
UX/UI
Website
Social Media
Brand Applications

Awards / Press

Photography

URL

Fringe

Life at the outer edges, front and center

Paula Gately Tillman’s monograph, Fringe, offers a never-before-seen glimpse into the pivotal fashion, drag, and music scenes of New York and Atlanta from 1984 to 1997. Ashton designed the book to showcase hundreds of Gately Tillman’s darkroom photographs—most shared publically for the first time—and the incredible stories of the people featured in them. 

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Fringe is the artist’s first monograph. It’s divided into four main sections: a foreword by Kristen Hileman, senior curator of Contemporary Art at  Baltimore Museum of Art; a portfolio; “Behind the Lens,” Tillman’s memoir; and “Conversations,” which gives context to her life’s work. Each section is divided with a foil-stamped short sheet and an index of subjects written in her own hand, both a callback to her photo archive and ritual practice of journaling.

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Ashton worked with Paula to create the “fringe” concept, then carried it through the design. Narrative captions in the margins of every page share Paula’s observations of cultural and LGBTQ icons, many at the start of their careers, from the outside looking in. Her ironclad memory colors the intimate details captured in her photos, like Ru Paul’s “Nirvana mesh top” or what it was like to walk into the Manic Panic store in 1986.

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“I believed in the book from the get-go. I never had a doubt about the book design, ever. I always knew it would turn out to be really spectacular and, of course, I rave about Ashton. I have everything good to say about them.” 


Paula Gately Tillman

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The first run of Fringe was limited to 200 artist-edition box sets. Produced as a collector’s item, the set included the monograph, a signed digital print, and a companion book of ephemera called Nostalgia

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Nostalgia expands the narrative around Paula’s work and subjects, using kept and found materials to provide a window into a scene few observed. Years of meticulously saved notes, friends’ snapshots, drag show flyers, and other curios appear together for the first time to take the reader deeper into her memories.

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Ashton helped market the book by creating complementary print and digital promotional pieces, including book launch invitations, auction announcements, and a custom website. Each expanded upon the design language of the book.

Upon release, both the book and box set won Art Directors Club and Mid-Atlantic Print Excellence awards. 

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