I have to admit that I love a coffee table book, and Christmas is a great excuse to indulge myself - although Santa brought me a couple too. The brand new limited edition ‘Nike: Better is Temporary’ published by Phaidon, is a perfect example of the kind of lazy Sunday morning, dip into anytime book I like because, honestly, it’s text light and image heavy. It’s essentially a picture book with lots of fabulous photos and great graphics.
At over an inch and half thick and with some 320 pages, it’s lavishly produced. Bound in two encapsulated cardboard covers in a single-layer clear plastic jacket which leaves the spine exposed with the title embossed into the clear plastic, to reveal a series of coloured tabs from the stitched and collated sections.
The back cover is simply printed in just black ink onto the exposed pulpboard, while the front features overlapping silkscreened layers of “Volt” yellow, “Hyperpunch” pink and an impenetrably solid black with “NIKE” repeated four times. An image of the world-champion marathoner Kipchoge is printed underneath in a rough half-tone dot-pattern. Production values on the inner pages are equally impressive with some superb advertising, product and sporting photography interspersed with bold graphic spreads using several ‘special’ metallics and fluorescent inks for key statements and quotes.
The book provides a behind-the-scenes look at Nike’s design philosophy and its innovations through its products, some of which are now iconic, but it also shows prototypes and designs that never went into production. Alongside this are exclusive stories from Nike insiders which give fascinating insights combined with the visual feast of all things Nike. Across its five chapters it looks at brand performance, brand expression, collaboration, inclusive design, and sustainability.
Here’s a brief run-through of the book’s content: The introduction, “Breaking2.” examines Nike’s attempt to run a sub two-hour marathon with Kipchoge in 2017, achieved with the aid of Nike’s controversial Vaporfly running shoes, and looks at its effects on the sportswear and sporting industries. The first chapter, “The Voice of The Athlete,” looks into the company’s collaborations with athletes that help its development in research, innovation, and design. Chapter two, “Design That Speaks,” reviews Nike’s ad campaigns and the way the company talks to its customers. The third chapter, “Dream With Us,” explores Nike’s commitment to collaboration. Chapter four, “Opening the Aperture,” focuses on Nike’s inclusive mission statement: “Bring Innovation and Inspiration to Every Athlete in the World.” Finally, chapter 5, “Playground Earth,” Nike: Better Is Temporary offers an insight into Nike’s sustainability initiatives that have produced products like Nike Air technology, Flyknit, Flyleather, Nike Grind, Space Hippie and Move to Zero products.
‘Nike: Better is Temporary’ provides a visually rich and involving history of Nike and its role in sportswear, sport and lifestyle by assessing the brand’s impact and how it transformed into a global brand leader through its own innovative philosophy and dedication to ‘listening to the voice of the athlete’.