Aneta Kowalczyk

Book designer and art director at
Blow Up Press publishing house, Warsaw

Poland 24 May, 2024. Photos by courtesy of BLOW UP PRESS.


Briefly tell us about this project?


In October 2023, we released a book by American artist Michael Honegger titled ”The Need to Know.” It’s a captivating blend of family drama and espionage. Honegger’s father was a spy for the United States in 1960s Germany, during the Cold War. But none of his family members had a clue about his secret life. They often found themselves unwittingly caught up in mysterious events that left them with more questions than answers. Strange encounters, odd radio transmissions, and unexplained coincidences became part of the artist’s childhood. 

The book is primarily crafted from materials gathered by the artist, including archived photos, documents, and contemporary images showcasing spy gadgets from that era. Additionally, readers can discover two encrypted spy messages cleverly hidden within the uncut pages. It’s a must-read for anyone who loves tales of espionage.



From The Need to Know by Michael S. Honegger


What inspires you?

In my design projects, I always aim to push boundaries and create a new book that people really want to dive into again and again. My main inspiration usually comes from the story itself. Sometimes, I even ask the artists to share the music they were listening to while they worked on the project — it helps me really immerse myself in it.
I want to get as close to the essence of the project as possible, so I can really bring out the most important elements of the story. With ”The Need to Know,” it was all about recreating the atmosphere of the1960s. Thanks to archive pictures and documents like passports, old newspapers, and travel permits, I was able to capture that atmosphere perfectly.



Why did you choose Munken for this project?

I picked out a bunch of papers with different grammages for this project. I wanted to give it a bit of a historical vibe, especially for the old photos or documents, and to show how time has passed. That’s why choose this uncoated ecru paper — it’s perfect for reproducing colors in a nice way. I settled on Munken Pure: 80 gsm for the documents and then 120 and 150 gsm for the rest of the book.



Name: Aneta Kowalczyk
Title: Book designer & Art director