Joost Elffers

Publisher & Creator, “Play with Your Food”

Whether the subject is the cutting of cheese, the uniform of former American general Norman Schwarzkopf, or any other crazy subject, designer, writer and publisher Joost Elffers has an incredible story to tell about it.

Elffers didn’t inherit his unrestrained creativity from strangers: his parents were graphic designer Dick Elffers and photographer Emmy Andriesse. Elffers graduated from the Art School in The Hague, but looking back at that period in his life, he came to the conclusion that lessons he learned at home were more effective to him than what he learned from his professors. He educated himself in the field of design, but soon found out designing other people’s initiatives was too constraining for him. He’d much rather produce and publish his own ideas.

In 1973, Elffers produced Tangram, an old Chinese puzzle, of which 1.5 million copies were sold worldwide. Another great success was the exhibition Elffers organized two years later in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. In 1978, Elffers moved to New York, where he settled as a publisher of special projects.

Elffers and cultural sociologist Michiel Schwarz created, designed and produced a manifesto where text and image became one message: Sustainism is the New Modernism: A Cultural Manifesto for the Sustainist Era. In this book, Elffers designed a series of logos symbolizing various aspects of a sustainist connected society.

Elffers has initiated, created and published numerous award-winning books, including The Secret Language of Birthdays, 48 Laws of Power, Play with Your Food, and Tangram: The Ancient Chinese Shapes Game.

Author, Publishing, Sarasota 2015