This is something I have been waiting for for a long time: a series of humorous little booklets with the only simple purpose to explain what Hungarians are like, how they think, what makes them do things the way they do them – in a funny and self-ironic way, with short but to-the-point texts from a local’s perspective. Since end of November 2014 these special booklets are finally available – and as I can see it, it was totally worth the wait! They will make a great present all year around to visitors, to locals, to expats, to localised foreigners and basically to anyone with some ties to Hungary or even as souvenirs.
Prior to graduating from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art & Design, Zsofia Szabo wanted to work on a diploma project that would be a bit more complex than the usual ones and it could be continued upon her graduation. She envisioned a Hungarian ‘self-portait’ with hilarious texts and amusing graphics in form of a few booklets that would stand out on their own but still would make the series complete and of course that go way over the well-known, boring clichés such as Piroshka & Paprika…
The Little Hungaropedia pocket sized booklets currently cover six areas of the Hungarian way of life: Balaton (the Hungarian sea), Public Baths, Pubs, Clichés, Markets, and of course Palinka – all of them written by different authors who seem to be experts of their topics. All booklets have been illustrated and designed by Zsofia Szabo and her project was among the best diploma projects in Central Eastern Europe in 2013. Colours, appearance, and the overall design have an amazing look & feel, and the content will make you laugh out loud or if you have a bad day, it will definitely cheer you up and put a smile on your face. Good news is that the booklets are not only in Hungarian, but are available in English and Italian as well as it is planned to publish the booklets in other languages, too.
Given the uniqueness of the illustrations, some graphic elements and pictures are also available in form of posters, notebooks, play cards, canvas bags, and greeting cards. Every book costs HUF 1.790,00 (approx. 6 EUR) and can be purchased at different design and bookstores in Budapest. The booklets’ own websites will be live soon and the books along with accessories will be available online, too.
I think this is truly something that has been missing from the market until now. Although historical facts and events are important to remember and they help to understand the wider picture (in whatever context that might be), but the true soul of a nation is hidden in its everyday routines and activities that perhaps are not all that visible or understandable at first glance to a guest or an outsider (- or even to some locals neither). The Little Hungaropedias are here to help and on top they are hilarious, too.
Source of images: courtesy of Little Hungaropedia. Photos by Zsuzsi Kozma. Publisher: We Love Publishing Ltd.