Spines: The backbone of cover design

In the current state of publishing it can be easy to ignore the spine of a book. With most of the publishers sales coming from online retail sites the spine doesn't have the role in the digital marketplace that it once held in the brick and mortar bookstores.  Even though its' role has changed it is still as important as ever for publishers to treat the entire book with the upmost attention to detail in my opinion. The cover is not only about selling to the audience that the book is written for, but we are also selling to potential future authors. Its' a statement about a publishers commitment to excellence in all facets of the book.

Break the rules

The jacket for Smarter Than You Think stood out primarily because of the placement of the typography. The placement strayed from the traditional treatment of type commonly seen on other jackets. Titles being placed on one line, or the words being broken directly under one another are just two of the most common practices. Even though the words on Thompsons' jacket seem to be individually placed in four corners at the center of the jacket our minds are able to put together the message flawlessly. This again raises an important question pertaining to display type. How far can we push type and have the message still remain readable?   

Designer: Keenan

Publisher: The Penguin Press

Mining the Past: antique store

Last weekend I rummaged through the local antique stores with my fiance looking for vintage Ball jars to decorate our wedding reception. I knew they were quite common in most stores since I bought one a few year ago for a book cover.  On our journey I was struck by the typography, branding, and even the materials used to package goods from the past decades. One of the most memorable items was an embossed tin carton of cigarettes. The production manager in me kept thinking how expensive these must have been to ship and produce. We didn't manage to find the perfect set of ball jars, but I did manage to pick up some old woodcut letters. 

Special Delivery: Paul Rand / Thoughts on Design

At thirty-three years old Rand wrote Thoughts on Design. His essays are insightful and beautifully written. He expresses his point of view using only the essential amount of text while referencing his designs in all three essays. Rand acknowledges his influence from philosophers john Dewey and Roger Fry in particular to further clarify his concepts. Thoughts on Design is a must have for all graphic designers. Rand's book only reinforces the importance of articulating the thoughts and ideas used to create.

Paper and Pencil: The perfect app

Out of all the gadgets and apps in my toolbox the paper and pencil seem to be at the foundation of all my work. The invention of paper possibly dates back to 105 A.D. and the first graphite writing utensil was thought to be born in the 16th century. While examining the other tools I use on a daily basis I thought to myself, what will a design application look like in a thousand years? How do they reach that level of perfection, and is it even possible in the digital environment? Just something to think about. 

Penguin Books: A logo born in a zoo

The original penguin logo had been created in 1934 by Edward Young. The 21 year old office employee was Directed by his boss to visit the London Zoo to do some sketches. Fifteen years later in 1949 Legendary book designer Jan Tschichold redesigned the logo as we presently know it. 

Mollerup, Pan. Marks of Excellence: New York, Phaidon. 1997

But mostly funny

This dark, but humorous jacket recently became a permanent fixture on my bulletin board. A clever idea with a simple treatment. Makes me laugh every time I see it.

Designer: Mark Melnick

Illustrator: Bruce McCall

Publisher: Norton

 The most recent book cover making it's way to the bulletin board. Very clever idea with a simple treatment. Make me laugh every time I see it.   Designer: Mark Melnick  Illustration: Bruce McCall  Publisher: Norton