Archive for May, 2009

A Better Tomorrow needs a publisher

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

A Better Tomorrow, a new book from members of the online community Newstoday/QBN, is seeking to raise money for the Patrick O’Brien Foundation. As some of you know, the multi-talented Patrick O’Brien (AKA Transfatty) was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease a few years ago and is trying to raise money to help support his efforts to document his struggle.

It’s a great cause and what looks to be a great book. The publisher they had lined up has fallen through at the last moment and now they’re left dangling. If you know anyone in the publishing industry, or have access to a podium which you know is being read by the people in industry, considering helping out and mentioning this effort.

A Better Tomorrow official site
The Patrick O’Brien Foundation

Official trailer:


Monday, May 25th, 2009

Meta-news regarding Peter Mendelsund:

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I just helped him put together a holding page while he figures out what to do with his new site.

…Oh c’mon. It’s funny.

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He’s got a new interview up over at Caustic Cover Critic:
Q: So how did you end up in design?
A: [...] Chip and I laugh now about our various expectations going into this meeting- he sees a LOT of work, and his feeling was: “Here’s another friend-of-a-friend whose substandard work I have to pretend to encourage” and for my part I was thinking “Book jacket design is the most ludicrous job I’ve ever heard of shy of poodle-wrangling, and who names their child Chip Kidd?”

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I got my hands on the Fall 2009 Knopf Catalog, which Mendelsund designed.
Holy crap.

Twitter and other miscellany

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

A handful of updates to the Book Cover Archive worth mentioning:

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I’ve linked the Book Cover Archive to my twitter feed:
I’ve also put together a dedicated account in case you don’t feel like hearing about the other stuff that I’ve got going on (jerk!):

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Since the launch of the site back in February I’ve added a couple portfolios to the “PORTFOLIO SITES OF BOOK COVER DESIGNERS” list in the mega footer on the Archive:

High Design
Christopher Brand
Chin-Yee Lai
Ben Wiseman
David Gee

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We’ve recently added a small bit of functionality to the Archive. When available (not all that often), we’re going to start offering higher resolution versions of the covers. For example. I’ll be going back through and updating old posts to reflect this change as time allows.

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That’s it.

W. W. Norton Book Design Archive

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

W. W. Norton has recently started posting its book covers to a dedicated Flickr set. Fantastic. Lots of great stuff in here that I’d never seen, and most of it has a large image download option. My only beef is that the designer credits seem to be lacking more often than not.

So far they’ve got the hardcover books from April to June of this year. More to come.
Kudos to the excellent art direction of Debra Morton Hoyt, Ingsu Liu and Albert Tang.

Design by Evan Gaffney Design

Design by Chin-Yee Lai

Design by Patti Ratchford

Design by Buchanan-Smith LLC

Design by Kevin Brainard

C.S. Lewis Signature Series

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Excellent new C.S. Lewis titles from Jason Gabbert of The DesignWorks Group.

Saw one of these in the store today. They’ve got a great tactility. Not much for concept, which is unfortunate considering the fun that Lewis had with visuals and language. Still, a welcome repackaging for a very deserving set of titles. I’m mostly just thrilled to see The Great Divorce as its own stand-alone title. Easily the most “accurate” and engaging portrayal of heaven and hell I’ve read to date.

yo mama so ugly she got mistaken for the Kindle edition of Frankenstein

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Wired magazine has a short article on E-Book design — the first I’ve read that is focused on the design of the digital texts themselves, not the hardware. The article cites cover designer Henry Sene Yee and typeface designer Mark Simonson for input.

“Different typefaces are like like having different actors in play or different voices in an audio book,” Simonson says. “The variations in typeface influence the personality of the book. Sticking to one font is much like having the same actor play all the different parts.”

Licensing embedded fonts for e-books appears to be a unique and lucrative opportunity for typographers, I hope these guys are paying attention.


Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Random House has begun to disable the Kindle’s built-in text to speech synthesizer for selected books, presumably based on the notion that this feature — which exists mostly for readers with disabilities and impairments — may be cutting into their audiobook sales.

I present for your consideration: A Kindle and an iPod Shuffle, representing the state of the art in text-to-speech technology, performing a scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn.

Believe me, when these things are up to Shatneresque levels of eloquence, Skynet is as good as here. Book sales will be the least of your problems.

The work of Herman Houbrechts

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

The work of Belgian designer Herman Houbrechts is refreshingly unapologetic in its simplicity. The majority of his portfolio seems not so much the work of a commercial designer as it does the collection of a fine artist who was able to get someone to foot the bill during his pursuit of typographic exploration and color theory.

I’ve just added a handful of his covers to the Archive.

View more of his work at his portfolio site:

Herman Houbrechts

Quimby the Mouse

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Hello Monday! Please enjoy this animated short by artist and sometimes-designer Chris Ware, produced for a special edition of Ira Glass’s This American Life.

Best Made Co.

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Peter Buchanan-Smith launches Best Made Co., makers of fine custom axes. I was already a fanboy-for-life of Buchanan because of this cover, now I’m going to have to consider pouring a brass mold of his mouse hand.

Best Made Co.