Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘design and lit’

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Beyond "Books by the Foot"… but to what?

I adore this video of books arranging themselves by color. So why do I cringe when I read this? For the spa in Philippe Starck’s Icon Brickell, the icy glass condo tower in Miami, [designer Thatcher Wine] was asked to wrap 1,500 books in blank white paper, without titles, to provide a “textural accent” to the space. He chose mass-market hardcovers that flood the used book outlets — titles by John Grisham and Danielle Steel, or biographies of Michael Jackson, he said — because they are cheap, clean and a nice, generous size. For another Starck project, in Dallas, Mr. […]


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U.K. vs. U.S. covers

When British books are published in the United States, and vice versa, publishers don’t generally change the text to cater to their audiences across the pond. Okay, they often adjust the spelling of a few words, like “realise”/”realize” and “practise”/”practice.” And some small punctuation changes occur—British writers tend to put their periods and commas outside quotation marks, Americans within. But these changes are quite minor. There’s one major thing that changes when a book crosses the Atlantic, though: the cover. The Millions has an interesting analysis of the UK and US covers of the books involved in the 2011 Tournament […]


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Book Lamp, Literally

Designer Martin Konrad Gloecke has designed a book lamp that uses your own book as a lampshade—and functions as a bookmark. Writes Gloecke on his website: wall light. complete lamp by adding book as lamp shade. remove book for reading, change lamp by changing book, use as bookmark. part of un-readymades series: inspires, encourages, and enables creativity, play, product interaction, and personal expression. And if you like that, check out Gloecke’s “Booked” table—a set of legs that attach to your own book to form an end table. Via GalleyCat and FYB.


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The Challenges of Digital Typesetting

Abu Dhabi’s The National offers this fascinating piece by Peter Robins about typesetting ebooks: “Designing a printed book is remarkably different from designing an ebook,” says Charles Nix, a partner in the New York publishing firm Scott & Nix and the president of the Type Directors’ Club. “Printed-book design is about fixed-size pages and spreads. Those are gone in ebooks. Book designers choose typefaces and point sizes to maximize legibility and comprehension. Those are gone in ebooks too. Some formats, he notes, do allow you to embed a font, but you can’t rely on reading devices picking it up. Book […]


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Book Covers in the eBook Era

Imagine you’ve walked into a bookstore, browsing for something new. Besides an explicit recommendation, how do you decide what to read? If you’re like most people, you reach for a book that looks interesting… based on the cover. Mokoto Rich of the New York Times discusses how the e-book era may prevent us from judging a book by its cover and the ramifications that has for authors: Among other changes heralded by the e-book era, digital editions are bumping book covers off the subway, the coffee table and the beach. That is a loss for publishers and authors, who enjoy […]


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Strand Tote Bag Contest

You’ve seen it a million times: that iconic tote bag with The Strand logo on it. Recently, The Strand partnered with the School of Visual Arts, TOON Books, Drawn & Quarterly, and Fantagraphics Books to host a tote bag design contest. Over 800 emerging artists submitted their representations of The Strand Bookstore, and a panel of judges, including Pulitzer Prize–winner Art Spiegelman, selected three winners. Check out a slideshow of all the entries, just the finalists, or the three winners. The image by the grand prize winner, Zak Foster, will be featured on a new tote bag, available in-store and […]


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Book Design Nerdery, Part I: Designing a Cover

Have you ever wondered how book covers get designed? This video shows how Orbit Books’ Creative Designer Lauren Panepinto designed the cover for an upcoming novel. The whole process took over 6 hours, but the video condenses that into just under two minutes: On Orbit’s webpage, Panepito explains: Trust me, no one wants to watch it in real-time…and even then I left out the not-as-riveting-onscreen stages of my cover design process, such as reading the manuscript, sifting through Alexia photoshoot outtakes, background photo research, etc. And since this is a series look that has already been established for Soulless and […]


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The Hypothetical Library

The subtitle of the blog The Hypothetical Library is “Imaginary Book Covers. Designed for Real Authors.” And that sums up this interesting little project nicely. Book designer Charlie Orr collaborates with real authors like Colum McCann, David Lehman, and Thomas Kelly to design covers for books that the authors have not written—and never will write. I ask each writer to provide flap copy for a book that they haven’t, won’t, but in theory could, write, and then I design a cover for it. I am not a writer. I have tried over the years, but it is simply something I […]


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By Its Cover: A Book Cover Contest

Did our last post on book covers convince you that cover design makes a difference? Want to try your hand at it? Design blog Venus febriculosa is running a book cover design contest for Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. The deadline is February 26, 2010, and the winner gets $1000. More information on the contest is here. And for further inspiration, check out the stunning entries and winners for the last book cover contest: Nabokov’s Lolita. My favorite is the one with the scrunchie–how about you?




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