Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I get all fired up about book design, and in particular cover design. I'm completely in favour of using adventurous design on covers, illustration, photography that transports you to the particular world of the book, via a colour or a mood rather than a real scene.

But one thing that I have learnt is, it's no good expecting recent graduates from art school to know about typography. I really wish I didn't have to tell the ones I meet all this, but I can't think of a way around it.

So - should we write a book, and produce it beautifully? There are plenty of books on typography, the history of type, modernism, but I don't know of one that gives you everything you need to design a commercial but beautiful book.

So, if you are involved in book publishing, and you don't know about the following, maybe I should....

x heights
ascenders and descenders
widows and orphans
what Eric Gill got up to
Augustus John and family
who designed the London Undergound map
what imposition schemes are and how they work
burst back
the link between modern type design and liberal politics emanating from Europe
serif and sans serif
reading a's and g's
condensed type faces
small caps
paper bulk
why endpapers print differently to text pages, and what illustrators should do to compensate
screen ruling
base line grids and where the InDesign term came from
ems and ens
point sizes
page folios and conventions
why some book formats are cheaper than others to print
why some thinner papers and in fact heavy, very heavy,and your postage bills for review copies will be massive
coated papers
trace papers
recycled papers - and where and how they are produced
why you shouldn't put coloured paper into your paper recyling bag
what happens at the paper mill when you do
making paper and the magic moment it 'jumps' across a cylinder
why Fleet Street fell apart
why with modern computers we could all be making really beautiful books if we just took a few minutes to look at what was achieved in the past with a few bits of metal...

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