November 19, 2008

The Designers Review of Books

Posted in advice, books, Design, Reading at 9:56 am by India

Designers Review of Books nameplate

Brilliant.

(Via Margaret)

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October 14, 2008

Flattery Will Get You Nowhere

Posted in advice, books, Design, Rants, Typesetting, typography, Work at 9:47 am by India

pond scum

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I should feel jazzed that a person I used to work with, who at that time did not know InDesign from Address Book, is still using my files as templates for new books today in his busy freelance design business. Being a spiteful, negative, unforgiving person, however, I instead find it just kind of disgusting. Because even though this person is apparently now making a nontrivial chunk of his income by designing and typesetting books (and perhaps double-billing for it, too), he clearly still doesn’t know typography from a hole in the ground.
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October 7, 2008

Flash vs. substance

Posted in art direction, Design, illustration, Lazyweb, technology, Tools, web development, Work at 11:47 am by India

Sole Searching

A few weeks ago, Rachel Sugar, one of my coworkers, had an idea—based on a book called Jews and Shoes—to present some illustrated factoids about footwear in Jewish tradition. Staff favorite Vanessa Davis was nominated for the art portion of the project, and I asked if she’d be interested in working on what was then still a very vague idea. She was game, fortunately, because she rocks.
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May 31, 2008

MetaFilter Asks . . .

Posted in books, Design, Lazyweb, print-on-demand, typography at 6:10 pm by India

metal type

MeFi user Caduceus requests information about

Changing technologies in book design?
I’m looking for information about how new technologies have affected book design and typography.

I’m particularly interested in the affects of computers and design software, but information about how things like Print on Demand and ebooks have changed the status quo of book design would also be helpful. I’d be happy to be pointed to books, web essays, blogs, whatever information I can track down and dig through.

Kind reader Brian Winters directed Caduceus to this blog, but I don’t think there’s much here that addresses the question, since I started designing books relatively late in the digital age (around ten years ago, give or take). Most insight into such subjects around these parts comes from my more experienced visitors. So . . .

Should any of you more (or less! it’s MetaFilter!) informed persons wish to weigh in, there’s the thread. Of course, if you are, like me, too lazy to go register so that you can comment at MeFi, you’re welcome to deposit your thoughts here.
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May 29, 2008

The Recipe for Success

Posted in books, Design, production, Typesetting, typography at 1:49 pm by India

Book Cake

Following up on the popularity of her copyediting report, Rose Levy Beranbaum has posted another interesting entry about the production of her forthcoming cookbook: Book Production Phase 7 Pre Design Meeting.

The designer’s estimate had the text running forty-two pages over the initial castoff, so there was a lot of discussion about how to make it fit. She’s posted her notes from the meeting, which give a you an idea of the complexity of cookbook design. Read the rest of this entry »

May 22, 2008

A-lines are always in style

Posted in Design, illustration, Inspiration, Reading at 8:01 am by India

five A-frame designs from Print magazine's Flickr slideshow

Brainiac Josh Glenn takes issue with Steven Heller’s facile assertion that although “The human leg has evolved continually over many eons, adapting from an underwater propeller to its current form . . . on book covers and on film and theater posters, the leg has evolved very little.”

I hate to quibble with the master, since I’m a fan of Heller’s books. But this time he hasn’t put his best leg forward. Even a cursory glance at the leg-scenarios on display in Heller’s Print essay — and at Print Magazine’s A-Frame photoset at Flickr — indicate that the A-Frame is forever evolving.

The Flickr set is not entirely work-safe, but do check it out if nobody’s looking over your shoulder. Much excellence therein.

Now I just have to think of some excuse to put an A-frame illustration on the front of Nextbook.org . . .

April 24, 2008

Making trees’ deaths worthwhile, since 1972

Posted in bookbinding, books, Design, Inspiration at 8:13 pm by India

Scott K. Kellar binding - trees

I’m trying to close some browser tabs that I’ve been carrying along for at least two months, and I just can’t click the little x on this one without mentioning it. Scott K. Kellar, bookbinder and conservator? Does some really lovely work. Go look.

April 20, 2008

Well, nobody can accuse book designers of price fixing.

Posted in books, business, Design, Typesetting, Work at 6:35 pm by India

revised price list

Tom Christensen did an informal survey of four book designers to find out how much they’d charge for a hypothetical job.

I was trying to determine a reasonable price for a 320-page hardcover collected poems, interior and cover/jacket design. . . .

According to the 2001 edition of the Graphic Artists Guild handbook of Pricing and Ethics, for an average poetry book a designer might charge $7,500 to $15,000 to design and set the interior plus $1000–$2000 for the jacket. That gives a total range of $8500–17,000. Those figures are seven years old, but several people say the prices in this publication skew high.

Yes, in my experience, they do.

The results? Each different, like a snowflake: $3,100, $8,000, $8,800, and $12,800. See Tom’s post for each designer’s breakdown of charges: rightreading: Book design fees.

Photo: price list by Nick Sherman; some rights reserved.

April 16, 2008

A PSA to U.S. publishers that do not have legal departments

Posted in Design, Work at 1:31 pm by India

(and to anyone else in the United States who hires freelance designers):

If the designer of your book’s jacket or interior is not an employee of your company, rather than an independent contractor, and if you do not have a written contract that expressly says that the design work was done “for hire,” then you do not own the design.

This means that if you or anyone else wishes to reuse it—say, if you sell paperback or foreign rights to another publisher—you can’t just send along the layout files. You do not own them. They do not belong to you. You must negotiate a usage fee with the designer. It will probably cost you money.

Ouch.
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February 29, 2008

The Motherlode of Vintage Bookbinding History

Posted in bookbinding, books, Design, Inspiration at 3:35 pm by India

swirly bindings

Earlier this week, Miss Sheila Ryan, archivist extraordinaire, drew my attention to the 2008 winner of the award for Best Online Archival Exhibition, as reported by Kate Theimer at ArchivesNext.com: “Publishers’ Bindings Online, 1815–1930: The Art of Books,” created by the University of Alabama, University Libraries, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.

It has taken me so long to blog the news because this collection is sick—sick, I tell you: more than five thousand books, in various states of decay. Some are fabulous; some are homely; it would take weeks to look at them all. Every time I thought I had a good selection with which to illustrate this post, I’d find twenty more that I love.

The only problem with this archive? You can’t bookmark specific pages within the collection, as you have to have a valid session ID. And if you let your browser sit idle for too long, your session times out. Maddening! If anyone can find a way around this, please let me know. I’ve been dumping covers into Flickr so I can find them again.

More samples after the jump . . .
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