Friday, April 13, 2012

Book Jackets, Ronald Reagan, & Free Literature

In preparation for the start of our next and final project (designing a book), it was suggested that we take an outside-of-class field trip to get some inspiration. Being that we were told of this opportunity on Thursday and the show closed on Friday, it was a quick turn around. But I trekked myself out to West Campus to the University Press building (for being so far away, it really is a beautiful building) to check it out.

Recently, The Association of American University Presses held a juried competition asking publishing companies to submit book jackets, journals, poetry, and literature. Approximately 281 books, 272 jackets, and 4 journals were entered, and from that, a selection was made to put on display at the University Press.

Not knowing a whole lot about book and jacket designs, I merely was there to get a better idea of what constitutes as "good" for this genre of design. And while looking around, I found some pretty interesting books:

"Capture the Flag: The Stars and Stripes in American History"
Author: Arnaldo Testi
Designer: David Drummond
Typefaces: Trade Gothic Bold, New Baskerville
Sorry about the rotation error, but I thought this jacket was really innovative with the use of text as a familiar image. And although is use of typeface and color are somewhat minimal, he still manages to pull off a sleek and sophisticated design.
"House of Hits"
Author: Andy Bradley and Roger Wood
Designer: Lindsay Starr
Typefaces: Jazz Dark (how appropriate) and Scala Sans
I really thought this was a clever placement of an image. It can be easy to just "slap" an image into a bunch of text, but Starr really executes the meaning and topic of the text through this design. I also really appreciate the use of a "funky" text type combined with a professional-looking text below.
 "Roy and Me"
Author: Maurice Yacowar
Designer: Natalie Olson
Typeface: Miller Display, Trade Gothic, Goudy
What really struck me with this book cover was the choice to include so many different styles of text within design. I recently read "The Mac is Not a Typewriter" and learned all about the dangers of combining serif with non-serif fonts as well as bold with italics. And although Olson breaks these rules a bit, I think that "rebelliousness" is executed successfully and institutes a classy book cover.
"Museum of the Weird"
Author: Amelia Gray
Designer: Lou Robinson
Illustrator: Zach Dodson
University of Alabama Press
This was probably one of my favorite and most inspiring book covers because the style is so relatable to Kate Bingaman Burt, my designer I chose to research (her blog post is coming up in a jiffy, she's awesome, be excited people). The hand-drawn, stylistic drawings add to the great quirkiness of the book and give a humorous approach to what the reader is going to be learning about (such as a museum devoted solely to snakes) and also! The image on the bottom row, second from the right, "The Boyhood Home of Former President Ronald Reagan", I have totally toured in real life! It was on one of those marvelous road trip vacations with the fam. I got to learn all about Reagan's lucky penny in a brick on his fireplace and ten year old bowl of popcorn within the house set up that Reagan ate from when he visited. Yum.

But best of all with this whole wonderful visit to the University Press was the free literature I got!

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