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robertogreco : bookdesign   15

It's Nice That | Graphic Design: Peter Mendelsund's brilliant covers for Julio Cortázar novel
"Some things take a few tries to get right, be it baking, swimming, snogging, or a book jacket design for a much-loved title. In designer Peter Mendelsund’s case, it was the latter he struggled with, and when asked to come up with a book cover for Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch, he and a whole host of other designers set to work trying to whittle it down into a a book-sized visual. The New York Times made a list of the entries, including some of Mendelsund’s, which illustrated the sheer time and effort that goes into the best book covers. I’m not talking no service station fodder, the best books deserve time and money to make their covers sing, and Peter Mendelsund has achieved just that."
juliocortázar  petermendelsund  via:tealtan  design  bookdesign  graphicdesign  graphics  rayuela 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Book design inspired by Edward Tufte - LaTeX Template on Overleaf
"Edward Tufte is a pioneer in the field of data visualization, and his works inspired the creation of two LaTeX classes for books and handouts.

Here we present the excellent sample book produced by the The Tufte-LaTeX Developers pre-loaded into Overleaf (formerly writeLaTeX) for you to use as a starting point for your own work.

Simply click the button above to use Overleaf to create and edit your article - there's nothing to install and no sign up required. When you're finished, use our integrated publish to figshare option to publish your work freely online.

Click here if you'd like to try the corresponding Tufte handout design on Overleaf.

PS: If you're new to LaTeX, our free online LaTeX course covers all the steps you need to get you started."

[via: https://twitter.com/overleaf/status/763811869022756866 via @djacobs]
bookdesign  latex  books  edwardtufte  overleaf  templates 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Recovering the Classics
"Recovering the Classics is a crowdsourced collection of original covers for great works in the public domain where anyone can contribute.

As part of a new initiative announced by the White House, we are partnering with the New York Public Library and the Digital Public Library of America to bring these amazing covers to libraries and schools nationwide.

Why? Sadly, many of the greatest classics in the public domain are left with poorly designed or auto-generated covers that fail to capture what makes these books exciting and inspiring to us. So we invited illustrators, typographers, and designers of all stripes to create new covers for 100 of the greatest works in the public domain.

Anyone can contribute, and all designs are available for sale as prints, apparel, and other products to support the artists.

Host your own local Recovering the Classics exhibit as part of our 50x50 campaign."
books  art  design  literature  bookdesign 
march 2016 by robertogreco
2 × 4: Essay: Ways of Seeing
"Everyone is talking about the way in which digital media is destabilizing print. I thought it was interesting to choose the reverse scenario: something that started digital but found its real audience in print. Ways of Seeing started as a four-part television series on the BBC in England conceived of and written by art critic John Berger. Berger was reacting specifically to the traditional connoisseurship of Kenneth Clark in the Civilisation series, another famous television program, which inscribed the canonical march of Western culture in heroic terms. As a critique of Clark, Berger created a popular reading of the icons of western art not as aesthetic objects, but deeply cultural artifacts that reveal, upon close “reading”, the limitation, prejudice, bias, and obsession of the culture from which they sprang.

This form of cultural criticism was established in the Universities, especially Marxist leaning polytechnics, but had never before had such a popular airing. The idea that classic paintings could be decoded to reveal social facts — and in fact Berger compared them to modern advertising — was heretical and his work was met with incredulity and anger in the hallowed halls of University Art History departments around the country, But Berger’s position, especially his proto-feminist critique of female nudes, would grow to become the dominant form of art criticism in the years ahead.

The television program had moderate success but shortly after it aired Berger joined with producer Mike Dibb and graphic designer Richard Hollis to produce a printed version of the televised series. Clark had also produced a book to accompany Civilisation: a huge, lavish, full-color coffee table monster that must have weighted 10 kilos. In contrast Berger, Dibb and Hollis produced a slim paperback, 127 x 203mm, of only 166 pages. Even more radical, the book was produced in black + white, reducing the famous art to mere notations on standard, uncoated paper of a trade book. It was published by the BBC Books under the Pelican Books imprint, a division of the venerable Penguin Press organized to publish books to educate rather than entertain the reading public.

Even more striking was the book’s design. Hollis starts the text of the first essay on the cover: “Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.” This simple typographic trick gives the book both a certain modesty (saves on pages) and an urgency (no time to waste). Starting on the outside also suggests a digital quality, the content is broadcast to the reader even as they pass the shelf.

The interior is equally unusual. Hollis set the entire book in a bold sans serif font, a very unlikely choice and aggressively un-civilized. There is no nod to classicism, the book is an entirely modern form. The text is broken down into short bursts, usually no more than a paragraph coupled with a visual example. Again reflecting its origin as a televisual experience the text and images work simultaneously, one form leveraging the other. There are five such text-and-image essays on everything from renaissance nudes to modern advertising. But Berger also adds for entirely visual essays. He assembles a series of examples that by the power of his selection and through their aggressive juxtaposition, he makes his thesis without any words at all. In so doing he presages the development of the curated playlist as a predominant contemporary form and creates the first pre-digital book."
johnberger  michaelrock  waysofseeing  books  2011  bookdesign  richardhollis  fiveparagraphessays 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Vale Umberto Eco | Overland literary journal
"I still consider it his main contribution to our culture: that of demystifying and modernising the role of the intellectual; of making it more accessible, more contemporary, more relevant. He wasn’t a radical like, say, Pier Paolo Pasolini or Michel Foucault, and never viewed himself as part of a struggle, be it political or existential. He never operated outside of the establishment, either, embracing rather a role of international academic superstar that saw him bouncing for two decades between Italy and the United States. Yet he also helped create lasting institutions, like the modern field of semiotics and the university faculty known as DAMS, in Bologna, where one could survey new phenomena such as mass communications and culture through very old means, reaching as far back as the scholastic philosophy of his beloved Thomas Aquinas, and from there further back to Aristotle. At the time when I went to university, in 1990, this was still an almost singular exception in an academia that clung for dear life to its pre-war methods, structures and concerns.

Then, at the age of forty-eight, Eco became a novelist. Later he revealed that he had come to hate The Name of the Rose, which he regarded as his worst work of fiction but, with all due respect, it’s a silly assessment. That first novel, his best, reflects his approach to intellectual work in that it’s a superficially difficult book, delving at length into obscure theological and philosophical questions, that manages nonetheless to be highly enjoyable and readable. Its themes are the same themes that preoccupied him at the time, chiefly the problem of interpretation. I think we are beyond spoiling the plot, but in the simplest of terms, in The Name of the Rose an occasional murderer becomes a serial one in order to fulfil the plot that the detective has come up with in order to explain the original killings: therefore his subsequent murders are effectively inspired by the fervid imagination of the detective. Like his semiotic work Lector in fabula, which he had just finished writing, The Name of the Rose is about the role of the reader in making sense of a text, only in a literal and essentially comic fashion. As Eco explains in the postscript to the second edition, he had been fascinated by an attempt by the French writers of Oulipo to produce a matrix of all possible murder stories, whose conclusion was that they had all been written save perhaps for one in which the murderer was the reader. That was the paradox, or joke, at the root of it all.

Another way of summarising the plot of The Name of the Rose would be that a deranged monk becomes a killer in order to prevent the recovery of the lost last book of Aristotle’s Poetics, the one on comedy. Therefore the novel is another dramatisation of the struggle between apocalyptic and integrated intellectuals, between deadly seriousness and life-giving irony. Foucault’s Pendulum picks up on the same themes, but with a little more of an edge. The fanatic conspiracists at its centre bear a striking resemblance to contemporary flat earthers and 9/11 truthers, and as a result the book still reads very well: Eco’s concern with textual interpretation, if anything, has become more relevant and more political now that everyone writes as well as reading.

I suggested recently in an Overland article that we are all Umberto Eco now, by which I meant that the internet gives everyone an opportunity to be a published – therefore public – intellectual, such as was afforded to Eco for a mainstream national audience only at the height of his career. The inverse of this observation is that Umberto Eco was Umberto Eco first. That is to say, he exhibited the kind of encyclopaedic intellectual interest that is almost a default, standard setting of the current reader/writer, covering the most disparate of topics like a one-man Twitter or Facebook timeline.

This may be why, in spite of neither being a great admirer of his fiction nor a follower of his semiotic theories, over the years I have found myself drawn to Eco time and again. I think it was his voraciousness, that medieval appetite for universal knowledge that is nonetheless truly modern, his prodigious curiosity, and the obvious enjoyment he derived from intellectual work and was able to transmit to the reader. Of some of his work, in the fold of that vast output, I am truly fond. Like his heroic translation into Italian of Raymond Queneau’s devilish Exercices de style (a one-page narrative about a chance encounter on the bus is re-told in ninety-nine different styles); his introduction to the work of one of my favourite writers, Achille Campanile; his recent, inexhaustible book on the passion for lists in Western thought; and above all so many of his columns, too many to count.

There will be many obituaries, and I’d like to conclude this one with a nod to the one he wrote for the great illustrator, designer and author Bruno Manari, with whom he had long worked at Bompiani on technical and other non-fiction work. In this brief piece for a magazine after Munari’s death, in 1998, Eco recalled his friend’s great talent for sketching complex book layouts with a few strokes of the pencil, equal only to his ability to argue and immediately show that any alternative suggestions would simply not work on the page. It was a little lesson on the craft of publishing that obviously stayed with him: he remembered it four decades later, and it has stayed with me for two decades more. Deep thinking about book design is a form of deep thinking about culture, which is also ultimately the sum of all of our crafts. Eco was above all this: a devoted and joyous practitioner of the art of being interested in things."
umbertoeco  giovannitiso  interestedness  2016  obituaries  publishing  bookdesign  books  culture  brunomunari  semiotics  interpretation  intellectuals  thomasaquinas  pierpaolopasolini  michelfoucault  readwriteweb  publicintellectuals  twitter  facebook  socialmedia  web  online  internet  foucault  interested 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Facebook's Little Red Book | Office of Ben Barry
"As the company of Facebook grew, we faced a lot of challenges. One of them was explaining our company's mission, history, and culture to new employees. Over the years, a lot of formative company discussions and debates had happened in Facebook Groups, over email, or in person. Those who had been present at the time had context, but for new employees that information was difficult to find, even if you knew what you were looking for. We wanted to try to package a lot of those stories and ideas in one place to give to all employees."
facebook  hacking  design  books  bookdesign  culture  management  2015  via:caseygollan  benbarry  timbelonax  jsmith  lcproject  openstudioproject  classideas  tcsnmy 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Textures of the Anthropocene | The MIT Press
"We have entered the Anthropocene era—a geological age of our own making, in which what we have understood to be nature is made by man. We need a new way to understand the dynamics of a new epoch. These volumes offer writings that approach the Anthropocene through the perspectives of grain, vapor, and ray—the particulate, the volatile, and the radiant. The first three volumes—each devoted to one of the three textures—offer a series of paired texts, with contemporary writers responding to historic writings. A fourth volume offers a guide to the project as a whole.

Grain: Granular materials add up to concrete forms; insignificant specks accumulate into complex entities. The texts in this volume narrate some of the fundamental qualities of the granular. In one pairing of texts, Robert Smithson compares the accumulation of thoughts to the aggregation of sediment, and an environmental historian writes about the stakes for earthly knowledge today. Other authors include Alfred Russel Wallace, Denis Diderot, and Georges Bataille.

Vapor: The vaporous represents matter’s transformations. In this volume, a political scientist compares Kafka’s haunting “Odradek” to “vibrant matter”; a media theorist responds to poems and diagrams by Buckminster Fuller; and more, including texts by Hippocrates, Italo Calvino, and James Clerk Maxwell.

Ray: A ray is an act of propagation and diffusion, encompassing a chain of interdependencies between energy and matter. This volume includes texts by Spinoza (with a reconceptualization by a contemporary philosopher), Jacques Lacan (followed by an anthropologist’s reflections on temporality), Thomas Pynchon (accompanied by an interpretation of Pynchon’s “electro-mysticism”), and others.

These volumes constitute a unique experiment in design and composition as well as content. The mingling of texts and the juxtaposition of different areas of knowledge represented in a variety of forms express the dynamics of a world in change."

[See also: “Five Minutes with the editors of Textures of the Anthropocene”
http://mitpress.mit.edu/blog/five-minutes-editors-textures-anthropocene

"How would you like this collection to change our notion of how we relate to the earth?

The world of the Anthropocene exhibits a mundane gravity. The news, the feed, the live stream, the status update, the flow of bits and bytes, the push notifications, our constant information flows, all bearing the quality of finitude, immediacy, and disharmony. Today, planes crash or disappear off the radar, epidemic diseases are merely managed instead of cured, methane gas erupts due to global warming, mud volcanoes are flowing, unstoppable, after drilling accidents, genocidal wars are fought, occupations continue, barbarism abounds, the weather, indeed, is strange, kids, clubbing, dance all weekend high on horse tranquilizers, toxic fluids are shared body between body in the nighttime capitals of Southeast Asia, yoga workshops in California offer Paleolithic snacks, and every Monday it is business-as-usual, back-to-work, as if the nineteenth century never ended. Work, capital, play.

As of tomorrow, we shall need a new art named by its true appellation — gaia scienza — the Science of the Earth. It is rooted in history, but not the “universalist” history we know all too well, with a bulldozing that mercilessly moves forward, seeking a conclusion, making 
a point, arguing a thesis, aiming at synthesis. The gaia scienza searches the creative, the material output of all times, those matters that have contributed to form the history of imagination. Heinrich Heine hit the nail: “all configurations that have previously existed on this earth must yet meet, attract, repulse, kiss, and corrupt each other again.” 
In this cultivated sensitivity for flows and its ruptures, finally, the Anthropocene can rid us of the Enlightenment project, for, as Woodbine put it, “in the Anthropocene, the critical gesture is finished. It’s so liberating [...] everything is to be reinvented.” We can embark on an Aesthetic Project, a practice of anamnesis, of remembering to remember not to forget." ]
anthropocene  books  nature  2015  katrinklingan  ashkansepahvand  christophrosol  berndscherer  grain  vapor  rays  design  bookdesign  buckminsterfuller  italocalvino  spinoza  thomaspynchon  jaqueslacan  jamesclerkmaxwell  odradek  kafka  vibrantmatter  transformation  propogation  diffusion  interdependence  dynamism  hippocrates  robertsmithson  paulklee 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Microsoft made a secret book for Nokia employees before its takeover | The Verge
In the months leading up to Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s phone business, the two compa"nies approached Shoreditch-based media company TCOLondon to secretly build a unique book for the nearly 20,000 Nokia employees set to join Microsoft. The 128-page book was edited and illustrated in London before being printed and shipped to employees in more than 90 cities in 53 countries.

It’s a celebration of the rich history that Nokia and Microsoft both share, including etchings of Nokia’s origins in a paper mill in Finland and Microsoft’s roots in New Mexico. Illustrations range from the first-ever GSM call to surgeons using the Kinect sensor for operations. Nokia and Microsoft approached TCOLondon in mid-December, with the original plan to have the book ready and finished for February 1st. A later-than-expected acquisition meant the book was delivered to employees at the deal closure in late April. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella even visited Finland to present a copy of the “One” book to Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. Here are some of the many illustrations inside the 128 pages."
books  design  nokia  finland  microsoft  bookdesign  illustration  2014 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The Filmic Page: Chris Marker's Commentaires: Observatory: Design Observer
"Commentaires presents the scripts of five films directed by Marker: Les statues meurent aussi (1953, co-directed with Alain Resnais), Dimanche à Pékin (1955), Lettre de Sibérie (1957), Description d’un combat (1960) and Cuba si (1961), as well as an unmade project, L’Amérique rêve (1959). In each case, Marker puts stills from the film into or alongside the text. It would be easy to take such plasticity for granted today, although this degree of integration of text and image in a film book, or any kind of small-format book for continuous reading rather than reference, is still unusual. At the time, it was a remarkable accentuation of the image in relation to the text. Marker uses wide fore-edge margins, and spaces between the paragraphs and other kinds of writing, such as song lyrics, to create open, dynamically organized layouts. The effect is to make all the elements appear to float in loosely placed, almost provisional arrangements. Turning the book’s pages, text and image strike the eye as being equally important.

“As you read [Commentaires] you knew exactly what was being talked about,” Richard Hollis notes in an interview with Eye. “It was a substitute for description: instead of talking about something, you show the objective visual evidence. That’s how I wanted to do Ways of Seeing, rather than have images by the side or text followed by a page of images.” In Commentaires, though, the image isn’t a substitute for the text (as it was sometimes in Berger’s book) but rather a selective approximation and evocation of the film experience, running in parallel with the words."



"In one of the film’s most audacious conceits, Marker shows the same sequence three times: a bus goes past, some men work on the road, another man walks by. With each viewing, the voiceover changes to describe the city of Yakutsk first as a worker’s paradise, then as hell on earth, and finally in more measured terms. The man walking by transforms from a “picturesque denizen of the Arctic reaches” into a “sinister looking Asiatic” before becoming merely a worker “afflicted with an eye disorder.” But even objectivity, notes Marker, can end up being a form of distortion; Yakutsk cannot be understood just by walking (and filming) the streets. After this piece of demystification, the reliability of any documentary, including his own, must forever be in doubt. When the sequence is translated into a layout in Commentaires, there is no need to repeat it to make the point. Marker compresses the narrative into a triptych of representative images displayed opposite the three competing modes of voiceover.

One final example taken from a sequence about the Siberian gold rush that turned the Aldan district into a lawless territory over which the Soviet government, a decade after the revolution, could maintain no control. Marker teases the viewer: “You expected to see Indians? There were Indians, cowboys, sorcerers, trappers, fights and romances.” The oval vignettes used on the page on either side of the descriptions are a direct re-creation of the devices employed ironically in the film to mythologize the figures in these old photographs. A bearded, modern-day worker living in the area is shown in the same manner before the moving image expands, like an iris-in, to fill the full frame.

The final likely reason that Commentaires has been neglected as a piece of advanced editorial design is that its layout was not the work of an established graphic designer. We are back to the familiar limitation that graphic design history tends to concern itself with the output of people formally identified as professional designers. As it happens, Marker was an outstanding example of the kind of communicator many designers now aspire to be, a versatile, multi-talented figure able to cross disciplinary boundaries — in his case writing, photography, filmmaking and design — and combine these endeavors in a unified personal life project. It’s hardly surprising that critics who analyse his work primarily as a filmmaker haven’t taken a close interest in Commentaires, the multi-volume Petite Planète series (1954-64), or Coréennes (1959), his book of photographs of Korean women, as designed objects. The two volumes of Commentaires are highly imaginative, inventive and challenging interpretations of the book form and, quite apart from their importance as documents in film history, they rightly also belong within an expanded historical understanding of editorial design."
rickpoynor  chrismarker  books  via:litherland  documentary  film  bookdesign  graphicdesign  objectivity  2014  commentaires  johnberger  waysofseeing 
march 2014 by robertogreco
PowellsBooks.Blog – Q&A;: Mark Z. Danielewski - Powell's Books
"The way many tablets automatically alter fonts, for example, or authorize the reader to select from a limited list, disregards a tradition, centuries old, of designing and carefully selecting a type design. And it's a tradition not born out of constriction and control, I think, but expression and the aesthetics of sense and beauty. We both know how much time goes into designing a book. Personally, I go through hundreds of fonts before choosing one. And that's just the start: margin size matters (put that on a T-shirt!). Folios. Colors, of course. Not to mention how the book as an object sits in the reader's hand…

How is meaning altered if a book is typeset in Legacy instead of Garamond or Minion? How is meaning altered if word density is constant? If ink color is uniform? If there is no cover?"

[So much more, read on…]
print  images  text  art  expression  bookcovers  edg  srg  glvo  bookfuturism  interviews  2012  via:bobbygeorge  markdanielewski  tablets  ebooks  digital  bookdesign  design  books  petermendelsund 
october 2012 by robertogreco
The Secret Law of Page Harmony | Retinart
"The perfect book. This is how designer-genius Jan Tschichold described this system. Not the ok book, nor the pretty good book, but the perfect book.

This method existed long before the computer, the printing press and even a defined measuring unit. No picas or points, no inches or millimeters. It can be used with nothing more than a straight edge, a piece of paper and a pencil.

And you can still use it. This is a system which is still as valid, beautiful and elegant with ultra-modern design as it ever was for the work of the scribes, Gutenberg and Tschichold."
books  design  layout  typography  bookdesign  via:robinsloan 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Books in the Age of the iPad — Craig Mod
"With the iPad we finally have a platform for consuming rich-content in digital form. What does that mean? To understand just why the iPad is so exciting we need to think about how we got here. I want to look at where printed books stand in respect to digital publishing, why we historically haven't read long-form text on screens and how the iPad is wedging itself in the middle of everything. In doing so I think we can find the line in the sand to define when content should be printed or digitized. This is a conversation for books-makers, web-heads, content-creators, authors and designers. For people who love beautifully made things. And for the storytellers who are willing to take risks and want to consider the most appropriate shape and media for their yarns."
ipad  books  bookdesign  ebooks  publishing  reading  usability  design  printing  change  craigmod  future  technology  typography  layout 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Archinect : Features : Working out of the Box: Thumb [designed the "Ring Roads of the World" poster, "Ryan McGinness Works" and "Everything Must Move" books]
"Robert Walters...really inspiring...died-in-the-wool Modernist...survey course...focused a lot on 20th century...presented architecture in larger context of design & culture...looked at Bauhaus typography, Futurist manifestoes, Beuys' sculpture alongside the built work of Mies, Marinetti's drawings & projects like Berlin Free University...very visual approach with side-by-side slide comparisons...sort of broad thinking appealed to me...Studio courses & work culture they promoted, really appealed to me too...long hours in studio...M Arch degree...very strong conceptual bent to Rice...influence of Bruce Mau & Sanford Kwinter who collaborated at Rice for 2-3 years...involvement in school was a sort of experiment to see how design thinking could dismantle & reassemble typical seminar/studio formats. Sometimes these experiments were more/less successful, but there was a huge amount of risk-taking. I still like the idea "nothing ventured, nothing gained" that they worked under..."
robertwalters  thumb  riceuniversity  design  graphics  books  brucemau  sanfordkwinter  futurists  typography  josephbeuys  bauhaus  modernism  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  risktaking  architecture  bookdesign  posters  miesvanderrohe  marinetti  berlinfreeuniversity 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Boom’s Visual Testing Ground: The internationally acclamied book designer Irma Boom talks about her craft.
"subject of internet & books is interesting. Books...more interesting because of internet...Sheila Hicks’ work now on internet...had revival..book gained status..so much advertising on internet...book just one idea...asks for attention..high concentrati
irmaboom  bookdesign  graphics  books  internet  design  publishing  attention 
march 2008 by robertogreco

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