The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Midweek Miscellany, August 19th, 2009

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‘The 100 Best Comic Book Covers’ Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 at Kelly Thompson’s 1979 Semi-Finalist blog. I am not a comics nerd (believe that if you will), but there’s some great stuff (new and old) in this epic list…

Open to QuestionThe New York Times reports on Sony’s decision adopt the “open standard” ePub format for all their digital books. This means that “books bought from Sony’s online store will be readable not just on its own device but on the growing constellation of other readers that support ePub”. Progress of sorts I would say, but before you break out the bunting, David Rothman questions how “open” this format actually is at TeleRead.

Book Design on Twitter — Ben at the Book Cover Archive has posted a list of book designers who Tweet.

Ben’s list was also a nice reminder to mention  Jennifer Tribe‘s amazing directory of book industry people on Twitter.

Book Worship –  Shawn Hazen’s blog cataloging “graphically interesting, but otherwise uncollectible, books that entered and exited bookstores quietly in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.” Lovely (via Book Cover Archive blog).

Penguin Symbols — I know I just mentioned designer David Pearson’s Flickr the other day, but how fantastic is this? “An investigation by Production Manager Hans Schmoller into the origins and usage of Penguin devices”

And speaking of Penguin…

Covers And That — Jim Stoddart, Art Director of Penguin Press, discusses their book cover process and looks at some of the new covers for book released this month:

Each cover may face a wide range of hurdles and conflicting opinions, this is the very nature of book covers. Good designers tend to be very focussed and resiliant, and the value of a good sense of humour cannot be underestimated. As with most design jobs there is a balance of concept, craftsmanship and time dexterity required. Any number of changes to the brief may occur even once the design is finished. But in Penguin Press it is widely appreciated that the more a cover is ‘tweaked’ by a committee the less chance there is of retaining that original spark that we all know helps a book stand out in a world where thousands of books are vying for attention.

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