The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Missed Things: Monday

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I was talking about Romek Marber right before I left the building, so it seems appropriate to get things started with him too…

In an extract from a new book called Penguin by Illustrators, the Creative Review reprints the full text of the presentation made by Marber to the Penguin Collectors Society in 2007:

Much has been made of the grid; it has even been labelled ‘the Marber grid’. I believe that the pictures for the initial twenty covers, played an important part in forging the identity of the Crime series. The grid was important as the rational element of control. The consistency of the pictures contributed, as much as the grid, to the unity of the covers, and the dark shadowy photography gave the covers a feel of crime.

And on a related note, idsgn profiles Gill Sans, the ‘Helvetica of England’ which was used by Edward Young on the early Penguin paperbacks (Marber switched to Akzidenz Grotesk if memory serves…).

Coaxing — Ron Charles, Deputy Editor of the Washington Post’s Book World, interviewed in Bookslut:

The number of books keeps rising, as far as I can tell. The number of readers is stable or stagnant or even declining. When you look at the amount of space we spend covering television… I’m not criticizing my own paper, I’m criticizing my own industry. Who needs help watching TV? Reviews of television shows, I shake my head; I can figure out if I want to watch The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm all by myself. But help me find a good novel, in this enormous stack of books at the book store. That’s a real service.

You can also follow (the surprisingly candid) Ron Charles on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Publishing Trends looks at Book Reviews, Revamped.

Correspondence — Eric Hanson, author of A Book of Ages, commemorates the 60th anniversary of the letter that inspired the lovely 84, Charing Cross Road (via The Second Pass).

If any of you haven’t read 84 Charing Cross Road, please go do so now…

The Billy bookcase turns 30 — Lucy Mangan celebrates in The Guardian.

And lastly…

I’ve linked here before on several occasions, but I just wanted to mention the all around awesomeness that is A Journey Round My Skull. Recent posts include BLICKFANG — The Eye-Catching Covers of Weimar Berlin and Thirty More Book Covers From Poland.

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