The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend

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The cover for The Disappearing Spoon designed by the amazing Will Staehle. To quote Tal Goretsky at Book Covers Anonymous:  “Holy Mother God!”. Apparently it’s printed on uncoated paper.

You can see some of Tal’s own rather nice design work here.

And speaking of designer’s blogs… Designer Joanna Rieke has started a new blog called UnCovered about book and magazine covers. She recently interviewed illustrator (and Casual Op. hero) Tom Gauld:

I think most literature works perfectly well without illustrations and I have seen some truly awful images put on the cover (used as illustrations) of great books. As for comics, I’m more often frustrated by comics which are too wordy than too visual. I think the balance between words and pictures is very important in a comic and though the ratio doesn’t always have to be the same, my heart sinks when I see a page which is filled with writing.

Taking a summer break from his regular illustration gig at The Guardian, Tom is currently producing a weekly comic and posting it to Flickr:

Real Editors Ship — I linked this on Twitter already, but it’s kind of great so what the hell… Paul Ford on getting stuff out the door and the value of editors (and I would suggest Production Managers):

People often think that editors are there to read things and tell people “no.” Saying “no” is a tiny part of the job. Editors are first and foremost there to ship the product without getting sued… This is not to imply that you hit every sub-deadline, that certain projects don’t fail, that things don’t suck. I failed plenty, myself. It just means that you ship…

Editors are really valuable, and, the way things are going, undervalued. These are people who are good at process. They think about calendars, schedules, checklists, and get freaked out when schedules slip. Their jobs are to aggregate information, parse it, restructure it, and make sure it meets standards. They are basically QA for language and meaning.

The Fine art of Recommending Books — Laura Miller at Salon:

Amazon and other online merchants have harnessed mighty algorithms to run their “If you enjoyed that, you might like this…” suggestion engines, but these are still crude instruments. Practically any novel you plug into Amazon’s search engines at the moment returns the robotic announcement that people who bought it also bought one of Stieg Larsson’s “Girl” thrillers — because seemingly everybody in America is buying those books. It’s not like you need the world’s most sophisticate e-commerce servers to tell you that.

And finally…

Steranko! — Jonathan Ross interviews comics legend Jim Steranko, inspiration for Josef Kavalier in Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,  for The Guardian:

Spend an hour with Jim Steranko and, if he’s in the mood, he’ll regale you with the most extraordinary tales. Are they true, I have asked myself more than once, or is he a fantasist? Has his love of storytelling and the creation of modern myths bled into his own life story until he can no longer tell the two apart? Well, now that I’ve met him, I believe them all to be true, just as I believe it when he tells me he still runs miles every day, pumps iron, and fornicates blissfully like a man a third his age. He is unique. He is Steranko. He is the greatest.

A slideshow of Steranko’s work is here.

Have a good weekend…

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One Comment

  1. That Spoon cover is absolutely sick. I love everything about it. I downloaded the eBook and have not moved past the cover. I just sort of stare at it and wonder how he came to that solution. Maybe FaceOut will do a post on it. That would be nice.

    Great stuff here as always.

    Really love this Escher take on the NewYorker: http://joannarieke.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/escherstaake.jpg?w=389&h=514

    have a good one Dan.

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