The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend


Patrick Cramsie, author of The Story of Graphic Design, chooses his top 10 graphic design books for The Guardian. The list includes Notes on Book Design by Derek Birdsall.

Type Education — FontShop have released a handful of free typography primers designed for downloading and printing, including ‘Seven Rules for Better Typography’ by Erik Spiekermann.

Frost — Sifting through the Penguin archive in Bristol, writer Gaby Wood profiles the late Eunice Frost, who became an editor at Penguin in the 1930’s and went on to become its first female director, for The Telegraph:

Frost was sharp and, for all her youth and inexperience, in many ways more culturally engaged than the Lane brothers… It was to a large extent thanks to her that Penguin began to publish original work – not just reprinted fiction but the Pelican series of new non-fiction, and the Penguin ‘Specials’ series – quickly produced tracts on various subjects of urgent import. Three weeks after war was declared, for instance, Harold Nicolson was commissioned to write a 50,000-word book entitled Why Britain Is at War, which he delivered two weeks later and which was published a fortnight after that.

Secrets of Life and Death — Artist Jaime Hernandez, co-creator of Love & Rockets, and comics scholar Todd Hignite discuss their new book The Art of Jaime Hernandez with Eric J. Lawrence on KCRW.

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