The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend


New Directions celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2011 and to mark the occasion, creative director at large Rodrigo Corral commissioned illustrator Felix Sockwell to redesign their iconic colophon by Heinz Henghes.  Sockwell writes about the redesign process (and vomiting!) here (via MobyLives).

Drowned in Sound — You have a few days left to listen to the BBC Radio adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World.

Rewiring — Peter Cocking, art director at Douglas & McIntyre, on designing a new cover for Johanna Skibsrud’s debut novel The Sentimentalists, winner of the Giller Prize and first published by artisan publisher Gaspereau Press:

I felt that the existing cover was to some extent a brand for the book — it appeared in the media quite a bit. It’s different from what we would do in that it’s — and I mean no disrespect to Andrew [Steeves, co-publisher of Gaspereau Press] — but it’s a more literary small-press treatment. It’s very appropriate to the way they publish the book, but it was clear, of course, that we were going to try and push this out into the marketplace in a much wider way. So it seemed to me that the idea was to take what they had, because people might remember this as the cream-yellow book with the solider, and make it a little more contemporary, trade-friendly, a little more aggressive as it were. It wasn’t so much a design from scratch, the way I would normally approach a novel. The way I would describe it is I didn’t build the house, I repainted it, did some new wiring.

And finally…

Jonathan Safran Foer’s “unmakeable” book Tree of Codes published by Visual Editions and printed by Belgian publisher and printer Die Keure, seen at Fast Company.

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