The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

July 20, 2017
by Dan
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50 Books / 50 Covers Winners 2016

AIGA and Design Observer announced the results of the 2016 50 Books | 50 Covers competition while I was on vacation. You can find all the book selections here, and the cover selections here. I always look forward 50 Books | … Continue reading

June 22, 2016
by Dan
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50 Books / 50 Covers Winners 2015

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s 50 Books | 50 Covers competition organized by Design Observer in association with AIGA. All fifty winning books can be found here; the winning covers here.

July 14, 2015
by Dan
1 Comment

50 Books / 50 Covers 2014 Winners

Design Observer has announced the winners of their 2014 50 Books | 50 Covers competition, organized in association with AIGA and Designers & Books. The fifty winning covers can be seen here… …and the fifty winning books, here. My 2014 cover selections are here.

March 7, 2015
by Dan
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Jason Booher: “being a book cover designer is possibly the best job in the world.”

At the AIGA’s Eye on Design blog, Margaret Rhodes talks to Jason Booher, art director of Penguin imprint Blue Rider Press, about book cover design: The key to creating stellar covers, according to Booher, is to first throw out the … Continue reading

December 20, 2013
by Dan
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ABCD and 50/50 Design Contests 2013

Design Observer has announced that they are now accepting entries for this year’s 50 Books/50 Covers competition. The submission deadline is February 20th 2014. Design Observer, in partnership with AIGA and Designers & Books, began hosting the competition in 2011, and … Continue reading

April 24, 2013
by Dan
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AIGA Bright Lights Video: Hoefler and Frere-Jones

In this charmingly nerdy 5-minute video profile,  type designers Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones talk about their careers,  designing typefaces, and why each project takes about a decade. Hoefler and Frere-Jones were recently awarded a AIGA Medal for their “contributions to … Continue reading

September 28, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Peter Mendelsund chats with Chip Kidd about his office for the redesigned From The Desk Of: I’ve always been a ‘nester’, I think most designers are. The difference now between my office and my bedroom as a child is the dearth … Continue reading

April 27, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Designer Catherine Casalino discusses her cover design for Darren Shan’s Procession of the Dead at Faceout Books. 50 / 50 — An interesting Design Observer piece by Ernest Beck on the controversy around AIGA’s 50 Books/50 Covers and the changing … Continue reading

April 8, 2011
by Dan
2 Comments

Something for the Weekend

FF Spinoza — A nice looking new type family designed by New York-based art director Max Phillips: With the goal of readability in mind, Phillips named the typeface after 17th century rationalist and lens-grinder Baruch Spinoza, a man whose job … Continue reading

March 7, 2011
by Dan
2 Comments

50/50 Reinstated

Richard Grefé, executive director of AIGA, has announced that the 50 Books/50 Covers competition will continue: In seeking to balance AIGA’s celebration of design in all its dimensions, we recently merged the historic AIGA competition for books and covers… into … Continue reading

March 3, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Save 50/50 Petition

Book designers Christopher Sergio and Catherine Casalino have created an website and online petition asking AIGA to reconsider its recent decision to end its annual design competition  50 Books / 50 Covers: This year—after nine-decades—AIGA has decided to quietly discontinue … Continue reading

February 2, 2011
by Dan
1 Comment

A [EYE] GA

I’ve had some really encouraging feedback about my post on Peter Mendelsund’s Kafka redesigns, and this morning I received a surprise email from AIGA in New York about it that included the cover for the AIGA Annual Graphic Design USA: … Continue reading

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