The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

March 15, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

Lustig Elements Font Revival on Kickstarter

Working with the legendary Elaine Lustig Cohen, designer Craig Welsh has launched Kickstarter campaign to revive a font originally designed by Alvin Lustig in the 1930s that they’re calling ‘Lustig Elements’. The project is about halfway to its funding goal, but there are only … Continue reading

February 17, 2016
by Dan
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New Directions Staying Small

Maria Bustillos visits New Directions and talks to publisher and president Barbara Epler about the business for The New Yorker: Today’s visitor to New Directions’ elegantly shabby offices, in Chelsea, may stand on the nineteenth-floor balcony beside Epler, who is in … Continue reading

September 14, 2012
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Saw this in person for the first time at a bookstore  last night… Gray318’s cover really is outstanding. Natives on the Boat — Teju Cole, author of Open City, on his stay in the Roi des Belges in London, and an encounter with V.S. … Continue reading

January 27, 2011
by Dan
8 Comments

Peter Mendelsund and the Art of Metamorphosis

I posted about Peter Mendelsund’s reinterpretations of Kafka for Schocken Books rather breathlessly earlier this week, and I wanted to revisit them now I’ve had some time for greater reflection. The covers are exceptional designs and surprising reinterpretations of Kafka. … Continue reading

December 31, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

Favourite New Books of 2010

Ducking in just under the wire, here is my list of favourite of new books of the year. It’s not meant to represent the “best” of 2010. Rather, it’s a completely unscientific, very subjective list of books (arranged in alphabetical … Continue reading

December 9, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Past and Present — An excerpt from Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig by Steve Heller and Elaine Lustig Cohen at Design Observer*: Lustig’s designs fluidly shift from past to present. For his early “experimental” work he … Continue reading

October 8, 2010
by Dan
1 Comment

Something for the Weekend

More Than Words — Yves Peters takes a typographical look at the winners of British Book Design and Production Awards 2010 for FontFeed. The winners all look wonderful, but, as Peters notes, it is a shame that only the publishers … Continue reading

October 1, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

There are two new books about designer Alvin Lustig available this month — Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig by Steven Heller and Elaine Lustig Cohen (Chronicle Books*) and Purity of Aim: The Book Jacket Designs of Alvin … Continue reading

April 28, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

I’m currently in Vancouver for the Raincoast Books sales conference and I was very happy to see Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig by Steven Heller and Elaine Lustig Cohen on Chronicle Books Fall 2010 list. Design:Related … Continue reading

February 22, 2010
by Dan
10 Comments

10+ Flickr Groups for Book Design and Inspiration

“10 Websites for Vintage Books, Covers and Inspiration” is one of the most popular posts on The Casual Optimist, and here, at long last, is the promised follow-up: “10 Flickr Groups for Book Design and Inspiration.” There are a lot … Continue reading

January 15, 2010
by Dan
1 Comment

Something for the Weekend

Salu, Bonjour! — The Caustic Cover Critic features the awesome work of designer Michael Salu. The typography is great. And speaking of typography… Knockout — The New York Times profile type jedis Hoefler & Frere-Jones: Sitting in their New York … Continue reading

December 9, 2009
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

Well, oh shit. Go fuck yourself — The pugnacious George Lois in BlackBook magazine: The design was the idea. I don’t design, if you know what I mean. If you want Andy Warhol being devoured by his own fame in … Continue reading

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