The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

April 13, 2017
by Dan
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Australian Book Design Awards 2017 Shortlist

The Australian Book Design Association just announced their Shortlist (PDF) for the 65th Australian Book Design Awards. Happily (if somewhat implausibly), I was asked to be the international judge this year (you can read about the other, imminently more qualified judges, here). As a … Continue reading

April 12, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note April 2017

This edition of ‘book covers of note’ is brought to you entirely by Gray318 who designed the covers of all the books published this month. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but Jon did design FOUR of the covers on my list — all … Continue reading

April 8, 2017
by Dan
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Elena Ferrante Covers Designed by Angelo Bottino

The covers of the Anglo-American editions of Elena Ferrante’s novels published by Europa Editions have been… well, controversial to say the least (read an interview with the art director about their “kitsch” quality here). The Australian editions of Ferrante’s Neapolitan … Continue reading

March 16, 2017
by Dan
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Design Canada Documentary

Greg Durrell of Canadian design firm Hulse&Durrell, and Jessica Edwards and Gary Hustwit of Film First are putting together a documentary about Canadian graphic design: The project is currently on Kickstarter. There are a couple of weeks to go and they are … Continue reading

March 9, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note March 2017

Holy smokes! There are a lot of good covers this month! Feast your eyes on March’s book covers of note: Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay; cover art by Sean Qualls (Penguin / March 2017) The Book of Greek and Roman … Continue reading

March 3, 2017
by Dan
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Books

Modern Toss (This is a little too close to the bone)

March 3, 2017
by Dan
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ABCD Award Winners 2017

The winners of the annual Academy of British Cover Design (ABCD) Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony London in last night. The dashing Danny Arter has a posted a full report on the proceedings at The Bookseller. You can see all … Continue reading

February 28, 2017
by Dan
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Back to Futura

Vox takes a lighthearted look at the history of Futura, “the font that escaped the Nazis and landed on the moon”: 

February 23, 2017
by Dan
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Alan Aldridge 1943-2017

British artist and designer Alan Aldridge died last week aged 73. In the words of designer Mike Dempsey, Aldridge “was a major influence on the British design and illustration scene in the 1960’s.” Although he is perhaps best known for … Continue reading

February 22, 2017
by Dan
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Dick Bruna 1927-2017

Dutch illustrator and designer Dick Bruna died last week, aged 89. Much of the coverage has focused on Miffy, the picture book rabbit he created in the 1950’s, but as The Guardian obituary notes, he was also well known as a book … Continue reading

February 13, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note February 2017

A little later than usual — between one thing and the apocalypse — but there are some great covers out this month, including at least one contender for cover of the year: The Bear and the Serpent by Adrian Tschaikovsky; … Continue reading

February 9, 2017
by Dan
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Goudy & Syracuse: The Tale of a Typeface Found

The tale of rediscovering Sherman, a typeface designed by American type designer Frederic Goudy in 1910 and revived by Chester Jenkins for Pentagram in 2016 for Syracuse University:

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