The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

July 30, 2014
by Dan
1 Comment

Vintage Shorts Designed by Joan Wong

Vintage Books (US) recently announced Vintage Shorts, a series of stories, excerpts and other short pieces exclusively available as eBooks. The bold, geometric ‘covers’ were designed by the talented Joan Wong. And, in case you were wondering, the typeface is Agenda, designed by Greg … Continue reading

August 20, 2013
by Dan
4 Comments

Joost Swarte: Tumult in the Book World

This wonderful illustration by Dutch cartoonist Joost Swarte accompanied a discussion on traditional bookstores in the digital marketplace in last Sunday’s New York Times.

January 9, 2013
by Dan
4 Comments

Midweek Miscellany

Ghost Shapes — Writer Warren Ellis talks comics and, very briefly, his new novel Gun Machine at Robot Six: Gun Machine is as much about the ghost shape of Manhattan’s previous settlements and roadways as it is about its modern architecture, … Continue reading

August 7, 2012
by Dan
2 Comments

Chip Kidd on the Future of Book Covers

Billy Batson Chip Kidd, associate art director at publisher Alfred A. Knopf (as if you didn’t know), talks to NPR’s Weekend Edition about the future of book cover design: NPR WEEKEND EDITION: In the E-Book World, Are Book Covers a Dying Art?

July 9, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

New On Your E-Reader…

Used book simulation… By Tom Gauld of course…

May 18, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Chris Ware’s astonishing cover for Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature by Philip Nel. See the full thing in detail here. A free interactive e-book about British artist … Continue reading

May 16, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

The excellent Art of the Title looks at the opening sequences to Anatomy of a Murder and Bunny Lake is Missing by Saul Bass. Just Getting Started — Bill Moran on the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, … Continue reading

May 9, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

Lyra Kilston reviews Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design for the LA Review of Books. The Well-Made Book — An interesting article by Michael Agresta on how printed books, and their design, are changing in the digital age: … Continue reading

April 27, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Sturm und Drang — Author Nick Harkaway (Angelmaker and the forthcoming The Blind Giant: Being Human in a Digital World) on Amazon and the publishing industry for The Guardian: The most thunderous argument in Amazon’s favour is that the market has spoken, and demands cheaper … Continue reading

February 15, 2012
by Dan
2 Comments

E-Books Can’t Burn

Author Tim Parks has an interesting post on the virtues of e-books on the NYRB blog: The e-book, by eliminating all variations in the appearance and weight of the material object we hold in our hand and by discouraging anything … Continue reading

January 16, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Chabon by Connie Gabbert

These stunning Michael Chabon covers are the work of Oregon-based designer Connie Gabbert. Although evocative in some way of faded ink, old-time letterpress, silkscreened posters and linocuts illustrations, interestingly these designs will never see actually see print themselves. Connie knew … Continue reading

November 9, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

Expanded Original — Geoff Dyer, author of Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, on Penguin Modern Classics and the paintings used on their covers: The use of different paintings meant each book was a “modern classic” in its own particular … Continue reading

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