The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

November 7, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

Nabokov’s 1964 Playboy Interview

Longform has posted a Playboy interview with Vladimir Nabokov from January 1964: When I remember afterwards the force that made me jot down the correct names of things, or the inches and tints of things, even before I actually needed … Continue reading

March 23, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

Something (Late) for the Weekend

Enjoy Your Cigarette — Tom Cox reviews Penguin’s Underground Lines boxed set for The Guardian: Underground Lines often matches its writers to its tracks very well, in terms of temperament as well as personal history. The Jubilee line, so often associated with … Continue reading

November 13, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Lip Service

The most recent cover of Playboy is, as some have been quick to point out, reminiscent of John Gall’s original cover design for the Vintage edition of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, reissued in 2005. John’s design is more subtle than … Continue reading

March 9, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Imprint talks to John Bertram about his Recovering Lolita project: For obvious reasons, of course, [Lolita] remains as controversial a novel as it was a half century ago, if not more so. And, probably helped along by Kubrick’s breezy film, … Continue reading

November 21, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Fictions | Peter Mendelsund

Knopf designer Peter Mendelsund has just posted the second of his meditations on designing book covers for fiction: When setting out to design a book jacket for a work of fiction, whether we are aware of it or not, we … Continue reading

November 3, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Mendelsund on Lolita

Knopf book designer Peter Mendelsund has written a fascinating essay on cover design and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: Book jackets these days, for reasons I won’t unpack, seem to revel, overtly, in wit, conceptual deviousness, unusual clever or droll juxtapositions — we, … Continue reading

January 10, 2011
by Dan
3 Comments

Q & A with John Gall

John Gall is Vice President and Art Director for Vintage/Anchor Books, an instructor at the School of Visual Arts, and the author Sayonara Home Run! The Art of the Japanese Baseball Card. Previously Art Director at Grove/Atlantic, Gall has been … Continue reading

July 2, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Dieter Rams book by graphic design graduate Daniel Bartha: This project was a book I created around the ten most important principles for what Dieter Rams considered was good design. Taking on board these elements myself, I took away as … Continue reading

December 16, 2009
by Dan
3 Comments

Midweek Miscellany

Eye, Eye! — The Creative Review looks at the vibrant work of printing studio/small press Nobrow. It’s an Anagram! — Indigo’s e-book initiative Shortcovers has become ‘Kobo’. Much fuss has been made about the name (and the slightly iffy redesign), … Continue reading

November 11, 2009
by Dan
1 Comment

Midweek Miscellany, November 11th 2009

The Nabokov Collection — Art Director John Gall on the Vintage Nabokov redesign at Design Observer: Nabokov was a passionate butterfly collector, a theme that has cropped up on some of his past covers. My idea was also a play … Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: