The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

March 1, 2015
by Dan
0 comments

Paul Rand, Master of Brand Identity

At the New York Times, Ken Johnson reviews Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand, a new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York: Considering the punchy, wildly inventive covers he created in the 1950s for books by Henry … Continue reading

August 15, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Logocentrism: Jessica Helfand on Paul Rand

Paul Rand’s classic 1947 essay Thoughts on Design is being re-published next month by Chronicle Books, and Design Observer has just reposted a wonderful essay by Jessica Helfand on Rand, originally published in The New Republic in 1997: Looking back on his prolific career, it is paradoxical … Continue reading

April 3, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Good Design is Good Business

Good Design is Good Business is a beautiful Tumblr archive of hi-res IBM visuals, compiled by Sue, an New York-based art director at Ogilvy for IBM. (via Quipsologies)

September 4, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

Paul Rand’s Book Jackets and Covers

Steven Heller’s fascinating School of Visual Arts lecture on the book covers of Paul Rand: (via David Pearson)

May 4, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

Scripts: Elegant Lettering from Design’s Golden Age — new from Steven Heller and Louise Fili, published by Thames & Hudson. 50/50 — Designer Andrew Henderson, curator of Lovely Book Covers, is going to spend 50 days designing 50 covers based … Continue reading

April 19, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

100 x 100: IBM Centennial Film

Moving chronologically from the oldest person to the youngest, 100 x 100 features one hundred people presenting the achievements of IBM recorded in the year they were born. The film gives a brief history of the company and features — … Continue reading

March 1, 2011
by Dan
1 Comment

Q & A with David Drummond, Salamander Hill Design

“I haven’t changed my mind about modernism from the first day I ever did it…. It means integrity; it means honesty; it means the absence of sentimentality and the absence of nostalgia; it means simplicity; it means clarity. That’s what … 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

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

January 26, 2011
by Dan
4 Comments

Mendelsund vs. Kafka

Peter Mendelsund on his remarkable (and unexpectedly Paul Rand-like) Kafka redesigns for Knopf imprint Schocken: After all, what is it that makes Kafka, Kafka? The economy; the dark humor; the teasing inscrutability; the brilliance of the thought-experiments; the hieratic and … 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

June 19, 2009
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend, June 19th, 2009

50/50 — AIGA announce their 50 Books/50 Covers of 2008. Included in the fifty is the cover of Kenneth Hayes’ Milk and Melancholy designed by Toronto’s Underline Studio (pictured above). Gxuu! — Linguist Arika Okrent, author of In the Land … Continue reading

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