Book Design

The Bible of Barbecue.

I have no idea if the Tramontina Bible of  Barbecue is available or not. If it is, it has to be one of the most expensive, disposable books ever made. Created by JWT Brazil, this manual contains everything needed to grill your favorite cut of meat within it’s covers which are made of charcoal.  The promotional video below shows how the Bible of  Barbecue works with pages functioning from a fan, to a knife sharpening stone, to a salt shaker. The book itself is a wonderful piece of design, even if it exists only in small quantities or not at all. The video produced by JWT Brazil and Santa Transmedia, shows some really nice directing by Gustavo Gripe and Raul Krebs, with solid editing and sound design completing the spot. Frankly I hope this thing is for real. I’d love to have a copy for the design work alone, and yes, I would never use it the way they do in the video.

Coralie Bickford-Smith on Book Design for Gestalten.

Coralie Bickford-Smith In-house designer of Penguin Books, is the subject of this latest release for Gestalten TV. Her role as an in house designer for Penguin has allowed her to create incredible designs for a popular book series that has attracted worldwide attention.

Bickford-Smith talks about her opportunity to work with sumptuous materials and Victorian binding that she has infused with modern interpretations to update these classics. Her design work which was introduced in Gestalten’s Fully Booked: Ink on Paper show the influence of the golden age of the  craft of bookmaking and publishing.

In video below, Bickford-Smith talks about the process of book design and the significant role of research, her process, and how she got struck by the book of love at a very early age. She also talks about why the best in book design is yet to come.

An Edible Cookbook Promotion.

Korefe has designed and produced what they are calling the “First and only Cookbook you can read and eat”. With pages made from sheet pasta, that have been embossed with text, that claim might be right.

The book is made out sheets of fresh pasta which can be opened and read. The book doesn’t come with any additional ingredients, but with a little imagination you could quickly turn this into a tasty dinner. Packaged as classic lasagne, the Cookbook was designed as a special project for a large German publishing house.

This is a pretty clever promotional idea. An idea that definitely leaves an impression and remains memorable long after the book has been read and hopefully consumed. I wish there was more information at the Korefe site on the design team, but unfortunately I didn’t see anything.

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Design Friday. Netherlands Decorated Books.

Less than 100 years ago books were considered to be a luxury item in many cases. Most were still hard bound, they were still fairly expensive, and they were usually owned by individuals that had enough expendable income to afford them. I’ve always been fascinated with book design. I think part of it stems from the fact that I studied print making in art school and was in love with the idea of making hand printed books. Today when I was going through the VADS website looking for inspiration I came across one of their collections that I hadn’t been through before, the “Netherlands Decorated Books Collection”, from the London College of Communication.

These book covers represent a period of time when book cover design was an opulent in a sense. I say that because we are talking about a period when paper book jackets, were not that common, and when they were used, the printing limitations of the period tended to limit the designer. Under the jacket though, there is a world of additional design, created from debossing, and gold foil. And on the inside of the book, there are detailed fine lithographs in black and white.

This series of books from the online VADS collection contain bindings in the Nieuwe Kunst and Art Nouveau styles created by contemporary artists working in the Netherlands such as Jozef Cantre, Jan Toroop, and  P.A.H. Hofman’s designs.

P.A.H. Hofman was an important designer of stained glass and posters as well as book bindings. Hofman produced striking and accomplished binding designs which are characteristic of his own style, which was influenced by the Art Nouveau period. His works used decorative cloth bindings, a medium that had not survived the First World War in England.

In addition to Hofman, work by Jozef Cantre is heavily represented. Cantre was a Belgian artist, working in the Netherlands. In 1930 he returned to Belgium to take the position as Chair of Typography at Ecole des Beaux-Arts de la Cambre. His work prior to his return involved  producing binding designs using woodcuts.

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Stanley Kubrick in 2874 Pages, Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made

Lately I have been on this limited edition kick. Especially when it comes to books and audio-visual packaging. I’m a huge fan of Taschen, so I’m not sure how this slipped past me earlier this year but I’m glad I found it now. Unfortunately this book is sold out, but if I’m lucky maybe it will show up on ebay at a reasonable price some day.

“Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made”, was designed by MM Paris. The firm is best known for art direction and collaborations with musicians, fashion designers, and contemporary artists, including Björk, Madonna, Yohji Yamamoto, Balenciaga, Pierre Huyghe, and Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, as well as magazines including Vogue Paris, Interview, and Purple Fashion. Based on the photographs and the un-boxing video below you can see why they are held in such high regard.

This book documents Kubrick’s film on Napoleon Bonaparte. Slated for production immediately following the release of 2001 in 1968. Kubrick’s vision for the film was to present a character study of Napoleon and a sweeping epic film chronicling his rise to and fall from power. The film was to feature thousands of extras, and massive battles all shot on location. To write the screenplay for the film, Kubrick embarked on a two-year research journey that employed dozens of research assistants, and an Oxford specialist in Napoleonic history. Through painstaking research Kubrick amassed 15,000 location scouting photos, 17,000 slides of Napoleonic imagery, and took copious amounts of notes for the film. In the end M.G.M. and then United Artist decided not proceed sighting cost and production issues for such a large undertaking.

Taschen’s book, designed by MM Paris presents Kubrick’s vision of his unmade masterpiece. The book is a series of books within books, encased in a huge leather hard bound volume. Readers are presented with a selection of Kubrick’s correspondence, various costume studies, location scouting photographs, research material, script drafts, and more, each category of material in its own book. Kubrick’s final draft of the screenplay is reproduced in facsimile, and the other texts are neatly bundled into one volume where they do not interfere with the visual material. All of the individual books are nested inside of the main volume, a carved-out reproduction of a Napoleon history book.

MM Paris has done an amazing job with the design of this book. You can see why it had a $1500.00 dollar price point when you watch the video.

Click image to see the un-boxing video

Design Friday. Germano Facetti, and Penguin Classics

When I was growing up, there was always a steady flow of Penguin books that came through my house. Both my parents were voracious readers, and the steady flow of books from the library, or Walden books seemed endless. In many ways this was one of the constant sources of visual design that impacted me later in life. I really can’t deny this. These book covers are burned into my mind like ancient memories, and while they are not the only influence or even the strongest, the power is undeniable simply because I saw so many.

Italian graphic designer Germano Facetti was the head of design at Penguin Books from 1962 to 1971. A nine-year tenure that influenced the design department at Penguin for years after he left. Facetti is the subject of Design Friday today, because it was his skilled eye, and talent that shaped so many of the book covers I came in contact with as a kid.

Born in Milan in 1926 he grew up in the capital of the Italian design and fashion world. At the age of 18, he caught putting up anti-fascist posters and after a mock trial was deported to the Mauthhausen labor camp in Germany by the occupying Nazi government where he remained until he was liberated by allied forces in April of 1945. While serving time in the labor camp, he met the architect Ludovico Belgiojoso, who in 1947 invited Facetti to join his practice, where he worked until the early 1950’s.

In 1952 Facetti moved to London where he began taking evening classes in typography and design at the Central School of art and Design, eventually receiving a degree in graphic design. While attending school he continued to work in the design and publishing industry, and by 1956 he had advanced his career to become the Art Director of Aldus Book. During this period he also did side work as an interior designer in Paris. It was specifically the interior design of Soho books in Paris that caught the eye of Allen Lane, the head of Penguin books. In 1960, Lane invited Facetti to join Penguin as his lead Art Director. Facetti was instrumental in redesigning the Penguin line, introducing phototypesetting, the ‘Marber grid’, offset-lithographic printing and photography to their paperback covers.

Facetti’s work was highly influential throughout the 1960’s publishing industry. His style was often copied by the competition, and he was able to create a signature style for Penguin, including the black cover designs of Penguin Classics issued in 1963. Because of his talent and influence he was able to recruit some of the best designers of the day to work for Penguin, and probably his most important achievement while there was his ability to impose a consistently high standard of cover design.

Design Friday Part 2, How Did I Miss This?

OK this is pretty awesome, and I wish I would have found it sooner. How I missed it is beyond  me but now that I have found it I am going to use it. PDF to Book is an online application from Blurb that allows anyone to get published. The application works much like the iPhoto applications book feature on the Mac, but unlike Apple’s application you are not required to use the pre-designed templates. You can in fact upload any file that you have made into a PDF and they will print a hardbound copy of your book for you.

PDF to Book gives you full creative reign over the bookmaking process. You can make a bookstore-quality book in any of their book sizes, papers and cover types, which is pretty amazing. The thing I like about this is as a designer I have total control over the book I build, but if you are not a designer, or feel your creative skills are lacking, Blurb provides you with the tools you need to create something that looks  good.

Hard Cover prices run from just under 25 dollars to just under 75 depending on the page count, hard cover or soft, and if you get a dust jacket or not. The software works on both Windows and Macintosh computers, and the website is filled with tons of helpful tips for getting the best results out of your project.

I think I see a photo book about my trip to South Africa getting made this weekend.