Book Design

Logo Modernism from Taschen.

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailpngOver the last seven years, Jens Müller has been collecting and compiling modern logos created from 1940 to 1980. As Müller puts it, this was the golden age of the modernist aesthetic in design, architecture, art, product design. And to a point he is right. Some of the most visually memorable brand marks and logos come from this four decade period. Müller’s collection is what makes up the content of Aachen’s 6000 page tome  Logo Modernism.

The book covers pretty much every business and organization of note, and represents a sweeping retrospective modernism and how the style changed over time. Broken into specific sections the book’s main chapters cover Geometric, Effect, and Typographic. Each sub-chapter breaks down each style even further into sections such as dots and squares, overlays, alphabet, color, etc.The book features an introduction from Jens Müller on the history of logos, and an accompanying essay by R. Roger Remington on modernism and graphic design. In addition there are series of designer profiles on masters of the craft Paul Rand, Yusaku Kamekura, and Anton Stankowski focusing on their legendary work.

In typical Taschen heritage, the book is physically huge. at 10 by 14 inches in size and 432 pages of content. And as always from Taschen, the book is multilingual. It’s available for pre-order and this just made my list of books to add to the reference library. Oh and it’s affordable. Just $69.00 on the Taschen site.

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Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

Nothing gets me going more then when multiple thing I am interested in come together at the same time. For instance, Graphic Design, Film, Automotive Design, and Industrial Design. In this case it is one of the latest books from Gestalten, the topic, and the support film released on their website.

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!  is a record of limited edition, history making vehicles, and industrial design finessed into rolling art. All of this is packaged in a beautifully designed book that is filled with show stopping photography, type, and page layouts. Jared Zaugg and the team at Bonhams have put together a book that gives the reader a true sense of the intensity of true automobile culture, representing it in a large format designed to showcase the forms and details of these classics.

The short video below is a wonderfully shot and edited piece that highlights the contributors to the book, the cars themselves, and the the content that fills the pages. With each short film they release the crew at Gestalten gets better and better at their craft. The video itself really does a fantastic job of selling the story behind the book, and the book itself.

“The book features a selection of models that go far beyond mere technical stats and gleaming chrome. Rather, they all offer something far more valuable: compelling stories. These include the rare and uniquely configured Lamborghini Miura SV Coupe purchased by rock star Rod Stewart. Or the Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe from 1937 that, after the owner’s death, was rediscovered by his family sitting exactly as he left it nearly a half-century earlier. All the big names are included, but the focus is on what can be found behind the logos and the polished surfaces.”


“Criterion Designs”, Thirty Years of Movie History in 300 Pages.


For more than three decades, The Criterion Collection has released a steady stream of important classic and contemporary films. The Criterion Collection has been dedicated to collecting films from around the world and offering them in editions that feature high technical quality and award winning stories and content.


The Criterion Collection which began in 1984 started by offering laserdisc’s and VHS tape, moved to DVD, Blue-ray and now online streaming. With that they have amassed a massive collection of promotional and packaging materials which are now being offered in a lavish coffee table book.


The book features an illustrated look behind the scenes, that includes sketches, mockups, mood boards and reference materials, all pulled from the The Criterion Collection‘s in-house design department’s archives. The book was the brain child of Criterion Art Director Sarah Habibi and Staff Designer Eric Skillman, who assembled 300 pages of material into a hardbound visual feast creating a lush tactile experience for the true movie fan.


For me this is a must have book. It is a beautifully designed archive of thirty years of visual history, that documents changing styles, influences, and trends, from the movie industry and graphic design world.




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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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