Book Design

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