I recently made the decision to expand this blog from simply talking about writing to talking about stories. Stories told in film, in images, and – most often – in words. Though many of you know that my academic field of study was art history, what you may not know is that I specifically study book history, which (for me) includes techniques of book creation, and the book as art. I love Early American books the best: hand-printed manuscripts on hand-made paper, pressed into a hand-built machine and gifted with words by hand-carved type bearing hand-made ink. How is that not an art?
While the evolution of book history means that the construction of most books has been industrialized (for large print runs, though there are still amazing artists making hand-crafted books, and I’ll talk more about them later) and even removed as we move into digital reading, the two places that you can still find art in a book are in the font choices, and in the cover. Some books go farther and incorporated art and design into the layout, but even the most minimal of interiors uses a font, and probably has a cover.
Book cover design is its own kind of art. It can be, when done well, its own kind of beautiful. Here are a couple of resources to get you introduced to the possibilities:
The Book Cover Archive, “for the appreciation and categorization of excellence in book cover design”. Not only do they post their favorite new book covers, but they also offer up a blog about book design news (it doesn’t update often but I love the very visual aspect of their posts). The whole site is built around the visual so you won’t get too much design discussion but they 1300+ pages of material to scroll through give you an immersion into cover design that can’t be beat. Continue reading