Stagger onward rejoicing

Tag: book design (page 1 of 1)

Man, Moon, Book

My family gave me a wonderful Christmas present: the Folio Society edition of Andrew Chaikin’s A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts. In chronological terms, Chaikin’s book basically picks up where Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff left off, but Chaikin is the anti-Wolfe: restrained and businesslike, rather than flamboyant and hilarious. Still, he tells the story well, and this edition is magnificently complemented by dozens and dozens of perfectly-chosen photographs. What a delight. 

And, like many Folio Society editions — I have about a dozen of them — this book prompts me to reflect on what an extraordinary thing a book can be. When a book is well-written, well-edited, well-designed, well-printed and bound, so many skills have been practiced at a high level, from journalistic research to paper-making to photographic reproduction, that it amounts to a genuine Gesamtkunstwerk. To me, few things are as beautiful as a beautiful book. 

Also, you have to love the fact that the book’s text is set in Adrian Frutiger’s Apollo, with Futura for display. 

P.S. I ended up finally reading Tono-Bungay because, at a bookstore in Austin, I found a beautiful old Heritage Press edition of the novel for eight bucks! Perfect condition first edition from 1960. 

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It even included the Heritage Press newsletter that accompanied its books: 

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A delightful way to read an outstanding novel. 

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Nora S. Unwin (1907-1982), engravings from Joseph; the King James Version of a Well-loved Tale, arranged with an introduction by her friend and frequent collaborator Elizabeth Yates, and printed and bound by the Plimpton Press in 1947 for Alfred A. Knopf in America and the Ryerson Press in Canada. From the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Special Collections

I saw this lovely old thing at a friend’s house the other day. 

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I was a teenager working in a bookstore when this book, with this cover, came out. One day a lady came up to me and asked, “Do you have Billy Graham’s book Angels Angels Angels Angels Angels?”

This is what book covers should look like.

Not many publishers these days are doing interesting things with the design and presentation of Bibles, but one that is — and doing really interesting things — is Crossway Books and Bibles. They have worked hard to create a great variety of ways for people to encounter the Bible translation they commissioned, the very fine English Standard Version [ESV].

Above you’ll see images of two new releases: first, an absolutely lovely volume of the Psalms, on thick cream paper with beautiful typography and design; and second, a “Reader’s Bible,” also designed with great skill, that omits verse numbers and lays out the text for extended undistracted reading.

Sure, the Psalter is larger than you’re used to — that’s the price you pay (and for many readers, including me, it’s a price worth paying) for that beautiful thick paper. Conversely, the paper of the Reader’s Bible is rather thin — but that’s the price you pay for getting the whole Bible in a package the size of a fairly large but not enormous novel.

Congratulations to Crossway for raising the bar for Bible design. And by the way, if you’re interested in this kind of thing, check out The Bible Design Blog.


Gamma, 1963

two ways of displaying Plain Words


Fantastic Mr Fox, 1970