Tag Archives: book designs

Giorgia Lupi tells her life story using hand-stitched data

The project, titled Book Of Life, was created for the Moleskine Foundation and is made from three notebooks that Lupi disassembled and then stitched back together into an accordion-esque book. She then set about adding a single white stitch for every day of her life since birth, adding second stitches in coloured thread to mark out milestones.

A colour code, shown at the start of the book, offers a guide to the significant moments the designer chose to mark. Yellow stands for a life achievement, red for love, pink for world events that had a significant impact on Lupi, and blue for big trips. Black and red crosses mark out losses and breakups, respectively.

“At the time I was about to turn 40 and I decided to use the notebooks to reflect on my life so far … I wanted to capture the totality of my life in paper and thread – both key events that I felt were pivotal to the trajectory of my life, and the mundane of the day-to-day.”

Science you can eat

Originally published in 1972, this Vicki Cobb classic was due for an update and redesign. This 256-page hands-on book of edible experiments makes it easy for kids to have fun with science. We were responsible for the design and illustration of the book from the typography system, the structure and layout of the experiments, to the informative technical illustrations, to the colorful chapter openers. We used a limited 2-color palette paired with modern, icon-driven illustrations to help take this book to a new generation of readers.

Find out more https://carpentercollective.com/project/science-experiment-book/

Tad Carpenter Sunday Sun

The American designer has spent the last six years drawing, painting, stitching or sculpting a sun every Sunday – and his work is collected in a book dedicated to his ongoing experiment.

“As a human, I was feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, off, all of the emotional catchphrases you can think of, insert them here,” he remembers. “All was going great, yet I was not feeling like myself and I didn’t know why exactly.”

After an especially long week, one Sunday morning Carpenter says he couldn’t get to sleep and went to his studio to watch the sun come up. He started thinking about all the times, as a child, he was sent off to go and play – whether colouring in, building a fort or reading a book – and decided to designate a specific time each week to “just play”.

He knew he needed some kind of structure, and after deciding to take the sun as a recurring motif for the project has since designed dozens of different kinds – from stitched pennants and papier maché helmets, to typographic expressions and hand-drawn illustrations.

Sunday Suns, which is published by Counter-Print, brings together his efforts, placing them alongside essays written by Carpenter exploring his thoughts on creativity and life as a designer.

“It has thoroughly given me a sense of clarity. However, maybe the most important and unexpected aspect of this self-reflective experiment is how these little suns have provided hope to others.”

Sunday Suns is published by Counter-Print; counter-print.co.ukcarpentercollective.com

Collins Modern Classics gives some much-loved books a new look

These new editions bring a fresh set of covers to well-known titles, wrapping them in clashing two-colour palettes and featuring graphics inspired by the contents of each title.

Jo Thomson, deputy art director at 4th Estate and William Collins, says the art department was briefed to create jackets that would look nothing like other classic book editions, but still be timeless enough to stand apart from current trends.

Drawing on her love of typography, Thomson began playing around with designs that used huge lettering and decorative fonts, paired together with graphic images or photos. The real breakthrough for the design came when she shifted the authors’ names away from the centre of the cover and off to one side – allowing the type and imagery to do the heavy lifting. The graphics have also been given a print grain filter to add some extra texture.

Each book has its own unique colour palette, with Jung Chang’s Wild Swans wrapped in mint green and neon red, and Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides enjoying a forest green and bubblegum pink.

“One of the key things that we wanted to do was open these books up to people who haven’t read them before,” Thomson. “For books that are older, we wanted to give them a new lease of life with a cover that’s more vibrant and modern than previous classics have been.”

Best book cover designs of 2020

During the eight months since the UK declared the first of its nationwide lockdowns, writers have still written, publishers have still published and book designers have continued to produce an ever-varied range of covers for new titles. Yet there’s no denying that, as with pretty much every job in every sector across the country, the worlds of design and publishing have had to change and adapt accordingly throughout most of 2020.

A new book is celebrating Norman Ives’ deconstructed designs

Ives experimented with forms, techniques and materials ranging from painting and silk screen prints to murals, sculpture and bas-reliefs. His personal work also encompassed fascinating collage work, and he was a “graphic pioneer” of layering according to Heller.

Ives died in 1978 before the “the wall separating applied from pure art disciplines” had “cracked and shattered in as many places as they have today”, according to Steven Heller, who writes the book’s foreword. He believes that, had Ives lived longer into the 80s and 90s, his work may have been recognised more so along the lines of well-known artists whose practice is closely linked to type and lettering such as Barbara Kruger.

Among Ives’ commercial graphic design work featured in the book are various creations that demonstrate his curious eye for slotting letterforms into complex geometric forms, whether his labyrinthine logomark for BT: Bank, or a densely layered cover design for AIGA journal in the early 70s.

The book’s section on graphic design opens with an excerpt from an essay written by Ives himself in a 1960 volume of Industrial Design journal, where he muses on the limitations imposed on graphic designers, saying that these pave the way for ingenuity: “Restrictions are present wherever products are mass-produced – and they are necessary and desirable. It takes an ingenious and dedicated designer to overcome them or use them to advantage”.

Norman Ives: Constructions and Reconstructions is published by PowerHouse Books, priced $65; powerhousebooks.com

Vasava uses hand-drawn type to reimagine children’s classics

Barcelona-based agency Vasava takes a trip down memory lane by reimagining classic children’s book covers in a bid to encourage a new generation of readers.

Some of the titles Vasava has renewed, such as Treasure Island and Around the World in 80 Days, are books less popular with kids today, so the agency adopted an eye-catching concept. “We incorporated illustrations into the lettering, creating vignettes, which would act as a visual synopsis for each novel,” says the studio. “The comic book style was paired with bright colour palettes to create a happy and inviting collection of books that any kid would proudly display on their bookshelf.”

Cover for Alice in Wonderland

Each title has its own lettering which hints towards the story within, such as Peter Pan’s flowing type that makes the reader think of pirate flags and Wendy’s old-fashioned nighty. To really bring the covers to life though, Vasava took a detailed approach when deciding what the illustrations should contain and they started by highlighting the key characters, locations and objects from each of the novels. 

Cover for Peter Pan

The collection of covers pop with vibrant, clashing colours and are crammed with intricate illustrations. What ties the whole series together is the vintage treatment of each title, reinforcing the idea of the books as literary classics.

Cover for Jungle Book
Cover for The Wizard of Oz

The Testaments

It’s been 35 years since the release of Margaret Atwood’s seminal tome The Handmaid’s Tale. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize, the novel paints a vivid picture of a modern day America that has been transformed into the totalitarian state of Gilead: a patriarchial, Puritan society where fertile women are forced to produce offspring for childless couples.

There is one central element of The Testaments’ plot that is alluded to with its distinctive cover design by Noma Bar: two of the book’s narrators are believed to be Offred’s daughters (the first of which was snatched from her and raised by a Commander family, while the younger girl was born during the course of her escape from Gilead).

Bar’s brief from the publisher was to create a contrasting image of the two sisters seen on the front and back covers, playing up to the fact that they are in wholly different situations, locations and circumstances. While the front cover bears a generic resemblance to his design for The Handmaid’s Tale cover, featuring the handmaids’ distinctive cloak and bonnet, the back cover depicts a girl that would be recognisable to most of us today, wearing earrings and her hair tied up.

“The main thing I wanted to do was to show the parallel worlds and lives of the two girls by reflecting and mirroring the sisters,” says Bar. “We chose the design as a double cover as I wanted to highlight the two characters’ presence – it’s not about one sister, it’s about two worlds.”