Monday, July 19, 2010

Putting Some Spine Into Design

The spine of this comprehensive Italian dictionary from 1949 is striking and easy to read when the book is standing up, and stands out even on its side.

Adapted from dot-font: Talking About Design (Mark Batty Publisher)
By John D. Berry
Dateline: April 2, 2007

Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover, but in a bookstore we judge most of them first by their spines. For most new books—not the ones lying out on tables or prominently displayed with their covers out, but the ones lining the shelves—the spine is all we see. The beautiful, dramatic cover, upon which great effort and sometimes even expense may have been lavished, never gets seen if a browsing bookbuyer doesn’t reach out and pull the book oV the shelf to take a look.

You might expect, given this cruel dynamic of the marketplace, that book publishers, and the designers of dustjackets and paperback covers for those publishers, would devote a lot of attention to what the spine looks like. But it seems to be the rare designer who gives the question much thought at all. Read more...

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