Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spine Design

My students are in the process of completing final text tweaks on the interior pages of their books and will soon begin work on the dust jackets. Not only do they design the front cover, but they produce the entire book jacket including the narrow spine. So often the spine is the only noticeable element of the book on a shelf, and it stands to reason it should be a compelling design. Spines come in all width, sizes and styles, but they typically include the book title, author and the publishers name and mark. It can be a challenge to include all three of these elements within the spine's narrow confine, but I encourage students to consider this an opportunity to be playful with typography and color on occasion. Ultimately, they must honor and interpret their author's work in the context it deserves.

At some point I hope to post photos of student's book covers along with some their interior page designs which are coming along quite nicely. Meanwhile I am including photos of various styles of traditional book spines. The first two images are from the recently published Penguin Classics series which are stamped linen cloth bindings designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith. The next is a series of The Penguin Poets paperbacks (try to say that three times) which consist of lovely patterns in their own right. They were designed in the 60s and 70s by Stephen Russ, who trained with Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious at the Royal College of Art in the 1930's. Following this is a set of handtooled leather-bound Korans, a number of ornate stamped cloth bindings most likely from the 1920s and 30s, and several other series including the Little Golden Books with patterned foil spines.

Book Spines
little golden books
Book end

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