A nice nod from over yonder at Readerville...

MOST COVETED COVERS

by D.G. Strong

As I’ve related before, one of the things that I look for in a jacket design is some sort of evidence that the designer is familiar with the text. Or in this case, the life. Peter Mendelsund, who knocked this one out between who knows how many other masterpieces, seems to have Le Corbusier in his blood because he gets all of this exactly right. Right down to the typeface used for the title, which appeared on Le C’s blueprints and what?—headstone, maybe? And all of those grids and divisions and golden rectangles and fiddledy bits and whatnot ... oh, it’s all so worked out it almost could have been lifeless. But it isn’t; it’s literally colorful, just like you hope any biography will turn out to be. Things repeat: the narrow photo strip at the top is echoed by that little white crosshatch on the right. And things are lined up: the diagonal of the black slant points right at his eye. It’s almost more architectural than it is graphic. You almost expect to find out that it’s based on a building plan. I’d certainly walk right in.

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A CHRISTMAS PRESENT I JUST RECEIVED, MADE BY THE GREAT FRENCH DESIGNER PAUL COX, GIVEN TO ME BY HIS SISTER-IN-LAW:

Which, on the face of it, is a sweet little diary. It's not until one looks inside...

that one's heart sinks a little...hilarious! It goes on like this through 2055.

ETHER

SOME PICS OF A 12" VINYL PROJECT I JUST COMPLETED FOR THE BAND ETHER...







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John Updike likes Albertus. A lot. He insists upon it. He mandates its use. He brooks no refusal and tolerates no substitutes. He is Albertus' fan-numero-uno. Albertus plus John Updike equals forever.

Here, on his latest book jacket, Carol Carson makes Albertus look...quite unexpectedly...great?! It is a remarkable feat of alchemical transmutation. How is this accomplished? Color has something to do with it- kerning, leading. Also contributing: good old-fashioned taste, and ever-cyclical Fashion itself; which insists that everything, even awkward, ungainly, dated Albertus, must eventually return to favor.

As Uppy himself has noted : "A good cover should be a bit recessive in its art, leading us past the cover into the book itself." I begrudgingly admit that he is on to something, though I would say the word "recessive" carries with it the taint of timidity. The art on display here from Carol is, rather, subtle. Despite the very components she's been given to work with, she has concocted something lovely indeed. Something that doesn't shout "design," but is, rather, an exemplary example of it.

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A generous gift- from a friend in Japan




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More from the home-shelves...


IT'S ALWAYS NICE TO DISCOVER AN ICONIC PIECE OF GRAPHIC DESIGN ON YOUR OWN BOOKSHELVES. Thanks to Helen Yentus (who reads Russian) and Jason Booher (who is a design-history buff) I learn that this little book of mine is the work of Gustav Klutsis and Valentina Kulagina, creators of some of the most well-known works of Russian Constructivism. I'd show you more, but the pages are uncut!


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OLDER ENTRIES