Oh- and one more thing...

(I know. Steve Jobs OWNS that expression.)

In any case, immediately after publishing that last post, this thing below arrived in the mail. It's my good pal Jason Fulford's contribution to EXPOSURE magazine. Jason and I spent a day together this summer taking photos and recording weird music. Here, on Track 2 of a flexidisk, a recording of me torturing a serial tone-row on the piano.



I've been writing a bit.

Not for this blog—but, rather, for various extra-curricular projects I've been juggling.

It occurs that I should post some excerpts from the various pieces here on Jacket Mechanical—as a method of sharing my thoughts, and more importantly, as a method for clarifying my thoughts before these pieces get sent off to their destinations. Often I find that the moment I click "publish" on a blog post, some fresh insight will arise concerning the very thing I was posting about. Of course in the digital universe, making changes after publishing something is no trouble at all; in the real world of ink-on-paper, it's all a tad more complex.

So, in the hope that sharing some of my thinking on this blog will bring some new intelligibility to said thinking: prepare ye for a hefty dose o' prose ... coming your way in the ensuing weeks.

(As I mentioned: these posts will be excerpts. In Installment One I will wrestle with Lolita and its jackets; In installment Two I will begin to unpack the jacket designing process for works of fiction; and Installment Three— well, let's not get ahead of ourselves.)

In the meantime—a handful of new and new-ish jackets:


What a remarkable book. The story of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study and the pursuit of the theoretical universal machine. From Pantheon. This one is off to the printer fairly soon (comping up the jacket involved me, in our printer room, weilding a hammer, a hand held tin stamp, and a whole lot of apologies for the racket). There will be a (better made) die-cut jacket and a pre-printed case.

The new Jens Lapidus's (Easy Money is out now; the other two are to come soon)

This series of jackets was generated by my wondering what a QVC, a Home Shopping Network of blunt-force instruments might look like.

NB: I convinced the powers-that-be to go with the old "Mötley Crüe" diacritical treatment of the copy here. My reasoning was, the title of the second book in the series, which translates as "Never Fuck Up" wouldn't fly with the chains. So what if we retained the original Swedish word "Fukka"? The diacriticals were a natural result of that first decision.

Unfortunately EASY MONEY in Swedish is "SNABBA CASH" and that wasn't ever in the running for an English title (though it hasn't precluded me and others at Knopf from using this expression. Often. Example: "How does the publishing establishment feel about the advent of ebooks? Snabba Cash?").

And this next one is VERY EXCITING—
as it is a new story collection from the much beloved Charles Yu, author of
Here with the spine:

Here's Ingo Schulze's re-telling of the Adam and Eve story;
set during the fall of communism in Eastern Europe...

John Berger.
Nuff said. (un-coated, stamped case wrap- no jacket)
Sorry the scan is so crappy.

The end of the Black Jacks ...Volume SEVENTEEN for chrissakes:

Another Tezuka...(this one has a two inch spine. it is MASSIVE)

A book on the, er, piano...(foilstamped) The colors all match my Mason & Hamelin's.

Another Tezuka...

Some oldies- from August and September. Can't remember if i posted these...?

Why humans maintain an irrationally positive outlook on life (humans—but not this human):

Freud does blow. I printed this with a matte UV finish. Those
of you in the know will remember that when you print with
a gritty matte lamination on a black surface it leaves a white powdery residue,
which is to say that this jacket is more fun in the real world then it is on screen.
(Don't try snorting the Matte UV please...)

Stories from Adam Ross of MR. PEANUT fame:
The first Sandor Marai I've ever worked on that isn't a teeny trim size....
The Yale University Press paperback of Nick Fox Weber's Knopf hardcover

There are many, many (too many?) more—but I've run out of time to post.

See you all soon,


Steve Jobs was a designer first, CEO second.

"His focus on the little things like the 'space between different letter combinations' was a constant from the development of the Macintosh to the iPhone, which was released more than 20 years later.
This is what separated Mr. Jobs, as a chief executive, from everyone else."

I wish I could send this, the article above, to all my design clients- if only to point out that a good design, whatever its intended use, is an aggregation of many small decisions- each one as important as the next. The resulting design is no more or less than the sum of these decisions. Each choice, no matter how seemingly insignificant, matters.

I've come to realize that many people seem to subscribe to the view that there is such a thing as "a design" which exists in the abstract— platonically; independent of its component parts. This belief in turn gives rise to the misapprehension that changing a design (a bigger font here, a different color there, a change in layout) does not, in fact, make for a different design altogether. "We're keeping the design," I'm told, "but we want some changes." Such a thing isn't possible. These details are the design.

All of which is to say: the bevel on that power indicator matters. The size and placement of that typeface matter. That color matters. It all, in fact, matters.

It is exactly these "details" that separate products we tolerate from those we love.


As a postlude to that last entry:

Sam Potts designed covers for Stephen Jay Gould's oeuvre in February for Harvard University Press. See what i meant about a collective unconscious? Either that, or this is one of them "memes" you read about...
Egregiously late to the party, as ever, but:

Well, not exactly no one, but few people anyway.

Case in point: Did you know that the son of G.E. Moore (my favorite of the Cantabrigian analytic philosophers**) was a poet? Did you know that he, Nicholas Moore, pseudonymously published translations of Baudelaire's Spleen? Oh SURE you did. I for one, did not.

There are many fun obscurities here*

Some writers are better known than others. Clarice Lispector, for instance,  ("resurrected" by New Directions; actually, the fantastic Ben Moser already "resurrected" her thank you very much) is having some volumes re-released- here designed by the amazing Paul Sahre:

Interestingly, I've been talking about designing a series in which all the covers, collectively comprise a single head, for years- and now, in a single year, two such series have appeared (Cardon's Oliver Sacks's and Paul's Lispectors) it just goes to show that there is, indeed, a collective design unconscious. (unless, of course, Cardon and Paul have been reading my dream journals which i wouldn't put past either of them).

I love the design of this New Directions series, with its restrained palette, beyond measure. My jealousy makes me want to kill Paul Sahre, burn his crops, and sow the earth with salt. But I mean that in a good way. Hi Paul!

* the blog in question is brought to you by, among others, 50 Watts
** Who else are you going to warm to? Wittgenstein? Russell? Please.