- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Chronicle Books; Revised edition (March 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 081180304X
- ISBN-13: 978-0811803045
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.4 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #509,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Design of Books Paperback – March 1, 1993
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
In 1967, award-winning designer Adrian Wilson wrote a seminal work on book design. It was published to enthusiastic critical acclaim, The Design of Books has since become the classic on the subject. This is a newly re-issued volume in 1993 and contains 250 outstanding design samples, many by leading international designers, accompanied by Adrian Wilson’s insightful and inspirational text. A monumental achievement, The Design of Books is a work of art in itself and an essential addition to every designer's library. This book is considered a classic on the subject of the craft of bookmaking. A practical and effective compendium of information and inspiration for the book designer, this seminal work provides professionals and students of the book in typographic design with numerous design approaches and the information necessary to prepare layouts and carry a book through the production process. Illustrated with 250 superb design samples, many from the masterpieces of leading book designers, the book presents the principles and methods essential to planning and executing the design of a wide variety of publications, including limited editions, manuals, encyclopedias, trade, and reference books. Wilson's thorough text discusses in detail every aspect of book composition – from the manuscript, layout, typography, and paper to jacket in paperback covers, binding, and printing process. This book was out of print since 1998, but the 1999 edition of The Design of Books includes a forward by Sumner Stone, which brings this classic work into the computer age. The author's spirited approach to subject can be seen in his directive to the reader in the introduction: The criterion is imaginative appropriateness – that sense of delightful surprise which draws a reader to a book and sends him out of the store or library with it under his arm, which gives the book club or mail order subscriber a glow of delight and an irresistible desire to read.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The definite article is appropriate because Adrian Wilson keeps his rules flexible and general. Wilson shows us _the_ way to design books, not merely _a_ way. He never says that one must use this font in that context, instead he explains that one must choose a font appropriate to the context and he illustrates this with an example of a book he designed. Who can argue with that? Failing to choose a font is leaving your design to chance, it is letting others do the designing for you.
Even more generally, he urges book designers to begin with rough pencil scketches of what they want the final book to look like. His point is that a designer needs to get to the big idea of his design. We find this idea in everything people make: writers outline their novel, generals put strategies ahead of tactics, inventors build protypes.
Written in 1967, this book predates computers, word processors, and the internet, but it should not be scorned. Readers will find timeless principles, not of fads, and the principles apply to anything published, be they blogs or books.
Vincent Poirier, Quebec City
No one text can possibly cover the whole range of skills in book design, at least not in any detail. This gives a quick introduction to the many concerns of the book designer. Many topics will look familiar, such as harmonious matching of different fonts and selection of layout grids. Other topics are technological, like the strengths and weaknesses of different typesetting processes. Some choices won't be available to all book designers - choice of one volume vs. three or four, or choice of binding and cover material. Yet other concerns have to do with the business of book design, estimating design jobs and working with the authors, illustrators, and others involved in the book. The coverage may be sketchy, but the whole of the design process is laid out.
The biggest problem is that the original edition came out in 1967. It predates effectively all of computer-based design. There are Jetson-like predictions of technology, though, such as the dream of Computer Composition: having typewritten text scanned (!?) automatically for typesetting. WYSIWYG never occurred to Mr. Wilson.
Beyond lack of computers, its technology is archaic in other ways. Hand typesetting is still used in limited, artisan printing, but is obsolete for all commercial books. The tools of the designer have changed, as well. The real weakness, though, is its treatment of color. Again, printing technology has made photorealistic use of color feasible in most contexts. Some of the commentary is completely up to date, though. The garish, cartoony textbooks he criticizes have, if anything, gotten worse.
There are some minor problems as well. The text makes reference to illustration 3-9, for example, which is not included in this edition. The "cover flaps" folded from the paper binding tend to get in the way. When they are the vehicle for a discussion of book design, the irony becomes annoying.
This is an outstanding introduction to the full breadth of book design issues. It has weaknesses, but was never intended to stand alone as a typographic how-to. It still complements other texts very well.