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Fully Booked: Cover Art & Design for Books Paperback – July 15, 2008
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Many prophesied that the printed book would be doomed by developments in
digital media. Far from it! The book has not only survived, but as tactile qualities
have gained significance in our increasingly digital world there is also more
unhindered experimentation with bound paper pages now than ever before. The
materiality of the medium can give sensual emphasis to complex visual and
textual content or appreciate its value. Some content isn t even apparent until it
takes the form of a real object the printed book.
Fully Booked is devoted to current cover and book design. It presents material
from printed publications that succeed in striking a crucial balance between
the market s demands for availability, legibility and durability on the one hand
and sophisticated visual and content design on the other. By featuring projects
in this experimental field that combine enormous creativity with skilled craftsmanship,
Fully Booked also reveals trends in today s graphic design.
In addition, Fully Booked presents a choice selection of artist books. Created by
hand and printed in limited editions, these publications push the boundaries of
conventional book design.
Its range of inspiring examples not only makes Fully Booked a must-have for
graphic designers, book creators and publishers, but also for every book lover.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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The editors of Fully Booked like to create the impression that books are alive and well though I thought the message was rather diluted because so many of the wonderful examples shown exist as just one copy. These artists and designers have used the medium of bound paper to create works of Art rather than beautiful examples of art run of in hundreds or thousands of copies and available to a wide audience.
Whether it's one copy or thousands there is no doubt that the pages display some quite amazing and fascinating creativity on paper. Is there one example that sums it all up? For me that would be `Your Home' by Olafur Eliasson, a nine hundred page oversize book that features various cross-sections of a house which have been laser cut into the pages so that you physically pass through the building as the pages are turned.
Other intriguing books include Susanna Berkenheger's `Time for the Bomb' which has large die-cut holes punched through many of its two hundred pages though it does seem that these eliminate lots of text. Robert The creates art by using books as objects like a gun shape stamped out from a novel, Jason Salavon cleverly uses an IKEA 2007 catalogue minus the photos and text so all that is left are 374 pages of the background color panels (yours for $500) Tank Books had the neat idea of publishing classics that fit inside flip-top cartons with clever packaging design that combines the author and title in cigarette-box style graphics.
Fully Booked is a visual feast of one edition books and others published in many copies but it is unfortunate that the book's production takes on some of the experimental design that is apparent in many of the titles illustrated. For a start the book is printed in two sections, look through the first 141 pages and then you'll have to turn the book over to look at the other 121 pages. I can't see any reason for this other than designer whimsy! There are two contributor essays filling sixteen pages throughout the book, none of them have page numbers even though one essay refers to another by page number. The illustrations are keyed to the captions with numerals set a five point light face so you'll have problems reading these in a domestic lighting environment. The middle of the book has a ten page designer index and oddly the book's imprint is part of this. All of this suggests to me that the publishers seem rather unprofessional in the way they present information to book buyers.
Apart from the lapse in some of the editorial production (so four stars) Fully Booked will amaze anyone interested in contemporary book creativity.
***SEE SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.
The styles range from understated, almost muted (as when pastels are used) to classical-like for their sense of order to striking to chaotic so one can not get any coherent sense of subject and has to figure out wording on one's own. No matter what style, however, each book has some expert, innovative, or imaginative touch or technique to distinguish it.
This large catalog illustrated with several color photographs on each spread of facing pages itself employs the innovative, rarely used technique of half the text aligned in one direction and the other half aligned in the opposite direction (as sometimes seen with the texts in two different languages in a bilingual edition of a book). Samples of the book design of the numerous artists range from a couple of six or so.
The covers of the books are like product packaging, not the routine, familiar look of the large majority of books in a bookstore or library. Some of the most interesting are covers for classics and major authors whose books remain in print over the years. These book covers can be compared with ones of past editions so that this contemporary interpretation of the particular book by graphics, images, etc., can be especially appreciated. Such covers of books by Tolstoy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Robert Louis Stevenson can get one to thinking about them in new ways. Many of the covers are engaging for their play of elements, sometimes to the point of interactivity. The cover for a book No Smoking is like a pack of cigarettes which has to be opened for the book to be drawn out. The wittiness and liveliness of many of the covers is exemplified by a design with two round eyes on the top cover and a tongue sticking out from the page edges.
It is in the inner pages of the books though where the greater degrees of innovation are seen. Not only is formatting varied by composition, typography, and graphics, but in some instances the shape customarily associated with a book (i. e., the page) is transformed to the limits. Some pages are folded to make particular sections or to contain particular material within books, sometimes with folds within folds. Some more complex fold-outs are like origami.
Not only book designers, but graphic designers, product designers, and commercial artists of all types would get sources and ideas from the hundreds of clear, detailed photographs.
My only issue with the book is that it's extremely heavy, as the paper appears to be of a heavier matte.