An educator bloogging about graphic design.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Black Beauty

BlackBeautyPackI remember this book from my elementary school library, and the design inspiration is from my childhood too. The full-bleed photography and Cooper Black / Hevetica Neue typography is circa 1975. Put on your bell bottoms and aviator sunglasses to listen to this classic book in audio format. It sort of looks like it could be a John Denver album.

Click on the cover to download a PDF of the entire package design including tray card, insert, and CD face label. The audio files are available for free download here. Have a nice day.

Giddyup and get to burning a free CD for your favorite little horse lover!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Waste Land

WasteLandPackHere’s my design for T.S. Elliott’s The Waste Land. It’s clean and simple in black and white. Click on the graphic to download a printable PDF of the entire package. The images are from Baltar at stock.chng, who allows his work to be used without permission. All credits are in the small print on the back of the tray card.

The typeface is Trajan, designed by Carol Twombly. Patterned after the text on Trajan’s Column in Rome, the classical Roman letterforms are a nice counterpoint to the rough, heavy black shape.

The format includes the CD insert, tray card, CD face label, and printing instructions in a single PDF file. Leave a comment about the design — especially the printability. If this formaty works well I’ll use is at the template for other LibriVox designs.

Download the audio files to burn your own CD here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Five Children and It

Design by Satoko Arai.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

CD designs for LibriVox

Yesterday I stumbled upon LibriVox — a rich online community of volunteers recording and distributing audiobooks from texts in the public domain. After a few postings on their forums it looks like they are willing to post CD package designs for free downloading. Some of the LibriVoxers took a look at the draft design I posted here for a Whitman audiobook and seem to like it.

Among the positive responses to the idea was a from Anita in Fan Francisco: “This CD cover / iTunes graphics idea is . . . phenomenal! . . . to be precise about it.”

They have a nice healthy list of completed projects, it’s a friendly group of folks, and LibriVox is less than a year old, so they are pretty flexible. I’m going to donate a few package designs over the summer, and assign them as a project to my students in the fall.

I’m still looking for a home for my students’ book designs. Think I need to post the folks at Project Gutenberg

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A little summer grass

LeavesOfGrassPackWith 400 poems, there’s a lot of grass here, actually.

Here’s the final version of my CD cover for Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass recorded by LibriVox. Click on the graphic to download a complete PDF to print and assemble your own free CD package. The audio files are available from LibriVox here.

I got nice comments from LibriVoxers on this cover, which uses 1916 botany photos from the Library of Congress that have been tinted blue or green. The feeling is a bit mysterious and organic. I love Whitman’s poetry, and I tend to think it doesn’t get as much attention as it should. His words were really revolutionary and gave us a uniquely American voice.

It’s fun designing these CD packages. They’re free, you’ve probably got a printer and CD burner, so why not make your own summer poetry CD right now?

Friday, June 02, 2006

So Long Richard Eckersley

Recently my editor friend Scot Danforth told me that Richard Eckersley died on April 17 of this year.

Eckersley was one of the old men of book design that I much admired when I first entered the field in the mid-90s. His prolific work for the University of Nebraska Press combined the kind disciplined typography and attention to detail that makes the difference between a beautifully-designed book and the rest of the herd.

In 1999 I had the chance to take a book design workshop at McGill University in Montreal. Two fond memories stick out from that trip: dancing in the rain with my wife at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and listening to Eckersley's british accent as he discussed the minutia of book design.

Another hero of mine, Rich Hendel, said of Eckersley's work during an exchange program in in 1971:"I returned to find a body of work that looked nothing like scholarly books had ever looked: bold [book] covers done even in those primitive pre-Mac times, interior designs that showed such intelligence."

His design pictured here for Jaques Derrida's Glas received praise in 1986, and he was included in the AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers juried show in 1999, 2001, and 2003.

According to an obituary in the Guardian, Richard is survived by two other book designers: his wife Dika, and their son Sam, as well as daughters Camilla and Nell. His influence on a generation of book designers is unmistakable, and he will be missed.