An educator bloogging about graphic design.

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.


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