How to make a good BookMaking a good book
The authors become windy and "I" centered in their long introductions.
Brilliant book covers - what makes them so special? One master explains
When you are in a bookshop, Peter Mendelsund can be difficult to prevent. Its dustwrappers package well-known contemporaneous publications such as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Cover, a new monography of Mendelsund's work, shows the designer's eerie ability to capture whole volumes of concise, captivating images - a skill that has made some people call him the best creator of his age.
Even more noteworthy is that Mendelsund began his carreer with no designing expertise. In the first ten years of his adulthood, Mendelsund was a classic musician. When his first baby was born, he thought it might be prudent to research more rewarding work, and when his spouse proposed "designer," it was just a slightly less coincidental proposition than what you get when you throw an arrow on a plank with a series of professional designations stuck on it.
Mendelssund had always loved to draw, and he had created his own weddings invitation, but that was the scope of his work. Mendelsund finally put together a humble collection and won an audiences with Chip Kidd, the acclaimed covers-artist. Mendelsund felt a great gift for nature and joined his superiors at Alfred A. Knopf.
It didn't take long before the new designers had an order for the real work. Advertising panels are on one layer. "It is the least resistant way to give a coat is to give that person exactly what they want," says Mr Anderson. It is not Mendelsund's opinion. He said that he preferred an unsightly front page to a cliché, and when you look at his work, the thing that keeps it together is that almost all of his coats have something strange in one way or another.
Today, as Mendelsund emphasizes in Covers, abstract art is very popular for this kind of music. Ben Marcus' The Flame Alphabet is a striking building stationery undercover. On other occasions, Mendelsund is experimenting with his media by making protective covers that interact with the underlying textbooks in all kinds of interesting ways.
This is a really great cardigan that catches the whole thing in a basic and perhaps unexpected way. It is Mendelsund's task, as he puts it, "to find this one-of-a-kind text detail that....can reinforce the metaphorical importance of the work. "This of course demands that you read a script accurately enough to A) measure the metaphorical importance of the text and B) find a fistful of it.
Or in other words, making a great covers isn't just about making it. That always happens when writers who have worked with Mendelsund speak about his work. In the end, each explains in his own way that his strengths as a builder come to a large extent from his abilities as a readership. Ben Marcus remembers his work with Mendelsund on The Flame Alphabet: "I was amazed at how thoroughly he had studied the work.
" It' gonna take a certain kind of literacy to make a good camouflage. Mendelsund says that one of the challenge of the profession is to resist the need to pick an illustration from the text itself. "It' very enticing to just look at a textbook for the sake of visibility if you're a coat designer," he says.
Cause when you look like that, you're missing the point of the whole thing. It is almost never such detail that makes sense in the text. "After Mendelsund has finished a script, an intensive period of experimenting and iterating begins. Seldom is the right look evident after first reading it.
In the ideal case, each dustwrapper is a one-of-a-kind item for the cover of the text. Mendelsund, for example, will have more room for interpretation for a small collection of poems than for an eagerly awaited play of new notion. "When one spends a great deal of time on a novel or an writer, then one has to increase the testing of the coat many times over," he says.
"When this writer gets a big advancement, you have to leap through some burning tires with your coat. "Take the girl with the dragon tattoo. The enthusiasm for the script was so great that a choir of votes was added to the jacke.
"Mendelsund remembers that there was the quota that wanted what was appealing to males. One was a strong blank front page with a strong blank text decorated only with, yes, a tasty splash of color.
Mendelsund said when it mattered that there was only one factor that determined the desig. This had to have what the designer calls the "Big Book Look". Their definitive release was "The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo" in large print. In order to round it all off, Mendelsund did what he calls a "stupid thing" by reverberating the song itself and placing the text on a picture of..... a kite titoo.
This was the infrequent case where a novel had so much drive that the best thing a builder could do was get out of the way. "Mendelsund says the product should definitely be selling well. Yet Mendelsund insisted that this was not the most evident line he could have taken.
"Until then, I would refuse to find you a black obscure daylight drama thriller," he says.