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Archive for the 'Book design' Category

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Columbia University Press wins big at the New York Book Show

The winners for the New York Book Show (an annual design competition hosted by the Book Industry Guild of New York) were announced last week. We’re proud to share that Columbia University Press won in eight categories this year, an incredible achievement.

The winners are:

Violence and Civility (jacket design)
Designer: Chang Jae Lee
“The book discusses the insidious causes of violence, racism, nationalism, mass dispossession, and ethnic cleansing worldwide. The (in)advertent black ink blots around the handwritten type, with the introduction of magenta, are meant to hint at blood drops as the visual effects of violence.”
Violence and Civility

The Hillary Doctrine (jacket design)
Designer: Jordan Wannemacher
“I was excited to work on this book because it was about such an important piece of foreign policy and feminist history. We printed this on a beautiful foil paper that metallicized the flag and the type. The result was an authoritative cover with a lot of visual depth.”
The Hillary Doctrine (more…)

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

University Press Week 2015 Blog Tour Roundup, Day 3


The 2015 University Press Week blog tour continues today discussing Design in UP and Scholarly Publishing.

Princeton University Press’s Design department launched a design tumblr highlighting notable projects with commentary by the book’s respective designer. This behind-the-scenes look reveals thoughts, challenges, and compromises the designers faced throughout their creative processes. Of note: the blog features a look at the Press Room at Princeton University Press in 1910.

MIT Press’s “Design Through the Decades at The MIT Press” is essentially a compressed history of graphic design from the mid-twentieth century to the present. This exciting video (accompanied by a Talking Heads song) takes a look at how book design has evolved over several decades using the human brain image as a case study. It presents a fascinating look at how typographic trends, printing technology, and popular culture have shaped book design over the last 60+ years. (more…)

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Thirteen Ways of Making and Looking at Books

It is an understatement to say that Chang Jae Lee has seen and designed a lot of books and book covers over the course of his two decades in the design department at Columbia University Press. Last month, the senior designer shared some of his favorites in an exhibition at Gallery Sagakhyung in Seoul. Titled “Thirteen Ways of Making and Looking at Books: Columbia University Press Book Design, 1990-2015,” Chang Jae’s exhibition showcased over a hundred books, both his own designs and those of his past and present Columbia University Press colleagues. Also on view was an installation showing the complete processes of cover design and book production.

While Chang Jae came to Columbia University Press in 1996, he chose 1990 for the start date of his exhibition so that he could include several book covers that were influential to his development as a designer, such as the 1990 Columbia University Press translation of Marguerite Duras’ Green Eyes, the jacket of which was designed by Tracy Feldman.

The exhibition drew visitors from all over the Korean publishing world, ranging from design students to editors. “Thirteen Ways of Making and Looking at Books” closed its run at Gallery Sagakhyung on May 30, and will move to the Seoul Metropolitan Library at the end of July for a four-week engagement.

Chang Jae was previously featured on the Columbia University Press Blog when he was interviewed by Asian Global Impact in 2013. In that interview, Chang Jae addressed the future of print book design optimistically:

I am pretty pessimistic about everything else, but I am not pessimistic about the future of books…. The physicality of books is important, and I think it can only be further accentuated, enhanced with thoughtful design. All successful designs achieve communication—translating the written language and its core ideas into the visual language, transforming them logically, succinctly, and viscerally.

To illustrate the power of thoughtful design, we’ve selected some of the covers Chang Jae has designed over the years for Columbia University Press books in two of his favorite subject areas, Korean Studies and Philosophy. Despite the range of topics and visual styles, what all these covers have in common is that they are carefully tailored to communicate information about the book within.

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

“Interracial Couples, Intimacy, and Therapy” Wins a “50 Books | 50 Covers”

Congratulations to Jordan Wannemacher and the amazing Columbia University Press design department for their design of Interracial Couples, Intimacy, and Therapy: Crossing Racial Borders, by Kyle D. Killian, which was recently selected as one of the 50 Books | 50 Covers by The Design Observer Group.

And, here’s the cover:

Kyle Killian, Interracial Couples

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Abominable Science! Wins a AAUP Design Award!

Congratulations to designer Philip Pascuzzo and our design department for winning an AAUP award for best book jacket for Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids by Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero.

Needless to say, we agree with the AAUP but don’t take their, or our, word for it, here’s the cover:

Abominable Science, Daniel Loxton, Donald Prothero

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Designing Mark C. Taylor’s “Recovering Place”

The following post is by Lisa Hamm, a senior designer at Columbia University Press, who worked with Mark C. Taylor on his new book Recovering Place: Reflections on Stone Hill:

I received an e-mail from Mark Taylor asking if we could talk about his new book Recovering Place: Reflections on Stone Hill and work through some ideas. The book was a personal one for Taylor that would integrate text with photographs, both artistic and documentary, of a major land-art-sculpture project that he was developing on his property. It included stone, metal, and bone sculptures; ponds; streams; and marble outcroppings.

I wasn’t surprised to receive this e-mail. I had designed three books by Mark Taylor for the Press, and we had developed an easy way of working together that allowed for informal discussions of ideas like this. He wanted to know what was possible, and I asked to see the manuscript and the art. The text consisted of about 100-plus small chapters along with several of Taylor’s own, striking photographs.

From a design point-of-view, the book and its subject matter presented some intriguing challenges. The book’s combination of artistic photographs with thoughtful, philosophical discussion and meditations needed to be handled in such a way that both the visual and the textual elements achieved their own distinctiveness. We wanted to create a design in which the images played off and illuminated the text in ways both direct and subtle.

Again, having worked with Mark on other books, we had developed a relationship that allowed us to collaborate on the book’s design and elements and we eventually met and discussed trim sizes and use of color to fit the book’s aims. It’s rare to work with an author four times, but it’s very satisfying when it happens. In this case, it contributed to an openness and a fluid work relationship that I hope resulted in an attractive book.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Chang Jae Lee on Book Design and Korean Photography

Lost Souls design by Chang Jae LeeChang Jae Lee, of our very talented designers, was recently interviewed by Asian Global Impact.

In the interview, Chang Jae revealed the process that goes into selecting the appropriate image and design for a book as well as discussing some of the covers he is most proud of. Chang Jae has designed a wide range of Columbia University Press books but some of his most memorable ones have been from Columbia’s list in philosophy and Asian fiction. Asked about how book design has changed in the age of the e-book, Chang Jae expressed optimism regarding the physical book:

I am pretty pessimistic about everything else, but I am not pessimistic about the future of books…. The physicality of books is important, and I think it can only be further accentuated, enhanced with thoughtful design. All successful designs achieve communication—translating the written language and its core ideas into the visual language, transforming them logically, succinctly, and viscerally.

Chang Jae also discussed his work as the curator for the a recent, critically praised photography exhibit Traces of Life: Seen Through Korean Eyes, 1945-1992. Chang Jae, who grew up in South Korea before his family moved to Seattle was interested in displaying photographs that reflected the full history of that dramatic period:

I wanted to show a past not predicated on biased, selective memories, and fill the chasm in the visual archive of the modern Korean vernacular spanning the period from 1945 to 1992. I intended it to be a counterpoint to what we often recognise as the Korean vernacular, the images doused by the turbulent history of the period itself: liberation, the Korean War, coup d’état, military dictatorship, industrialisation, and the ensuing struggles for democracy. You see, even during this sweeping modernisation and the sociopolitical upheaval, the children laughed in their play and the people lived their everyday lives.

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Design Awards for Let the Meatballs Rest and LoveKnowledge

Congratulations to our design department for being selected by jurors of Association of American University Press’s Book, Jacket, and Journal Show as the very best examples … of excellent design.”

The winners included Let the Meatballs Rest: And Other Stories About Food and Culture by Massimo Montanari; translated by Beth A. Brombert for scholarly typographic and LoveKnowledge: The Life Philosophy from Socrates to Derrida, by Roy Brand for its jacket. The book’s jacket (see below) also won an award in the 2013 New York Book Show in the category of Professional and Scholarly Books:

LoveKnowledge, Roy Brand

Friday, July 20th, 2012

The Evolution of a Cover — Julia Kushnirsky on “Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City”

Earlier this week we featured the cover for Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City. In the following post, Julia Kushnirsky, the book’s designer, describes the thinking behind this beautifully evocative cover:

Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City is translated from Chinese and is an imagined literary history of Hong Kong.

The author sent us a cover of the Chinese edition that was published in Hong Kong. We felt that the significance of the bird may not be familiar to American readers, and we wanted a bolder, literary look.

Atlas, Chinese Hong Kong

I liked the concept of showing a map with the section of Hong Kong missing since it gave the reader a sense of wanting to discover the lost city. I decided to choose historic images to show the archaeological aspect of the book. I had found an antique map of Hong Kong that was created in 1841 by Captain Edward Belcher, which added to the sense of discovery and adventure felt by the explorers of the 18th century.

Atlas, Hong Kong Map

To “age” the black and white image I gave it a sepia tone. I wanted to fill the “missing” section of the map with a nostalgic image of the “vanished” city. I found an original hand tinted photograph of Hong Kong harbor circa 1900. It was beautifully naturally faded with sepia tones that worked really well with the map.


Finally for the title type I wanted it have movement and handwritten quality as if someone wrote across the map with a quill pen. For the final jacket design I added ragged yellowed edges to the flaps and splotches of ink on the spine and back flap.

Our printer, Coral Graphics did a beautiful job picking up the colors and adding dimension with matte and gloss effect.

Atlas, Dung Kai-cheung

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Featured Cover of the Week: Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City

Dung Kai-cheung, Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City

Our featured cover this week is from Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City, by Dung Kai-cheung. The cover was designed by Julia Kushnirsky.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Featured Cover of the Week: Hospitality of the Matrix, by Irina Aristarkhova

Irina Aristarkhova, Hospitality of the Matrix

Each week, we are to showcasing one of our new covers. The above is from Hospitality of the Matrix: Philosophy, Biomedicine, and Culture, by Irina Aristarkhova.

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Featured Cover of the Week: Electric Dreamland: Amusement Parks, Movies, and American Modernity

Lauren Rabinovitz, Electric Dreamland

From time to time, we like to showcase one of our covers. The above is from Electric Dreamland: Amusement Parks, Movies, and American Modernity, by Lauren Rabinovitz. The cover was designed by Julia Kushnirsky.

Friday, February 19th, 2010

CUP Award-Winning Covers!

The Association of American University Presses recently announced winners from its book, jacket, and journal show, awarding four awards to Columbia University for jacket design.

Congratulations to our excellent design department! Here are the winning jackets:

(Designer: Chang Jae Lee)

(Designer: Martin Hinze)

Value of Money
(Designer: Julia Kushnirsky)

(Designer: Chang Jae Lee)

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Did the Columbia University Press design department start a trend?

The Late Age of PrintPerhaps we are indulging a bit in hyperbole with our headline but as noted in Galleycat, it seems like other publishers are catching on to the remarkable photographs of Cara Barer.

We used one of her photographs for Ted Striphas’s The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control and Other Press has just published with Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer’s Life, by Michael Greenberg, which also uses one of Barer’s images for the cover.

Over at his blog, Ted Striphas admits that the cover has almost received as much attention as the book’s content. Striphas writes,

Some writers would be put off by this, believing that what really counts is the stuff that lies between the covers. Not I. I’m acutely aware that books are meant to be sold as much as they’re meant to be read. In fact, in my undergraduate “Cultures of Books and Reading Class,” I have an assignment in which I ask my students to “judge a book by its cover” — that is, to explain what they can learn about a book and its audience strictly by virtue of its design.


Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Well Titled, Well Covered features There’s Nothing I Can Do When I Think of You Late at Night

The New Yorker‘s blog The Book Bench recently featured Cao Naiqian’s There’s Nothing I Can Do When I Think of You Late at Night in their “Well Titled, Well Covered” feature.

Here’s how they explain their criteria for their well titled, well covered selections: “The art of writing a good title is a subtle one: it has to be intriguing enough to make you want to pick up the book and find out exactly what it’s about, but not so bizarre that you don’t already have an intimation. It also helps if the book has an unusual or striking cover.”

Scroll through to the fifth slide to see the cover to There’s Nothing I Can Do When I Think of You Late at Night , which the Book Bench calls “haunting” or see it below:

There's Nothing I Can Do

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Gastropolis in Reading New York

Gastropolis: Food and New York CityThe New York Times featured Gastropolis: Food and New York City, edited by Annie Hauck-Lawson and Jonathan Deutsch, in their roundup of New York City books and gave special praise for the book’s delightful cover (see right).

From the article:

Few cities offer as much food for thought as New York. Now comes “Gastropolis: Food and New York City” (Columbia University Press, $29.95). The work, edited by Annie Hauck-Lawson and Jonathan Deutsch, two City University professors, is a veritable feast.

“New Yorkers have formed relationships with food that have helped shape the identity of their great city,” they write. “Whether you find yourself extracting the last slurp from the paper cup at the Lemon Ice King in Corona, eating fiery Jamaican jerk chicken fresh off the oil-drum grills at Badoo’s in Flatbush or enjoying a cool ocean breeze with a Nathan’s hot dog in hand on the Coney Island boardwalk, New York City allows the edible sensibility of traveling the world.”

…This is one book you can tell by its cover: a delightful illustration by Monica Gurevich of a city where you can eat your heart out.

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Judging Books by Their Covers — The New York Book Show Awards

Several Columbia University Press titles won awards in the New York Book Show. The awards are sponsored by the Bookbinders’ Guild of New York and recognize excellence in book production and design. The winners for book design were Four Jews on Parnassus — A Conversation: Benjamin, Adorno, Schonberg, by Carl Djerassi and The Hudson: America’s River, by Frances Dunwell.

The winners for book covers were: Kissing Cousins: A New Kinship Bestiary, by Frances Bartkowski, Shivers Down Your Spine: Cinema, Museums, and the Immersive View, by Alison Griffiths, and Philosophy in Turbulent Times: Canguilhem, Sartre, Foucault, Althusser, Deleuze, Derrida by Elisabeth Roudinesco.

Here are the winning covers:

Kissing Cousins

Shivers Down Your Spine

Philosophy in Turbulent Times