The Books of Chic Type

The phenomenal blog Chic Type provides a visual smorgasbord for type nerds, and if you haven’t yet stumbled across it I highly recommend checking it out. Blogger and designer Svetlana Bilenkina shares an amazing assortment of interesting, beautiful and usually custom-made typography, with examples ranging from posters to packaging, including a few awesome book covers.

I recently read her delightful post The Comfort of Thingy-ness Vol II featuring a collection of 20 book covers, and just had to share them. Here are a few of my favorites from that group:

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You might recognize the cover for The Manual of Detection from my previous post, Judging By the Cover—I still think it’s absolutely gorgeous. I also really love the ornate, swashy blackletter type on the cover of Shadow and Bone, and I was unsurprised to learn that the artist was Jen Wang whose beautiful work can also be found on the cover of Into the Woods (which I featured in another one of my posts, On My Wall). If you like the Shadow and Bone cover I recommend reading this great interview with art director Rich Deas which includes some really interesting images from the design development process.

Chic-Type-3

These two covers also really stuck out for me in the collection of 20. I am a little surprised at how much the typography on Love Slave appeals to me, since it has an almost 70s feel to it that I usually don’t go for. But I like the two shades of green and the graceful swashes combined with the stencil-like lines of the title—it hits a nice balance between cliche-ly romantic and a slightly edgier aesthetic. I also think that the title is well incorporated with the image, in terms of both composition and color. Perhaps the one thing I would change is the treatment of the author’s name, which currently seems to be crowding the title and fighting with it for prominence.

The other cover, The Kingdom of Ohio, isn’t really doing anything particularly original or innovative, it’s just pretty and fun to look at. Nothing wrong with that! And I’m super curious what the book is about—I might have to pick that one up at my local bookstore.

One thing I found interesting in the Chic Design post was the author’s comment about the joys of physical books, as opposed to just ogling the covers online. A bit ironic perhaps for a design blogger to be saying, but I know exactly what she means when she says:

“There is something inherently different between seeing the covers online, and touching them and feeling all the intricacies that went into their design and production.”

It’s good to remind myself that while it can be so easy to browse book designs online, there really is no replacement for the experience of browsing in an actual bookstore. All the little details about paper choice, the smell of a book and it’s weight in your hand, and the really quality details like embossing or foil stamping, are completely lost in the online experience, but they are something worth hanging on to.

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