While going through the slush mail today, I came across a pair of standout illustrators in a pile of recent UArts grads. Jim Tierney and Sara Wood, a young Brooklyn couple, have a fantastic approach to book cover design. Their masterful combination of type, hand-lettering and drawing makes both of their portfolios equally impressive.
Check out Sara’s D. H. Lawrence book cover series, and Jim’s interactive Jules Verne thesis (there’s a video
I put the cards up on the “Wall Of Stuff I Like” in my cube, right next to our other favorite hand-drawn type designer, Kristine Lombardi
. Lombardi’s cards have been up on our wall for ages. While her cards have more of a feminine, fashion style (although I do like her Kids
page!), they are the first thing that designers walking by are ALWAYS drawn to. Check out a great interview (including the below image of her promo card) here
These designers got me to thinking: where’s the place for hand-lettered type in children’s books? Before the age of thousands of freebie fonts on the internet (hey, it wasn’t that long ago!), hand-lettered display type was commissioned for book covers all the time. I recently worked on the anniversary edition for Jacqueline Woodson’s The Other Side
, and I was so impressed to discover that the handsome title was calligraphed by the original in-house designer.
And while I’m sure it took a lot more effort than downloading a font, there’s something careful, purposeful and yet whimsical to hand-drawn type. So it’s no surprise that it is experiencing a rebirth of magnificently hip proportions. Now, type everywhere looks like this:
By: Carol Brendler,
Once again, for your consideration we present the following covers with title fonts that stand out as particularly interesting, or that function extra well as part of the design.
The image to the right/above is the cover of the picture book The Beckoning Cat
by Koko Nishizuka, illustrated by Rosanne Litzinger (Holiday House, 2009) While imitating Chinese calligraphy with our Latin alphabet can sometimes make typographers grind their teeth, I think this typeface adds a pleasing element and blends well. (If you click on the covers, most of them will "embiggen" themselves.)
|The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle (Holt, 2010)|
Am I wrong in thinking Firefly Letters
looks like a fantasy cover? It's actually a book of poetry based on the notes by a Swedish suffragist about her trip to Cuba. No, really. Pretty neat-o font, though.
|Frozen Secrets: Antarctica Revealed by Sally M. Walker (CarolRhoda, coming October, 2010)|
Stunning cover image and typeface. Frozen Secrets
is a standout.
|Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Lane Smith (Atheneum, 2010)|
Love the juxtaposition of the slender, linear "Lulu" with the elegant "and the Brontosaurus."
|Wild Things by Clay Carmichael (Boyds Mills/Front Street, 2009)|
The otherwise uninteresting, unbalanced cover image above (Wild Things
) redeems itself with its zingy "ransom note" style title.
By: Carol Brendler,
Ran across these covers recently and was taken with the title typeface choices:
Rosie and Skate by Beth Ann Bauman (Random House, 2009). A young adult novel about two sisters living on the Jersey shore during the off-season. So 1950s diner-ish. Love the whole cover, actually.
Layla, Queen of Hearts by Glenda Millard, illus. by Patrice Bowman (FSG, release date April, 2010). A middle-grade novel about a girl's friendship with a senior citizen. The red lettering is inviting (for girls, anyway) and the curly style promises a heartwarming story within.
Can an Old Dog Learn New Tricks? And Other Questions about Animals by Buffy Silverman, illus. by Colin W. Thompson (Lerner, 2010). A non-fiction book which examines common sayings about animals and whether they're really true or not. The typeface is energetic, like a comic book; it promises juicy good fun inside. I think boys would think it's rough and tough enough.
I wonder if there are other typefaces that could be sorted into "best for girl books" and "best for boy books" categories.
By: Carol Brendler,
Because of this blog, I am becoming naturally more attuned to cover design and especially to typeface choices, which can make or break a cover. Take, for example this book, Between the Deep Blue Sea and Me (Kamehameha Publishing, 2008) highlighted by L. over at Jacket Whys. I agree with L.'s analysis. It's a gorgeous image, and I also agree that it's a toss-up over whether teens will be attracted to it. I don't know about you, but the typeface is off-putting to me. Doesn't it make you think of a book of essays, or a textbook, or one of those literary criticisms you were required to buy for a class? I had to look to make sure it didn't say Harold Bloom at the bottom. Sorry: Fail.
Now here's a book that's not due out until May, but it shows quite well what happens when the typeface fits the book:
This is Folly (Wendy Lamb Books, May 11, 2010), a historical fiction for teens (Yay!). It takes place in Victorian England, with a description that sounds as if the novel is full of joys and sorrows. Certainly, the cover suggests the sorrows. Note how the scratched ceramic surface of the girl's skin fits with the scratchy font, yet there's also a bit of joy in the slanting serifs and those curly "l"s and "y"s. Double-plus like.
Now more really neat-o title fonts for your viewing pleasure:
Seems like everyone but me has probably already read Beautiful Creatures, a gothic fantasy by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The actual cover, like many YA books out now, has fabulous embossed lettering. And what elaborate lettering it is.
Newsgirl by Liza Ketchum (Viking, 2009) is a middle grade historical (Yay!) in which the main character hawks papers on a street corner. Hence the well chosen, printerly font.
For your viewing pleasure we present some recent releases that have pretty neat-o typefaces on the cover:
An Eye for Color, a picture book about Josef Albers (Henry Holt, 2009). Clever.
Next, we have Fallen, a young adult thriller/dark romance about good ol' fallen angels (Doubleday, 2009). The typeface has just enough of a romantic feel, no?
Incarceron (Penguin, 2010) is a dystopian thriller. Unlike some people out there, I'm still not over steampunk. Love the clockwork lettering.
The Rock and the River (S&S, 2009). Not an unusual typeface, yet it's clean and fresh here.
Ellen Hopkins' Tricks (S&S, 2009). Edgy and dangerous.
See also this pretty neat-o post about a documentary coming out this month about a typeface museum. Really.
Lots of people wrote to let us know that yesterday's mystery Russian alien was... a guitarfish (although there was healthy disagreement on exactly which kind).
I'm a big fan of your work, and I am a big fan of ampersands, so when I decided to get a tattoo of the latter, I wanted the one from the softcover editions of "Preludes & Nocturnes" and "Fables & Reflections". The only problem is, I don't know which font they're in. So, instead of feverishly searching (actually, I already did that), I decided to go right to the source. Do you know what font it's in?
While I didn't know, I figured Dave McKean would, so I asked him, and he said,
The answer to your blogger question about the ampersands:
Which PB editions? Since DC have released 57 versions, I'm not sure which one you mean. If you mean the recent SANDMAN LIBRARY editions, I have a copy of Fables... and this lovely scrolly fancy ampersand is set in MISSIONARY, a font available from Emigre designed by the brilliant Miles Newlyn (if memory serves me correctly). If you don't mean this edition, then can i recommend this empersand anyway, it's the best one.
Seeing the Village Voice has just leaked it, and a few of you have written to ask about it, yes, I will be a Guest at the PEN World Voices Festival at the end of April. I can't give you any other details right now, but the curious should go to http://www.pen.org/page.php/prmID/1096 and sign up for the Festival mailing list for more information.
I just finished Peter Beagle's I See By My Outfit, a book I've wanted to read since I was a teenage Beagle boy and learned of its existence in the back of A Fine and Private Place, and I loved it. It's the true story of a two man road trip across America on motor scooters, and it's as much a journey across time now as it is across space: funny, heartwarming and wise. The kind of book you feel a better person for having read.
Too much fun is being had with Readerware (http://www.readerware.com/rwFeat.html) and a cuecat scanner, as books are brought up to the new library upstairs and scanned in or ISBNd or entered by hand before being put on the shelves. Mostly I wish, given the number of old books here, that someone had thought of ISBNs before 1966... And then I wish that the library upstairs was three times the size, as I don't think it's going to make the dent in the basement library that I hoped it was going to.
Top: Postcode typeface designed by Christophe Stoll 2008- Bottom: POSTCODE stamp designed by Gert Dumbar in 1978.
Christophe Stoll recently emailed to let me know of a cool typeface he designed called Postcode which is based off a stamp in the Iain Follett Stamp collection we featured. Check out Christophe’s website to hear the story behind Postcode and to download the typeface for FREE.
After you download the typeface, put some time aside to browse Iain Follett’s amazing stamp collection on Flickr.
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