Archive for the ‘Type and Design’ Category

coverThe Serif Fairy: Explorations in the World of Letters

by René Siegfried (translated by Joel Mann)

New York: Mark Batty, 2007.

In a last-minute bid to improve the ratio of books read to books bought for 2013, I am using the glory that is the post-Christmas pajama party  to knock a few slim volumes off of my TBR shelves.  I reorganized those shelves today, putting on the new books that were under the tree, and it felt great to handle all the bookish goodness that still awaits me.  I had forgotten this lovely little book, too, so I am especially glad to have used precious pajama time organizing.

The Serif Fairy has lost her wing.  Her left wing.  Her magical wing, to be precise.  She cannot fly without it, so she must journey on foot through forest, town and country to find it.  Each location is built out of its own font, and the author matches perfectly the font to the setting.  I marvel at his work on the Futura City:


Look at that helicopter!

This book was originally made as a project for a course in communications design, and the author’s design cred shines through.  With remarkably little else in the way of colour or illustration, Siegfried populates and illustrates each page with images made entirely of letters in different sizes.  At the end of the book, there is an answer key of sorts that tells you which letters are used in each image.  Part of the fun of the illustrations, of course, is to figure that out for yourself.  Adding to the fun, little critters hide on each page, and there is a prompt at the end of the book to go back and look for them.

But a delighted reader, young or old, will need no invitation to go back and look at these illustrations again and again and again.

Read Full Post »

In a post-Christmas reading spree, I gobbled The Fellowship of the Rings, inspired by our umpteenth watching of the films, a Christmas tradition, and I finished re-reading Paradise Lost, which I’ve had on the go for a month.  (That one was inspired by reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy to the boys earlier this year.  It’s loosely based on Milton, and I wanted to remind myself of Milton’s Satan.  Definitely the best character in the epic, all pale ire, envy and despair.)

You will understand, then, that I had quite a hefty hangover and could not settle into my next read.  I wanted a bibliophilic one.  I wanted a page-turner.  I wanted humour and escape, but it had to be smart.  I tried a few Jasper Ffordes, but reading out of sequence is something I do not do lightly, and Thursday Next is not a series to read out of sequence, apparently.  (I really liked The Eyre Affair, but there are, what, eight books in the series now?  I’m missing a few, but I have the most recent ones and just wanted to read them already.  Didn’t work.  Will I ever catch up?)

coverThank heavens for Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, another suitably bibliophilic read, a page-turner, and a fun note on which to end the year.  This book was under the tree for me this year, a perfect gift for holiday reading.  Part bibliophilic novel, part mystery, part fantasy, it had a sprinkling of many things to please.

The narrator, Clay Jannon, is a newly-hired clerk in the eponymous San Francisco bookstore, which appears to be a front for a book-based cult.

Now: I was pretty sure “24-hour bookstore” was a euphemism for something.  It was on Broadway, in a euphemistic part of town.  (7)

We get an inside look at the cult’s underground library of leather-bound, one-of-a-kind books, as well as a look inside the operations at Google, where the narrator’s girlfriend works.  It’s a wonderful mixture of old and new, with many a sly wink at the reader who knows better than to believe in rumors about the death of the book.  Various generations of human readers file in and out of the narrative, as do generations of computers and electronic reading devices.  Even the Canadian Kobo gets a walk-on part.  Typography features heavily in the plot, and I found myself itching to google as I read in order to find the font the author describes.  The narrator made me laugh out loud, and his arch humour was the perfect counterpoint to the more fantastical aspects of the plot.  He does not take himself too seriously, and that, I think is the key to the book’s success for me.

I may be able to squeeze one more book in before the toll of midnight tomorrow, but if I don’t, I am content to end a year of reading on this book about books.

Happy New Year, all!

Read Full Post »

via The Literary Gift Company

Read Full Post »

Now, you don’t even have to say it.  Your book jacket can say it for you!  Check out the whole range of rainbow-hued dust jackets created by YA authors Eric Bowman, Tracey Neithercott and Sarah Enni here, here, and here.  You can download and print them for yourselves.

via Dewey Divas

Read Full Post »

A Field Guide to Typestaches

with fond hopes of seeing naked upper lips tomorrow,

goodbye, Movember

from Fuck Yeah, Book Art


Read Full Post »

The big boys and I made a quick trip to the Design Exchange to see their current exhibit on the history of the book: Out of Sorts: Print Culture and Book Design.  As a bibliophile, I did not see much that I did not already know, and the Canadian book design display did not make the most of its subject matter, but it was a relatively kid-friendly introduction to the progress from scroll to codex to printing press, with an interesting book sculpture thrown in.

I also enjoyed being able to see up close Jonathan Safran Foer’s book, Tree of Codes, created by cutting words out of its “parent text,” The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz.

The exhibition runs until August 21.

Read Full Post »

Thank you, Salon

Script by Mike Lacher at McSweeney’s here.

I’m Comic Sans, Asshole from joehollier on Vimeo.

Read Full Post »

Over at The Word Made Flesh, you can see lots of literary tattoos.  Thanks, Steph, for the link (and good luck choosing yours).

Read Full Post »

Breakfast is Served

Chris Dimino created this waffle maker out of a typewriter, in response to the assignment to make something useful of something defunct.




Read Full Post »

I saw these foolscap-inspired pencil cases by Pi’lo at the Evergreen Brickworks this weekend and am in love.  Pi’lo’s Etsy store is having a sale in June, if you, too, are in love.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: