Tag Archives: Scholarly Typographic

In Flux

Another book in NeWest’s Writer as Critic Series. In this collection of essays edited by the University of Guelph’s Smaro Kambourelli, Roy Miki investigates the shifting currents of citizenship, globalization, and cultural practices facing Asian Canadians today through the connections of place and identity that have been forged through our developing national literature.

At first, I wasn’t thrilled with the imagery provided by the author: an aerial view of the coastline with the Fraser River taken from a seaplane. But it’s the landscape that would form the conditions of early settlement for Asian Canadians, so, conceptually, it’s a strong match for Miki’s work.

I then turned to idea #3 on my “I’m totally stumped and can’t deal with this dull photo you gave me” list: turn it upside down and crop it so it’s barely recognizable.

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Social Democracy After the Cold War

Offering a comparative look at social democratic experience since the Cold War, this volume examines countries where social democracy has long been an influential political force — Sweden, Germany, Britain, and Australia — while also considering the history of Canada’s NDP.

The editors wanted to use the Socialist International rose-in-fist image on the cover. My proposal for a more informal and inventive interpretation of the organizations’s poetic logo was approved.

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Imperfection

“. . . aspirations to perfection awaken us to our actual imperfection.”
– Patrick Grant

The client provided this loaded excerpt as a brief and it gave me lots to think about:

“As Bruce Bartlett (advisor to Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush) told New York Times reporter Ron Suskind: ‘This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can’t be persuaded, that they are extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them because he is just like them.’ One of the best books on the recent Northern Ireland conflict is Richard Davis’s Mirror Hate (Aldershot: Dartmouth, 1994), and, among other things, it can help to clarify some implications of Bartlett’s remark. In this elegant and telling analysis Davis shows that although Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries are enemies, they also mirror one another. The enmity in itself is not difficult to describe because it is plainly declared by the opposed factions and their propagandists. But a further process of ‘unconscious convergence,’ whereby the opposed factions come to resemble one another, is more difficult to discern. That is, if we hate with sufficient intensity, we unwittingly become like our enemy, mirroring our enemy’s strategies and our enemy’s thinking. And in this ‘symbiotic antagonism,’ says Davis, the simplifications of propaganda readily triumph over ‘humanity and common sense.’ “

Cover photo by Lauri Rotko.

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Controlling Knowledge

FOIP.

We’ve all heard of it, we’ve all be affected by it, yet no one actually knows what it is. So, AU Press and Lorna Stefanick bring you a layperson’s guide.

This was one of those titles that completely confounded me for about three weeks, until I thought of this concept the night before the deadline and woke at 4AM to shoot the image. I don’t recommend photoshop work before breakfast. This project also spawned the realization that the lock on my sublet door is faulty.

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Romancing the Revolution

Apparently the Brits (“British Bolsheviks”) really had a thing for Russia right around 1917.

The full sales pitch:
Over two decades have passed since the collapse of the USSR, yet the words “Soviet Union” still carry significant weight in the collective memory of millions. But how often do we consider the true meaning of the term “Soviet”? Drawing extensively on left-wing press archives, Romancing the Revolution traces the reactions of the British Left to the idealized concept of Soviet democracy.

This making of this cover almost got out of hand, but I had a bucket of water nearby, thankfully. Letraset lended a hand.

 

 

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Light From Ancient Campfires

13,000 years worth of projectile points: Light from Ancient Campfires is a comprehensive archaeological record of the Northern Plains First Nations. Beginning with the earliest material traces of a human presence in Alberta, author Trevor Peck embarks on a detailed study of the physical evidence left behind by the area’s original inhabitants.

With 528 pages at 7 by 10.5 and weighing in at 3lbs, this book was dubbed “a weapon” by those who persevered with the production of such a lengthly and complex book.

The jacket was printed with 2 PMS colours on a 65lb parchment-style stock called Wausau Paper Astroparche, Ancient Gold. (Complete with french flaps.)

The arrowheads on the jacket are from the interior b+w plates and are in chronological order, grouped according to prehistoric period.

The text face is LTC Kaatskill, designed by Frederic Goudy and Jim Rimmer. The sanserif face is FF Seria, by Martin Majoor.

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Through Feminist Eyes

A major coup for both feminists and book designers.

The author is a fairly cautious person and was concerned about the risqué nature of this image. We let it sit for a few weeks and then decided that it successfully deviates from the aesthetic of other Feminist works and will definitely garner attention. I can’t take credit for the illustration: it was originally on a poster created by R. Salvadori for the Italian Feminist Reunion of the Socialist League.

About the collection: “Approaching her subject matter from an array of interpretive frameworks that engage questions of gender, class, colonialism, politics, and labour, Sangster explores the lived experience of women in a variety of specific historical settings. In so doing, she sheds new light on issues that have sparked much debate among feminist historians and offers a thoughtful overview of the evolution of women’s history in Canada.”

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Alberta’s Daycare Controversy

Controversial kids: apparently, between 1908 and 2009, daycare has been a point of contention in this province.

This is my preliminary solution for the cover of Langford’s exposé. The grainy illustration was pilfered from a child care manual circa 1986. I’m pushing for the upside down orientation, but it will take some cajoling.

The formidable Marvin Harder will be designing the interior.

(I told myself I wouldn’t indulge in white book covers anymore. They blend into the background on-screen. When the books are shipped from the plant, the plain white stock is always a disappointment. In this case, the stark contrast of the source drawing is responsible for my relapse. The black on white gives it that “low resolution output device on low grade paper” feel that suites the bureaucratic topic.)

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