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Designing Books: Practice and Theory Hardcover – 12 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Hyphen Press (12 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0907259081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0907259084
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,273,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Jaroslav Tvrdon on 8 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book for everyone who wants to think about book design. The book does not figure out every posiible problem with design instead of you! In one word: classic!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
A Picturebook of Typography / Design 3 Nov. 2000
By TerminusDad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As indicated by the review above, the book is divided up into three sections that tackle the history, methods, and styles of book design. The title, "Designing Books," may sound like a technical reference, but it's not. The book should have been named "Book Designs," for it is more a picturebook of illustrations and typography from books of poetry, novels, brochures, art books, and other publications.
The author does cover Swiss grid design, proportions of text areas and margins, and the differences between asymmetrical and symmetrical design theories. It is perhaps this historical reference of asymmetrical and symmetrical styles that make this book worth having. It presents intelligent comparisons of both theories, the history behind each movement, and the cultural stereotypes attached to each. Case in point, Jan Tschichold's groundbreaking work in asymmetrical design / book layout, before totally reversing course and becoming one of the great symmetrical designers in his later years.
The author intelligently illustrates the positive and negative aspects of both design theories, without leaning towards either as a preference. The author finds beauty and intrigue in both styles.
To clarify however, the "asymmetrical" theories illustrated here are based on 1960s Swiss/German grid layouts using lots of Univers and white space. This is not a collection of cutting-edge typography or radical design work. The illustrated examples are clean, modest and classic.
A good starting point for those who need a clear entry point into this field, but by no means a reference manual for the experienced.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Beyond the Bauhaus dogma 13 April 2004
By wiredweird - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My first reaction, on seeing the black sanserif cover lettering and simple red graphics was "Oh. Swiss school." Some of the diatribes from the early Swiss school proponents came across as 'full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing,' so that left me leery.
Hochuli has moved past the dogmatic phase, though, and into something better-reasoned. The paper is a warm, humanist tan (where I expected a stark white), the body copy is a serif font, and Hochuli lets esthetic judgement moderate geometric purism. It may seem surprising that setting up a scientific text jolted him out of the "scientific" Bauhaus mindset. After thinking about it for a moment, perhaps only a science text could have done the job. More than any other genre, science books tend to mix illustrations and photos, graphs, charts, equations and in-line math, footnotes, references and cross-references, and all the other factors that complicate typography. Even more, because the science content of the book can be so complex, it calls out for typographic help in organizing the material for visual presentation.
The book is a lovely object. The wide margins give the text a statuesque look. References on each page are set off clearly and legibly. Unfortunately, the text is quite short - only about half the length of the book, and half of that is illustrations. The second half of the book is a brief catalog of Hochuli's work. The material is worthwhile, but it seemed like filler, meant to bring the book up to some mandated minimum length. I also found it a bit too large to read one-handed, the way I do with most papaerbacks. Hochuli seems to have broken his own rule about the size of a book, the way it is read, and the way it is held for reading.
The only place I seriously disagreed with Hochuli's advice had to do with bibliographies. I don't think the italic needs a different 'color', as long as the slant and dynamics of line weight are clear. I think he missed out completely on mixing European and Asian names. Western tradition uses "first-name last-name" order for personal name and family name. Many Asians and some Africans put the family name first and personal name last (as if saying "Jones Chris" instead of "Chris Jones"). Typographic convention can preserve proper order and still distinguish family from personal names.
Nothing is perfect, but this book is a pleasant and informative discussion of typography in the large - the steps above letterforms and paragraph structure. I'll keep it, and keep coming back to it.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
The ironic part... 27 Dec. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am writing this review simply to say that I find it highly amusing to receive this book for Christmas, open it, and find an orphan on the introduction page, and widows and orphans in the next few pages after that. I hope that those of you who are familiar with the rules of formal typesetting are also chuckling.
This is a pretty book, I just find the errors fairly humorous. Have yet to get into the meat of the matter, though I do agree with the previous reviewer that this serves more as a composite picture book.
If you are looking for pure typographic excellence, look at Robert Bringhurst's _The Elements of Typographic Style_.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Dogma/No Dogma, is still Dogma (but this is post post modernisn, so who cares?) 14 July 2009
By Tae W. Moon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Regardless of what the authors write about, whether symmetrical or asymmetrical design should be used and when, it is, in my opinion, complete and with illustrations. This book was, I believe, to give courage and to inspire the book designer, to introduce a new idea (that the spine is the central axis and not the page itself) and to ask the reader(s) to contemplate. I do find the cover lovely as both symmetry and asymmetry is used to show that both work together and in contrast.
Good. 5 May 2014
By Park Chan shin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm really happy to get this book in such a good condition.
Personally, hardcover is better than paperback version. :)
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