When I began looking at bookbinding, I decided to look at the books I own and what features of them I like and could potentially include in my own work.
Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
The thing I really like about this book is the end papers. The book’s plot is all driven by the actions of The Man in the Tan Jacket with a Deerskin suitcase who is a travelling fly salesman. This is why I love opening the book to a load of flies because it ties into the story so well. I think relating the endpapers to the story or cover design of the book really ties the whole thing together and excites the reader about the book.
Fury by Elizabeth Miles
I really like that under the dust jacket this book is white. Fury is often associated with heat and so it’s as if the book is white hot. Fury or wrath is also deemed a sin and white is often used to portray innocence or purity so I think that it makes for a nice contrast. I think much more can be done under the dust jacket than just a plain book but at least this one works with the themes of the book.
Now Panic and Freak out
This book is obviously a parody of Keep Calm and Carry On. Although I do find the endless parodies of this famous poster quite annoying, I liked how everything about this book echoes the antithesis of Keep Calm and Carry On. The repeated phrase printed on the endpapers not only reinforces the message but also feels very neurotic, as if the same thought is playing in your head on a loop. Once again, endpapers are used to reflect the book itself which I really like.
Cats edited by W H Allen
This book is a pamphlet stitched hardcover which is not something I have seen very often but this book is very thin so I think it was a good decision to make it this way. I definitely prefer this book without the dust jacket. It was a beautiful surprise taking it off and finding the gold cat face underneath. This is a feature I wish more books had. It’s like discovering a secret that isn’t in the plot.
Lyra’s Oxford by Phillip Pullman
There are many features of this book I really like.The vinyl sticker on the cover means that the colours don’t get distorted when printed on the book cloth and it also has a beautiful illustration of the city. The map and blurb are printed on the back which I think looks beautiful but does clash with the cover in terms of style. The fold out map in the middle of the book was a really nice touch, I love books that have maps in them because it helps you imagine the world much clearer. The construction of this book makes it feel like a fictional tour guide which I really like, I just wish the story had gone more in that direction and then the whole book would have come together beautifully.
The Novel Cure
I love everything about the binding of this book, I think it’s just so beautiful.The grey, beige and orange colour scheme works really well. It’s a combination you rarely see so it really makes it stand out. Every feature of this book works together, using this colour scheme to make it so pretty. The dual colours of bookrim is a feature I’ve already mentioned that I like and with the orange printed design, it works so well. The coloured edges of the pages match the printed titles so well and their boldness stands out so much. Because this is essentially a book dictionary, I really like how they included a feature seen on a lot of dictionaries of printing the letter dividers on the end of the book so you can easily flick to whichever letter you want in the book. I think the whole thing is really well put together, it looks classy and beautiful and fits the purpose of the book so well, I love it.
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
I find it really interesting how the bookrim colours on this book follows the rule of thirds. It’s something I’ve never seen before except on these editions. The difference in colour is so subtle and works quite well because of it’s understated oddity. The embossed design across the cover also makes it feel really nice as well because of the texture.
Such, Such were the joys by George Orwell
I have never seen a pamphlet bound paperback that wasn’t a chapter sampler so when I picked this up, it intrigued me. At first I thought it looked quite tacky and throwaway but when I looked at it again in conjunction with the cover I actually think it works really well. The rough typography on the cover that looks like it’s been scratched into wood works with the rough style of binding which I actually really like. With almost any other cover, I wouldn’t like it but I actually think it works here.
The Puppet master by Joanne Owen
This is another book with many beautiful features. I found it particularly interesting how only the spine was bookrim and the rest of the cover was printed. The illustrated endpapers are beautiful and bold and made me really excited to read this book and explore the world they showed. Something else I really liked in this book was the addition of letters, recipes, ticket stubs etc., throughout the book because I think it really added to the story and you felt like you were discovering a file and piecing the story together yourself.
Just My Type by Simon Garfield
It’s the endpapers of this book that I really loved. Because this book is all about type and which fonts have been influential, the designer made a periodic table of type by collating data from lists and surveys. Typography is such a structured science and there are many rules and technical terms that make it up so this nod to the table of elements that make up everything was really ingenious.
How to change the world by John-Paul Flintoff
I really like the curved corners on this book because it’s not typical of many books. This in itself works really well with the book because it feels like it’s trying to change the way you look at books, just as the content is telling you ‘How to Change the World’.
These books all have different features and I want to experiment with including some of them in my own work to make my books more aesthetically pleasing.