…is recognized for her body of design work integrating European avant-garde and modernist influences into a distinctly American, mid-century manner of communication. She is a living link between design’s modernist past and its continually changing present. — Steven Heller, Elaine Lustig Cohen: Biography (AIGA Medalist)
I was happy to hear that the designers and graphic design historians Patricia Belen and Greg D’ Onofrio completed a first-rate site devoted to the life and work of Elaine Lustig Cohen.
I was just beginning to start my studies in graphic design at Parsons in 1964. I noticed the catalogues and poster designs that The Jewish Museum were beginning to produce after attending a Jasper Johns’ exhibit. Most of collateral work for the Museum exhibitions were designed by Lustig Cohen at that time.
Here are a few samples of her work that she did between 1957 to 1964.
These days, the screen is king. So it’s a (delightful) surprise when designer Jason Booher says, with zero hesitation, that “being a book cover designer is possibly the best job in the world.” Booher is the art director of Blue Rider Press, one of Penguin Book’s imprints, and the mind behind many of its most inventive book covers.
It’s easy to see why Booher is so enamored of his profession. Novels naturally lend themselves to illustration, so coming up with the best solution for a few square inches of real estate must be an especially savory visual challenge for a designer. Booher is especially suited to the job. As a kid, he wanted to have a career as a high school English teacher, but when that didn’t pan out, he found his way to design by way of graphic novels. Then a lucky break landed him a stint at the art department at Penguin, and things came full circle. It became his job to read manuscripts and analyze them—for cover designs, not a captive lit class.The key to creating stellar covers, according to Booher, is to first throw out the tired adage about not judging books by them. “Graphic design is really about selling things,” he says. Lest that sound soulless, the good news here is that Booher is selling other people’s creative ideas. And while every book is unique, Booher says he starts by reading the six or so manuscripts he gets per season, and then mentally digests them all. “You read it, you try and find the soul of the book, something that makes it special, and make it come alive,” he says.
In his speech, he mentioned that designing book cover should be concerned to be a first impression for readers to get deep into and book cover should embody the whole story of a book. His job as book cover designer was to ask a question, “What do the stories look like?” He says a book cover designer is an interpreter of the story.
He picked up some of his work in his speech. I picked up one of them here, the cover of “IQ1984” by Haruki Murakami. The story is about a woman named Aomame in 1984 Japan. He introduced this story that Aomame “finds herself negotiating down a spiral staircase off an elevated highway. When she gets to the bottom, she can’t help but feel that, all of a sudden, she’s entered a new reality that’s just slightly different from the one that she left, but very similar, but different.”
Then Chip Kidd and his coworkers talked about parallel planes of existence like a book jacket and the book that it covers. After some trials, they talked about different planes such as different papers. They took a semi-transparent piece of velum thinking of it as one part of the form and content. Also they tried opposite way, which was the paper board was on top of the semi-transparent paper. The book cover design came out to force readers to consider “a single person straddling two planes of existence. And the object itself invited exploration interaction, consideration and touch.”
With this same book, it has different book cover in different countries by different designers.
In UK In Japan
TIME and The Book Cover Archive showcase book covers designed by Chip Kidd.
Here is a collage of my work for the final. I definitely did struggle initially but the assignments started getting interesting and challenging at the same time. I had a lot of fun with the self portrait, photocopied posters. The photo essay was my favorite though, I loved exploring the city and capturing things. My bottle concept was ‘Time is Money’. For the bottle describing time, I did a sand timer and for money, I filled the bottle up with 100$ bills and had an American Express card as the label. For the Hockney project, I photographed my friend and made a collage. Though the contrast of the pictures changed while photographing due to the daylight, I enjoyed putting together the pictures for it. My process book includes all research assigned for the class and photographs of visits to AIGA, William Kentridge exhibit and other inspiration photographs. My photo book was based on food and content was quotations of food. I might be having a gazillion pictures of food and hence loved taking even more pictures of food and getting the best ones together for the book.
“Estrada: Sailing through design” is an exhibition at at the AIGA National Design Center, structured around the graphic designer Manuel Estrada’s visual diaries, which he uses to register his working process including ideas, perceptions and first sketches. AIGA