A massive project. This 640-page museum-quality hardcover book consists of 399 articles articles by more than 100 contributors. I put together a team of six people to do the copyediting and proofreading and worked with a well-organized committee at the church to get all the bits and pieces coordinated, assembled, and approved. The challenge was to keep the page count under control, given the amount of material, without making the pages seem cramped.
John Del Bagno is a poet and an artist. As a long-time practitioner and teacher of a Buddhist discipline most people have never heard of, he saw a need for a book of meditations that would benefit the people he encounters in his day job as a caregiver. The author’s clear vision of what he wanted from the design made this an economical project overall. The biggest challenge was scanning the largest of the linocut prints, which are larger than my scanner.
Leonard Shapiro is a retired attorney who keeps himself out of trouble by publishing a blog. Roughly once a year, his wife does an editing pass and assembles the posts chronologically into a little gift book for relatives and friends. A good friend of theirs is a gifted photographer of flowers and plants, so my biggest challenge is picking which of her glorious photos to use as the cover. This is a joyous project to work on whenever it comes in, and by taking a minimalist approach, we keep the overall cost within reason.
Frank Netter is a name familiar to anyone now living who ever studied medicine. His medical illustrations are still in print. His daughter’s richly remembered biography was published in hardcover by a university press and was well received, but the author retained the rights to the softcover edition. She updated the text and added more color plates. The design challenge was to manage digital printing of a low volume of books with a substantial number of color pages and keep the cost within bounds so the book can be sold at a profit.
A fun book for a fun client. We kept the musical motif going, integrating it with both the text (it has a “Prelude” instead of a “Preface”) and the design. The author has made hundreds if not thousands of friends in the course of a long career that began with a random invitation from a friend. The book is not just about singing, though. It’s also about learning leadership skills in a networked world of voluntary nonprofits—lessons that can be valuable in many contexts. So the design brief was to be musicky but not too musicky.
Using twenty-first-century software to create an idealized simulation of seventeenth-century typography helps to immerse the reader in the subject’s life and evoke the period when he lived. This project presented a lot of enjoyable challenges: genealogical diagrams; complex tabular matter; hundreds of endnotes and footnotes; different typesetting styles for historical quotations than for narrative text; map work; image enhancement; five appendices; and even a bit of photography.
Stephan Liozu is a business school professor and a prolific author of books in his niche academic field. Since 2016, I’ve produced all of his books under the imprint of his consulting company. By keeping the color palette for covers consistent, using consistent fonts, and reusing the interior design, we’ve achieved strong branding that helps drive sales. These books present challenges with integrating complex tables, charts, and graphs from multiple chapter authors into a consistent graphic vocabulary.
The author mined a trove of his parents’ letters and family photos, beginning when they were still in high school. Both the author and his mother had careers in newspaper journalism, and that was the aesthetic we aimed for, with an eye to period typefaces and layout style.
A staid, conservative design inside and out was the right choice for the client, an academic from a family of academics. The bulk of the book consisted of letters between a husband and wife. The challenge was to differentiate the two letter writers by using a different font for each. A common approach is to use roman for one and italic for the other. But the standard italic font in a typeface is often the weaker design, and it would have been unfortunate to make one spouse appear weaker than the other just by making that default font choice. The solution was to choose a much stronger italic from a different but compatible typeface family.
The cover is a simulacrum of a foil-stamped, leather-bound academic book.
With more than 350 photos and more than 175,000 words of text in a 440-page book, this project had a lot of moving parts, including a 20″ × 30″ family tree folded into a pocket inside the back cover. It all came together in the end to make a beautiful heirloom for the client’s family and friends.