In a career spanning more than forty years, Derek Birdsall has
established himself as one of Britain's leading book designers.
This practical, inspirational and educational book distils a
lifetime's experience in designing books, and presents and
discusses nearly fifty books he has designed, showing 360 spreads
and covers, all in their original colours and to scale. The designs
range from 1960s' Penguin paperback covers to a recent complete
redesign of The Church of England's book of Common Worship. They
include books on wine, chess, astronomy, architecture, and fine
paper and one for Monty Python, as well as many of his
award-winning catalogues for museums and galleries around the
world, and the monumental catalogues raisonnes on Mark Rothko,
Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz for the National Gallery of
Art, Washington. The introductory section deals with the process of
book design, from brief to deadline (which he calls the designer's
muse) - and illustrates his ideas on formats, covers and spines,
bleeds, silhouettes, maps, diagrams, and the commissioning of
illustration and photography. An appendix includes an innovative
metric grid system, specimen settings of his favourite text faces,
and comparative settings in English and other languages. His
biography is illustrated by his graphic work in other fields, and
the bibliography includes books Birdsall has found useful or
inspiring. This uniquely informative and instructive book will
appeal equally to students of typography and graphic design as well
as to anyone with an interest in the design or production of books.
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