Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Web Design about Books
I saw a wonderful book cover design by Peter Mendelsund and so went to his website. I can’t stop looking at this layout.
I love restrained creative type. The bracket-as-open-book on the left is so satisfying because the fonts and layout are not super flashy. Overall, the design has both a contemporary and traditional feel.
The wide tracking in “Peter Mendelsund” and random alignment in the list starting with “posters” is very contemporary, while the composition of the red and black bars is formal and minimal. The background image is actual paper, yellowing and slightly irregular. Both the formalism and use of paper are a nod to tradition.
People who like books are attracted to the object-quality of a book, its thingness, that you can hold it in your hands. Paper appeals to the senses—it smells, makes a sound as you turn pages, feels smooth or rough under your fingers. The idea of curling up with your laptop is not nearly as warm or appealing as curling up with a book.
The addition of the scrawled arrow is a beautiful contrast to the perfect geometric forms; it will also be recognized by the bibliophile who scrawls notes on a page margin. The message I get from this design is, “Peter Mendulsund is a smart designer who understands the book as aesthetic object.”