After telling myself month after month that I needed to go to New York, and say hello to a few art directors, last week I finally made it. I just couldn’t pass up the AIGA Small Talk presented by UK designers Jon Gray and Jamie Keenan, and the opportunity to mix and mingle a bit with a bunch of talented book designers afterwards.
The talk itself was billed as ‘The Twenty Irrefutable Theories of Book Cover Design,’ with Gray and Keenan going through the various Theories and backing them up with samples from their own portfolios. I wasn’t a very diligent note-taker, but a few of the key theories I recall are: the lure of the human face, using type as a graphic element, repeating elements for interest (or repetition within a book series), playing with the expected and the unexpected. All of the theories rang true, and it was educational to hear the reasoning behind the work done by these two talented gentlemen.
Afterwards, there was the obligatory drinks at a local pub (luckily within stumbling distance of my hotel) and I got to rub shoulders with some real heavyweight New York and visiting book designers. I was thrilled to finally meet the talented Kimberly Glyder, who I’d chatted with via Twitter. I met some new designers and illustrators who I wasn’t already familiar with, and was floored by the quality of their work when I checked their portfolios on Designrelated and on their personal sites (yes, I mean you Karen and Gina!).
Of course, being in New York, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit with some of my favourite book designers, and so many of them were obliging enough to let me come say hello at their places of work. The next day was spent bicycling (the lovely Jane Hotel has free bicycles for its guests) from publisher to publisher and chatting book design. They were all so friendly and generous with their time and insight into the field. So thank you Lisa, Ben, Albert, Henry, Lena and Peter for taking a bit of time from your busy schedules to chat a bit with this Canadian book designer.