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Book Design - Academic

The Academic market is usually pretty conservative, and the titles produced for that market, generally text-based, with not much imagery. So the solution to producing elegant design is usually derived from my love and understanding of how different typefaces work with the available page area - pure sequences of mass and space. Starting with the required structure, I look to have the information flow as smoothly and discretely as possible from text beginning to end, while retaining the hierarchy. 

In this market covers can end up being anything from wildly cutting-edge to extraordinarily safe - depending on the projected target audience, at the discretion of the publisher. Sometimes those little posters have to sell the book - at other times the content sells itself and all you have to do is put a title on it. I frequently have to use supplied images of dubious quality to create some magic.


Melbourne University Press Covers

Book Design - Academic MUP covers

Clinical Parasitology uses variably low-quality images of parasites taken through microscopes, supplied on scratched transparencies, so I used the images as jewel-like cameos to get around the problem of the image quality.

Continent of Mystery uses an illustration I did in the style of lithographic posters that were produced to advertise Sydney on the 1930s - at the publisher's request.

Ethics into Action uses a low-grade B+W photo of a protest. I down-played the image, emphasised the author's name and book title, and gave it all a distressed, home-made poster look.

More Than a Game uses a relatively uninteresting B+W photo of an early 1900s footy crowd, which I reduced to background for this 3-colour cover. I constructed a small graphic, reminiscent of trade-marks of the period that got stamped onto leather, to carry the lengthy sub-title. 

The MUP Encyclopaedia of Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy uses a purely typographic approach as there were no relevant images supplied. The type is referential to fantasy and science-fiction book typography, is graphically treated to appear embossed, and sits on a surface that looks like some sort of cellular alien skin.

A Little History of Australia is the shortest history of Australia ever written, and a tiny book. It would have been lost in a bookshop so it got its own counter-pack, which matched the cover art I'd already painted. It looked great, and turned out to be a best-seller.


Spectrum Publications Covers

Book Design - Academic Spectrum covers

Spectrum Publications is a small Melbourne publisher, producing an eclectic mix of religious, history, music, and text books, as well as music. They sell into subscription markets, to independent bookshops, and directly by mail-order. I usually had a supplied image of low quality to work with when designing their covers.



Clinical and Fieldwork Placement (Oxford University Press)

 Book Design - Academic Clinical Fieldwork

This book for professionals and students in the health field is a typical tertiary-level textbook. It outlines everything from basic concepts and specific methods of health-care interaction to broader issues such as ethics and professional responsibility. The text presents examples of multi-disciplinary approaches and numerous case studies. A lot of different components needed to be distinguished while maintaining the cohesion of each chapter. I only used a couple of highly legible and easily distinguishable type-faces, using panels, shadows, icons and other devices to distinguish the many parts.

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 Seven Centuries of Poetry in English (Oxford University Press)

Book Design - Academic 7 Centuries cover

This anthology includes many different forms of poetry, written over seven hundred years. Line lengths varied greatly and poetry setting has a lot of conventions and special features, all of which had to be accounted for. To deal with these problems I used the typeface Plantin for legibility and readability over a wide range of type sizes and in all components of this type family - Roman, Bold and Italic. It has a two-colour cover.

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Bitter, Black, and Sweet (RMIT Editing)

Book Design - Academic Bitter black

Each author in this anthology had to write a food-related story and provide a recipe for food or beverage referred to in the text. As soon as I read the title of his book I had the idea for the cover and the section structure - a typographic approach, based on the kinds of typefaces you'd find on food and beverage packaging and restaurant menus. It was was nominated for an APA design award.

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Reference Book

Textiles of Southeast Asia (Oxford University Press)

This definitive title of over 400 pages is a history of textile development and use in SE Asia. Each section is devoted to a different cultural tradition.

Section openings are marked by a plate showing a textile detail. A three column grid allows flexibility to accommodate images of all proportions, body text, and the lengthy technical captions. The images are a mixture of colour and B+W images and only 50% of the book was available for colour printing so a lot of pic juggling and jigging of the layout was required to get the pics placed near the relevant text.

Book Design - Academic Textiles

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