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10 Outstanding Covers from the AUPresses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show

Posted by on Thursday, January 16, 2020 in 80th Anniversary, Book Events.

The following is a guest post by Drohan DiSanto, designer at Vanderbilt University Press, exploring ten outstanding book covers from the Association of University Presses’ 2019 Book, Jacket, and Journal Show. Vanderbilt UP is currently hosting the traveling Book, Jacket, and Journal Show exhibit on Vanderbilt’s campus, in the Vanderbilt Libraries Special Collections exhibit space at 419 21st Avenue South in Nashville, through January 20.

Since 1965, the AUPresses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show has fulfilled its mission to “honor and instruct”: honoring the design and production teams whose work furthers a long tradition of excellence in book design, and—through the traveling exhibit and an acclaimed annual catalog of selected entries—visually teaching the tenets of good design.

The annual Book, Jacket, and Journal Show exhibit premieres at the AUPresses Annual Meeting, then begins traveling to exhibits around North America—and sometimes around the globe. The 2019 show exhibit is available—beginning in September 2019 and running through July 2020—at forty host presses throughout North America. To view a full list of locations and dates for the traveling 2019 show, visit the AUPresses Design website.

10 Outstanding Covers from the 2019 AUPresses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show
by Drohan DiSanto, Designer at Vanderbilt UP

  1. São Paulo: A Graphic Biography
    Felipe Correa
    University of Texas Press
    Designers: Neil Donnelly and Ben Fehrman-Lee
    From the typography to the substrate to the binding, the design of this book is exceptional. The pages are so flush with experimental zeal, navigating the book delights in ways you might not expect given the at times dry and data-heavy subject matter.
  2. On Gravity: A Brief Tour of a Weighty Subject
    A. Zee
    Princeton University Press
    Designer: Jason Alejandro
    This seemingly effortless, yet assiduously spaced cover uses typography alone to both convey its message and set a playful tone. The cover has an affable, humorous mood not commonly associated with such a minimal approach—sans serif, set all lowercase in black. The spot gloss on the letterforms really enhances the appeal of the cover.
  3. Lola Alvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico
    Stephanie Weissberg, editor
    Yale University Press and Pulitzer Arts Foundation
    Designers: Ryan Polich, Lucia | Marquand
    Cover designer: Ryan Polich
    While both the typeface and cover photograph are in themselves beautiful and judiciously selected, the real triumph of this cover is the choice of cloth and binding. The grey and yellow cloth feels velvety without sliding under your hand, and the unique three-piece binding adds another level of visual and tactile interest.
  4. Penis Envy: The Emotional Costs of Everyday Life
    Mari Ruti
    Columbia University Press
    Designer: Julia Kushnirsky
    This jacket design is amazing on several fronts: bold color, majestic typography, and brash humor. The combination of flamboyant, expressive type and simple, iconic imagery set to sumptuous color makes for one of this year’s most memorable award-winners.
  5. Music by the Numbers: From Pythagoras to Schoenberg
    Eli Maor
    Princeton University Press
    Designer: Chris Ferrante
    This cover design is another instance in which the designer conveys the content and mood by as few means as possible: a strong typographic lock-up and an abstract illustration combine to both suggest the book’s content as well as offer engaging visuals.
  6. The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Waters
    Gary E. Machlis and Jonathan B. Jarvis
    University of Chicago Press
    Designer: Jill Shimabukuro
    The deceptively complicated type treatment is well matched to the stunning cover art and the content of this book. The rules, the color breaks, and the combination of slim sans-serif and bulky Egyptian faces establish the work as an authoritative reference as well as recall the design idioms that we associate with the National Parks’ history.
  7. Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s–Now
    Mindy N. Besaw, Candice Hopkins, and Manuela Well-Off-Man
    University of Arkansas Press
    Designer: Erik Kiesewetter/constance
    This cover delivers a beautiful contrast of austere, International Style typography with lively, erratic color and texture. The contrast is not just visual: the transition from the smooth matte of the belly band to the mild coarseness of the cloth makes this sizeable volume a joy to hold as well as read.
  8. The Infinite Desire for Growth
    Daniel Cohen
    Princeton University Press
    Designer: Faceout Studio, Derek Thornton
    So much drama using so little. A limited color palette, centered all-caps text, and texture are enough to deliver a compelling and well-considered jacket.
  9. Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply
    Dawoud Bey
    University of Texas Press
    Designer: Derek George
    This simple yet powerful combination of beautiful black-and-white photography, limited contemporary type, and restrained use of color lends this entire work a sense of quiet intensity befitting the severity and timeliness of this retrospective of Bey’s work.
  10. Night Moves
    Jessica Hopper
    University of Texas Press
    Designer: Amanda Weiss
    This cover sets the perfect tone for this book. The combination of the image of the blurred street scene and the hand lettering lends this cover an air of intimacy and playfulness that is wonderfully suited to this memoir and celebration of the author’s experience in Chicago’s nightlife.

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