Navigation Menu+

Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover


Shown here is a recent book cover we designed for Paul Dry Books in Philadelphia. “Style an Anti-Textbook,” by Richard Lanham is a book that regards writing as “pleasure rather than duty.” It’s basically an antidote to your typical, boring classroom book on how to write “well.” We thought that this “revolutionary” approach to writing lent itself to this typographic treatment inspired, of course, by Russian Constructivism. But I guess, having the title and this typographic, constructivist inspired cover, could also mean that it’s meaning and the book’s content, could also be read in different ways, depending on your perspective. And so it was that the esteemed San Francisco Museum of Modern Art snapped up 60 copies of the book for their in-house museum store, figuring that the book was of course about design, not writing. However, on closer inspection of the cover, they were surprised to see that that book had nothing to do with design, or constructivism, but rather writing and the teaching of writing. Maybe the old axiom of not judging a book by its cover remains true but it also makes me wonder how much text people actually read on a cover?

Sadly, SFMOMA returned all the copies. I suppose it goes to show, that you truly cannot judge a book by its cover, especially if you don’t read all the copy.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.