Romano Hänni makes beautiful hand-printed books. For example [PDF links]: Typo Picture Book; Typographic Notes (i); Typographic Notes (ii); The Book with the E.
A friend of mine pointed out how all anthropology textbooks have these "exotic" images of others on the covers and never an image of "white women eating salad". Me, being Dr. Smarty Pants, said, "Wouldn't it be great to replace those exotica images with those of middle class American/Australian Caucasians doing stuff, maybe even using stock photos?" Anthropologist Dori Tunstall and her students de-exoticize Anthropology.
A method to produce the perfect book (single-link graphic design essay).
Hack The Cover "This is an essay for book lovers and designers curious about where the cover has been, where it's going, and what the ethos of covers means for digital book design."
Another kind of cookbook. For a couple years now, as evidenced by this old English cookbook, or this old French cookbook, or this even older Italian cookbook, recipes have been conveyed with language. Fitting with our age of copious visual information, Katie Shelly has made a cookbook using just illustrations. Eat your heart out.
Paul Rand was one of the great graphic designers of modern times, designing among other things, logos for Westinghouse, ABC, IBM and UPS. The website has galleries of book design, posters, logos, and much more (open images in new tab or window to see the full-sized image, some books have image galleries, look for a "see inside" button). You can also read his thoughts on design, watch interviews and videos about him, and follow the many links to interesting online Randiana.
In the United States, “we tend to want to use every inch, to fill; up with color, and to get it to do as much as it can do. Everything here is bigger, more commercial, more targeted to sell and to advertise. In Europe, the covers are geared to look more like the way they dress: very simple. Their use of negative space goes along with the theory of less is more." [more inside]
The Art of Penguin Science Fiction is a historical guide to the design of book jackets in the Penguin SF line by James Pardey. But before reading the essay I recommend looking at some of the wonderful cover designs, for example We, Deathworld, Rork!, The Drowned World, Star Maker, The Evolution Man, Fifth Planet and Alternating Currents. They certainly don't make SF book jackets like they used to. All hundred plus covers can also be browsed alphabetically by author. [via The Guardian Books Blog]
The Pelican Project - six decades of Pelican book covers.
Site for Henry Sene Yee, book designer. Site includes finished pieces and rejected proofs.
Irma Boom designs some of the largest, brightest, most colorful, and interesting looking books in print today. In this 2001 interview, Irma talks about her unique work. This Friday she'll be awarded the gold medal at the Leipzig Book Fair for this, "The Most Beautiful Book in the World."
Browsing at my local library, I just came across a display of the winners of this year's Canadian Awards for Excellence in Book Design. I was blown away by the design and content of The Gryphons of Paris, a limited edition collection of black-and-white photos of surpassing beauty. This led me to the web page of the photographer, Ronald Hurwitz, his city vignettes and remarkable portraits. A good reminder that not everything of value can be found on the internet.