The Latest Book Covers: What Does a Book Say With Its Cover?

Do you judge your books by its cover? Because, I do, and unless it’s a well known novel – say “War and Peace” (Leo Tolstoy) and/or “Farewell to Arms” (Ernest Hemingway), I first have to be visually attracted to the book to open it and learn about the content and if it doesn’t grab my attention at a book store and/or library, I keep on going…

That’s one of the things the book marketers need to consider, and as much as they say that ‘sex sells’, there’s enough of mystery to keep in the ‘pants’ to keep a reader motivated enough to open a book. One doesn’t have to show everything, keep it a mystery. Keep us guessing by something very alluring in a cover – and it can be just a typeface, like the one Tony Palladino did for the “Psycho” (Alfred Hitchcock) book.

Psycho’s book cover is still as timeless and fascinating as it was decades ago when it just came out. Only to think that it was just a plain all black (or white) cover with a Psycho word on it, but the way the type was executed became a masterpiece of the typography and has been studied at the design schools for years. I was fortunate enough to take a class with Tony Palladino, who still teaches at School of Visual Arts, and having been a big fan of his ‘Psycho’, I had to talk to him about it. I learned that it is [not surprisingly at all] one of his absolute favorite works. He also told me that he did it by hand, he just tore the word apart by hand, than took a photo of it and the rest is history. He also said that Hitchcock loved it so much that they used it as a movie title and in the movie promo materials. It’s been copied by many designers and marketers since then…

So, it’s not necessary the image that can attract the reader, it could be the words, executed in a very interesting, unique way… So, here are the latest books that just came out. What do you think, are they ‘on target’ or not? Continue reading

Trader Joe’s Cool Creatives: Are You Hiring, Please?

I’ve been a big fan of Trader Joe’s store since I’ve first discovered it in California in 2002. But besides the great inexpensive selection of foods they offer, they do incredibly creative design work – the interior/decor design, promo materials, in-store posters and signs.

Here’s a few of their latest, which I adore every time I visit it on the Upper West Side, NYC. A very smart way to re-do the famous Broadway shows into Trader Joe’s themes, don’t you think? Absolutely awesome!

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The Sweets of Harrods: A New Logo & Packaging Look For Almond Brittle

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As my final project for the Typography class at the School of Visual Arts that I’ve just finished two weeks ago we had to re-design a logo for the Harrods’ famous sweet & confectionary product: Chocolate Coated Butter Almond Brittle / Milk, Dark, and Chocolate and then apply it to a package, which we also had to design with a luxury product in mind.

If you don’t know, Harrods is the luxury department store in UK. Think of it as the ‘Bergdorf Goodman‘ of London. Thus, the logo and the packaging had to reflect the luxury aspect of it. Almond Brittle that costs $16 is definitely not your usual Trader Joe’s chocolate covered nuts for $3.99-4.99. Thus, the logo and packaging for the Harrod’s almond brittle had to look, feel & ‘smell’ like luxury. Continue reading

Making The Type Talk: The Wall-E

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Don’t you just love guessing the typeface every time you look at some text. Ever since I’ve been studying the typography, I can’t help myself but try to guess the typeface/fonts everywhere I go and/or whatever I look at or read. At some point it starts to drive me crazy, because I do it subconsciously  and then catch myself doing it.

It especially drives me crazy if I can’t guess the font, or, when I see that there’s less diversity in the fonts that the surroundings use.

We had an interesting discussion in one of my typography classes, way back, about the fact that in the beginning of the 20th Century, for example, the business owners (from store owners and first banks to the medical offices and entertainment centers) made an effort to use the HANDMADE typeface. Continue reading

Making the Right Choice: It Ain’t Easy, Ya Know

So, there! The spring term has come to an end, and making the selection of the works I’d like to include in my portfolio has never been easy. I’m debating with myself on which pieces I should go with. Perhaps you can help me to make the selection?

Which one should I choose for a portfolio piece? Continue reading

Art in America: Redesigning The Logo

One of the last projects we are doing in our Typography class has to do with the editorial design, or, to be exact – we have to re-design the Art in America magazine, starting with the logo.

We were told to think about the logo redesign in relationship to how it works on a cover – which makes sense, you can’t put a comedy type font on a magazine like Diabetic Living, right?

Then, after we redesigned the logo, the next part was to design a cover incorporating the new logo, but I’ll talk about it later. Let’s take care of the very first part of the assignment – the logo re-design.

So, the current logo has a relatively ‘modern’ look, and also very clean, very readable, but I wanted to completely redesign the feel of it. I wanted to show that the art in America goes as far as to the beginning of the century. I also wanted to ‘revive’ the fonts that are more ‘old school’, like a hand-writing, something that Louise Fili would be happy about. (Personally, I see more and more of the modern typography and less and less of the art deco types of the fonts.

Here’s what I came up with: Continue reading

Best Free Font Websites

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Tom Violence fonts

Do you ever struggle finding new fonts for your graphic or logo designs, or just for fun projects? Do you know that there are a lot of fonts/types in the graphic programs, like Photoshop and InDesign, that are not real types, but kind of invented for the computer use only and translate no originality or uniqueness of any sort? That is why, more often than we think, the designers go online to search for that one right font for their project, like the one I did for the poster project I talked about in the previous blog I did for the American Life League.

For my anti-abortion poster I chose to use the ‘violent’ font – or, in other words, the font that looks, feels and reads like ‘violence’, which I wanted to use for the world – aborted, see here. Obviously, my first step was to go online and search for it, and I found it here.

Once I saved the ‘table’ of the violent alphabet on my desktop, I then imported it as an image into my Photoshop and cut out and pasted the letters I needed it – one by one into my poster, followed by multiple readjustments and kerning. This was a tedious thing to do and I’m sure there are easier ways to do so. I wouldn’t have to do it if the Photoshop offered a type like that.

But, no matter how many times the Adobe design suite gets revised, there still aren’t many good quality fonts to use and they are missing a lot of very ‘character-based’ font.

This is why many designers – especially those working in the corporate America – end up using the most generic and old-school fonts like Helvetica, Franklin Gothic, Times New Roman, and Interstate, proven over time – the fonts that’s been used over and over and over again.

And this is why designers around the world search out and share the new finds of the fonts with the other designers via online tools and platforms, especially the fonts that are free. Despite the fact that some designers still may shy away from free fonts for aesthetic reasons, they should still consider giving them a shot. Continue reading