Wednesday, April 20, 2011


When I first heard an architecturally-trained designer use the word "materiality," I thought I'd never be in a position to be so wonderfully academic. Well, book jackets and covers now epitomize materiality.

I'm not the first to note this. As content goes digital, the packaging gets much more physical, tactile, dimensional. Barbara DeWilde's brilliant (shown in an un-brilliant snap) jacket for The Troubled Man nods to the furniture of hot metal typesetting. Sagmeister Inc's packaging for World Changing is bee-yootifully embossed, varnished, and whiz-banged.

A stroll through the New York Book show the other night revealed embroidered covers, heat transfers on basswood, and silk-screened transparent acetate covers revealing printed and embossed cloth covers. Pretty tactile. Lovely, too.

Bindings/jackets/covers aren't alone in their materiality—or lack thereof. Codes is masterpiece of diecutting, with a credit for the paper design.

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