Discovering Beauty in the Stacks: Book Design by Ernst Reichl

Ernst Reichl, Designer (1900-1980) (photo via Design Observer)
Ernst Reichl, Designer, 1900-1980 (photo via Design Observer)

Book design is something thought about by admittedly few readers. When we pick up a book, don’t we just want to read the words on its pages without distraction or difficulty, without thinking about aesthetics or visual harmony? In other words, read without being consciously aware of the process of reading? Well, yes! This is almost always the case. This is also what book designers are typically trying to accomplish when they select or create a typeface and make decisions about size, line spacing and page layout. Any book in a reader’s hands is the result of many aesthetic decisions which are, paradoxically, meant to go unnoticed. In fact, there is a maxim that says you shouldn’t notice good design. So there is good reason after all that we, as readers, don’t often think about book design.     Continue reading

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