My Ideal Bookshelf: The Books That Make the Designer

Visually, the average bookshelf is a mess. Arranged along single planks are these hundreds of objects of every conceivable dimension and color, spanning decades—centuries, even—of our cultural history. Stately black-and-orange Penguin Classics butt against the garish hues of a science …

A Report on Comic-Con… and Covert CIA Actions

Last week’s Comic-Con at San Diego’s Convention Center was overloaded with activities. If you were a Hollywood celeb–obsessed fan you may have spent much, if not most, of your time stuck in lines. But if you were a lover of …

Illustrated Classics of African-American Literature

Students: If you plan to cheat on your book reports, take a look at Graphic Classics. As Art Spiegelman put it, “Comics are a gateway drug to literacy”; for the visually oriented, this series will open doors to literature. It’s also …

Say, What's a Flong?

Does anyone know what “flong” means? I bet you don’t know what a “pop test” is? I enjoy collecting antique terms, especially for the design and printing fields. I take impish joy asking young students what “leading” means and how …

3:02 PST. Pacific Standard Gift Book Time, part 2

This is a follow-up to my earlier post on holiday gift suggestions for people who like their art, and art catalogs, served with a hearty helping of design content. . Catalog L.A.: Birth of an Art Capital 1955-1985 Centre Pompidou …

3:01 PST. Pacific Standard Gift Book Time, part 1

Forget the Rose Parade; the real reason to be in L.A. right now is Pacific Standard Time… the arts program, not just the zone. A six-month “happening” that kicked off in October, PST is the largest collaborative art project ever …

Long Beach Comic Con: My "7 Highlights" List

  These days, the so-called San Diego “Comic”-Con‘s main attraction is sugary TV and movie confectionery. But if you enjoy graphic novels and cartoons – and, well, scary stuff – you may have attended the recent Comic & Horror Con …

Books That Didn't Make the Cut

In the days before PDFs, we who wanted to sell books to publishers made dummies. Sometimes they were just a few pasted together pages, other times virtually the entire book was dummied up. I would produce one dummy a week. …

The Intimate Side of Type

Tooting My Own Horn Department: Typography Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico (designed by Ashley Olsson) is now published by Thames and Hudson (UK) and Princeton Architectural Press (USA), as well as in French and Italian editions. This companion …