2016 AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show Winners

2016_web_bannerLARGE.jpgOur book designers regularly win awards for both their cover and interior designs. This year is no exception. Several book designs by Amy Ruth Buchanan and Natalie F. Smith were honored in the 2016 AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show. In today’s guest post, Senior Book Designer Amy Ruth Buchanan narrates the award-winning designs, sharing a bit about the creative process behind them.

MaurerHow Would You Like to Pay?
Bill Maurer
Designer: Natalie F. Smith
Book design award

From the start, Ken Wissoker, the acquiring editor for this title, envisioned Maurer’s book, an engaging and straightforward look at money and technology in everyday life, having an almost magazine-like feel in the use of coated white paper and color photos throughout, but small and portable, like a guide book or something you might impulse-buy in the checkout line at the airport book store. Designer Natalie Smith ran with this, designing the book with a small trim size (5 x 7) and rounded corners, like a pocket guidebook. The cover is bright orange with a simple and striking typographic design featuring a grid of 9 dots, evoking keypads and coins at the same time. The dot grid device carries through to the interior design as well, where it serves as a chapter opening divider page for each of the nine numbered chapters: for chapter 1, one dot is white, for chapter 2, two dots, and so on. One of my favorite designs of 2015!

Edgar Heap of BirdsEdgar Heap of Birds

Bill Anthes
Designer: Amy Ruth Buchanan
Book design award

I knew a little about the work of Edgar Heap of Birds before I started this project. I was mostly familiar with his text-based pieces: installations, signage, billboards, and other works combining English and indigenous languages in startling ways. But I knew nothing about his “Neuf” series of colorful paintings. Bill Anthes suggested one of these paintings for the cover, so I wanted my design to work with the painting and to take advantage of the four-color printing used throughout without upstaging Heap of Birds’ work.

Neuf is the Cheyenne word for “four.” Four is a significant number in Cheyenne cosmology, relating to many key concepts in Cheyenne culture (such as the four sacred colors, the four directions, and certain ceremony cycles). Anthes organized his book into 4 chapters (Land, Words, Histories, and Generations). Inspired by the cover art, the author’s deliberate four-part organization, and the crossed elements in the flag of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribe, I used a simple “x” motif for the title page and four numbered chapters, with the chapter numbers moving around to different quadrants. Colors used for the title page, table of contents, and chapter opening pages echo the blues, greens, purples, and browns of the Neuf painting.

Writing CultureWriting Culture and the Life of Anthropology
Orin Starn, editor
Designer: Amy Ruth Buchanan
Cover design award

My colleague Julie Thomson, in the Books Marketing Department, was the first to think of this artist for this book. I love Nick Cave’s weird and wonderful “sound suits” so I pounced on the idea. This edited collection addresses the past, present, and future of anthropology, starting with the legacy of the seminal 1986 book Writing Culture, by James Clifford and George Marcus, the cover of which, I was told, itself sparked debate in its use of a stereotypical scene of a white anthropologist writing in the field. So I liked the idea of getting far away from depictions of ethnographers or ethnographic subjects, as well as from my other idea, which had been to do something with the act or implements of writing. Instead we have three of Nick Cave’s creatures: one looks like a space explorer, one has a sort of target on its face, and the other has an abacus for a face: a distant relative of the modern computers we might use today to write about “writing culture.” My past, present, and future creatures creep through a flow chart or taxonomy of some sort, which carries over to the back cover as well.

Keywords in SoundKeywords in Sound
David Novak and Matt Sakakeeny, editors
Designer: Amy Ruth Buchanan
Cover design award

My initial proposed design for this cover featured a contemporary art installation that used an assortment of what looked like bullhorn cones or outdoor speakers. But the editors were committed to avoiding any representation of sound technology, so no imagery of record players, speakers, or any other material sound-making object. Luckily the editors had an intriguing suggestion. Lissajous curves are visualizations of complex harmonic motion. After a couple of dead-ends attempting to secure rights for images I found online, I asked a math professor friend, Mark McCombs, to draw these for me. The grid of multiple Lissajous curves is meant to evoke the collection of keywords.

Impotence EpidemicThe Impotence Epidemic
Everett Yuehong Zhang
Designer: Natalie F. Smith
Cover design award

I will let this wonderful and witty typographic design by Natalie Smith speak for itself!

Asians Wear ClothesAsians Wear Clothes on the Internet
Minh-Ha T. Pham
Designer: Natalie F. Smith
Cover design award

Susanna Lau, a.k.a. Susie Bubble, is one of the most well-known Asian style bloggers in the fashion blogosphere and she is discussed throughout the book. In this design by Natalie Smith, the model (Lau) “wears” the typography, her head forming the hidden “a.” Her fabulous outfit inspired Natalie’s use of pattern and color on the spine and back panel as well!


Congratulations to Natalie and Amy on their awards!


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