Book Design

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Image features the opening spread of William Morris's book, The Wood Beyond the World. The pages include an illustration of a willowy maiden stepping forward in a lush meadow and elaborate ornamentation. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Reclaiming & Enlivening the Book
William Morris’s The Wood Beyond the World (1894) relates the adventures of Golden Walter, a man who seeks to escape his mundane life and sets out on a sea voyage, eventually gaining control of the kingdom of Stark-Wall and the love of a beautiful maiden. The book was published by the Kelmscott Press, a private...
Image features an unpublished title page design for the book, Occupations of Women and Their Compensation. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Priestess of Book Design
The career of Alice Cordelia Morse reflects the changing role of women in art and society in the late 19th century. Morse was able to achieve success in many artistic fields, designing book covers, illustrations, and stained glass, while also experimenting with other decorative media such as china painting and needlework. Although this title-page design was...
Image features a design for endpapers by Arthur Rackham. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Horrific Design
Arthur Rackham created this captivating endpapers design for Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, published in London by George G. Harrap & Co. in 1935. The book brings Poe’s tales of horror and suspense—including such favorites as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Pit and the Pendulum”—together with the expressive...
Image of Adam Kesner, Minister of Information at Trivial Dispute leads a group in a trivia game at Cooper Hewitt
Graphic Design Meetup: Design is Storytelling
Test your knowledge and explore the role of storytelling in the design process in a delightful evening of short talks and trivial disputes. Cooper Hewitt curator Ellen Lupton discusses her new book, Design Is Storytelling, a guide to narrative thinking for designers. Also on deck: Peter Mendelsund, a brilliant graphic designer and prolific writer who brings...
Image of Gods Man Lynd Ward Cover Blog.
A Wordless Novel: God’s Man
Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Library librarian Elizabeth Broman discusses a 1929 American wordless novel.
Play it, Stravinsky!
Paul Rand was an influential American graphic designer well known for the logos he created for IBM, UPS, ABC and other corporations. His 1947 book Thoughts on Design is considered a seminal text on graphic design. The poster above shows something different from Paul Rand’s oeuvre. It’s not a neat and compact corporate logo; instead...
The ad shows blocks of color depicting the earth and a T cutting down through the earth simulating their product. The T is also the first letter of an equation. Under the equation is a line depicting a wave in the earth.
Elaine Lustig Cohen’s World of Inspiration
At first glance, this graphic field of squares looks almost like an abstract painting. Although this advertisement targeted scientists, designer Elaine Lustig Cohen captures the attention of laypeople and experts alike. Created in 1958 for the oilfield services company Schulberger, the ad promotes the company’s Sonic Log, a device for the identification of soil properties....
book cover
Dancing with Modernism
Written by Gretchen Von Koenig Elements of Geometry by Euclid is one of the most printed books in the world, second only to the Bible. A critical subject for any branch of mathematics, Euclid’s Elements is a timeless book and certainly an ideal project for Bruce Rogers, one of the most prolific American book and...
Game Changers: Irma Boom
Streamed live on October 1, 2015. Best known for her unique design process, Irma Boom is one of the world’s foremost book designers. A graphic designer with an architectural, experimental approach to format and design narrative, Boom has created more than 300 books, including Cooper Hewitt’s own collection handbook. In 2011, she became the youngest-ever...