Monday, 9 July 2012

The end's not near, it's here.

Yes, the end is here. Thanks to Band of Horses for the title. And I think I've saved the best to last, well what I think is super pretty. 
This is for You by Rob Ryan was published in 2007, and when it first came out I pleaded with my sister, working at vicbooks at the time, to buy it for me. Being the loving sister, she did. And it is beautiful. Here's a picture of the dust jacket and book itself. The book explores themes of love and loneliness, and the prominent colours on the covers help to emphasis this. The thing that first caught my eye with this book with the bright red pinned against a very white background. As well as this, the cut-out nature of the book intrigued me. As did the endorsement by Sophie Dahl; the same cut-out lettering has been used for the endorsement, and she's pretty awesome - writing and modelling and stuff. The continuation of the red to the back cover is also a nice way to continue a theme. 
Before you ask, no I did not take this picture upside-down. When you take the dust jacket off, this is how the book looks - upside-down. I don't know if mine's an awkward dud or if this is how it's supposed to be - I've never seen another copy. But anyway, the red theme has continued through from the dust jacket, which makes me happy - red is the colour of love, people, and that's what this book is all about. If I saw this book on the shelf, without it's jacket, I'd still pick it up. The simplicity of the cover alone is enough to intrigue me, plus the bell on the front is pretty cute.

To the inside! Well almost the inside, to the end papers and dust jacket flaps! I'm a very sentimental person, and a bit of a hopeless romantic, so the first thing I saw when opening the book was the left-hand flap here. I love it. The typeface is the same as the cover - a handmade sans-serif that's actually pretty easy to read when you take the time. This isn't a book to rush through, the pages can be confusing, as you'll see soon. The endpapers are beautiful too, it's the first time I've seen ones that incorporate the actual title of the book into the pattern. 

As an illustrated book, there are no page numbers, which is nice. Each page does stick to a frame, as you'll see in later pictures. Ryan sticks to the margins, probably so no picture is wrecked if the cutting goes wrong. The green of this page stands out wonderfully, like the red, against the white stock. The green also tied in nicely to the leaves in this spread, as the man walks and thinks. The text is in the same all caps as the cover and flaps, enforcing his walking and thinking and making it super easy to read. So simple, and so lovely. 

This is probably the hardest spread in the book to read. The pages mirror each other, as a son and mother talk. The colours compliment each other, while reflecting the gender of each character. The typeface is still the cutout style and a sans-serif, however it's in lowercase and much harder to read. This comes back to this being a book you read because you want to know what it has to say. It may make you work hard, but it's worth it.
Here's another full page spread. You can even see the stitches for the binding - still good quality. This has the easy-to-read all caps sans-serif, and really is just a beautiful page. You can see in this spread, and the previous one, the way Ryan does keep inside the invisible margins. By being consistent, it helps the reader to become familiar (to a basic level) with how each page will be laid out. I also like they way 'that' is stretched out over the two pages, there's no effort on his cutting to cram it or unbalance the heart.

I just wanted to throw this spread in because it shows the theme of loneliness that's explored with love through the book. The first time I looked at it, I read 'I am not alone' but missed the 'And I wrote and wrote'. Ryan's ability to create a stunning piece of visual art that acts as great narrative too. This is one of the pages that you can actually see that the images are Ryan's cutout pieces of paper - bottom right-hand corner. Not sure if it's intentional, but it adds to this spread, since he tells the reader nothing's gonna happen until you start, and he started cutting and clearly never stopped. He has a store even!

Last spread I promise! It's the last pages of the book, so it kinda has to be anyway... I love that he's kept the fun cut-out for the dedication, while switching to a more traditional sans-serif for the imprint. It makes it super easier to read, and this is important information for some people. As with most illustrated books, the imprint appears at the back of the book. It doesn't disrupt the flow of the book, and since most people reading this book won't actually need to know this information, it makes the most sense.
I see new things in This is for You every time I look at it, which is exactly what a good book should offer - continuous learning.

Man, this post has the best design ever! So proud of myself, it's only taken a few posts to get the hang of blogspot... But anyway, that's it from me about book design, my scrapbook is due in today. Unless something looks super awesome, then maybe I'll share it with you.

Until next time,

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