Book design

book design type & typographyLeave a Comment on Book design

Book design

grand openings 2


Another flea market finding, this book by Léon Bloy first struck me for its spartan cover concept. Opening it leads to a second surprise:


the end papers show a macabre mediæval scene (is it Bosch?).




After the frech title page, the real title follows. I always loved opening titles running across two pages. And it goes on for another spread. Two colour letterpress printing. The typeface used is Comstock.  Jaspert, Berry & Johnson’s Encyclopedia of Typefaces says: ‘A rimmed fat lineale. Bauer call their version Astoria’. Comstock dates – again according to J,B & J – from c. 1880, but here’s a surprise: you can still order it – in lead – from M&H Type!
Further in the book Comstock returns to mark the chapter numbers. Leafing through books from the fifties, set in metal, it strikes me that often the body text is set in rather heavy type.



What I like about second hand books, is they sometimes tell you about their former owner. That is a free extra. I usually keep the inserts, notes, postcards or improvised bookmarks I find in their original place. Expanded books, if you like. Analog hypertext. Here is a peek:


The picture of Mr. Bloy made me curious. If you want to read about his turbulent life and controversial work, there is an English Wikipedia page about him, but the French version has a lot more. Amazing character…

Léon Bloy – La femme pauvre
Le Club Français du Livre
, 1952
page format 135 x 215 mm

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