In preparing for this discussion Andrew went off on a bit of a rant. Here’s a snippet of his email sent to Ian talking about how modern internet culture devalues creative work of all kinds:
I’m talking more than just the design world. I observe a growing public attitude that the internet can provide free (or nearly free) photographs, writing, design, advertising, games, etc. Instead of paying writers and photographers, Huffington Post, Williams Sonoma, and Martha Stewart get people to contribute articles and photographs in exchange for “exposure”. Instead of paying for an ad on a popular cooking website, companies email a press release for their new product—the idea being that the blog should post it as “free content.” Instead of doing his own work, a college student copies free term papers off a website. Instead of hiring a graphic designer, a local bagel shop asks a crowdsource site to direct 99 designers to work on his project. He doesn’t like the result, and pays no one. Instead of buying the new Playstation game, somebody downloads a pirated copy.
Those who once paid for creative services now expect these services for free. There have always been people willing to do free work for professional exposure, but the internet gathers them all together, crowding out properly paid professionals. Business have always wanted to keep costs low, but the internet makes it easy to acquire free creative output. More people take part in this, and the number of people who think it’s all ok grows. It’s a mass psychology thing. This growth creates a devalued perception of all professional creatives—those who participate in spec work and even those who don’t.
Book cover design on Front Row / BBC Radio 4, December 20, 2011. Audio of UK art directors Suzanne Dean (Random House) and Alice Moore (Harper Collins) reflecting on how the role of the cover designer might evolve. Their talk begins at about minute 21:00.
Making the cover: The Fallback Plan on the Melville House blog, December 16, 2011. Christopher King reveals the design process which lead to the approved cover of The Fallback Plan.
How to Cover an Impossible Book on The Design Observer, November 25, 2011. There was a cover design competition (don’t worry, not the spec-work kind) asking designers to reinterpret This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman. This article discusses the merits of ten of the entries.
Usually Andrew and Ian outline a list of talking-points before recording, but in this episode we try to just “wing it”. The talk meanders through subjects like pumping iron, glamorous home office decor, manly tea, raw milk, and the book cover’s effect on the reading experience. Next week we’ll go for a more carefully composed format.
In this latest episode Ian snoops around somebody’s book collection, then it’s all about eBooks. It seems Andrew is reluctant to hop aboard the eReader thing, Ian is busy producing eBooks for clients, and both hope that future printed books will have more high-end production treatments (like foils, die cuts, embossing, debossing, gilding, special materials, etc). If you like what you hear, please leave a review on iTunes.
I just found this in a box. It’s a hand-made bookplate I sent along with client Christmas cards a few years back. I carved the stamps from a block of rubber. Both the paper and the ink are acid-free. (image enlarged to show detail)
P.S. You can get the blocks of rubber, carving tools, and ink at Michaels.