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Photo of Lara Minja's presentation on book design at Form and Function in Great Book Design (April 25, 2019).

Form and Function in Great Book Design: A Panel

By Marian Toledo Candelaria Date: June 12, 2019 Tags: book design, WLU Press

In celebration of the Association of University Presses’ Book, Jacket, and Journal Show, WLU Press organized a panel to discuss the professional practice of book design. Form and Function in Great Book Design took place on April 25 at the Robert Langen Art Gallery and consisted of presentations by three award-winning Canadian designers: Lara Minja  (of Lime Design), Michel Vrana, and Alan Brownoff (of The University of Alberta Press). Each designer’s presentation focused on individual book design practice, the relationship between design and meaning, and current trends in graphic and book design.

The panel complemented the mission of the Association of University Presses’ Book, Jacket, and Journal Show: “to honor and instruct” about the importance of book design to the overall success of a publication.

The panelists explained the multi-faceted process of designing a book, highlighting their specific approaches to the process. In her presentation, Lara Minja defined what good design meant to her as a graphic designer and artist; her elegant approach to book design pays particular attention to the design of table of contents. Michel Vrana, who founded his home graphic design studio in 2009, commented on the differences between designing for trade publishers and for university presses. Finally, Alan Brownoff spoke on how different his design process can be for various projects, even for books published by the same university press.

All three designers had their work honoured in the 2018 AUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show: Lara Minja for Rachel Bryant’s The Homing Place: Indigenous and Settler Literacy Legacies of the Atlantic (WLU Press); Alan Brownoff for Remembering Air India: The Art of Public Mourning, edited by Chandrima Chakrabory, Amber Dean and Angela Failler, and for Geo Takach’s Tar Wars: Oil, Environment and Alberta’s Image (both from U of Alberta Press); and Michel Vrana for Tim Conley’s Useless Joyce (University of Toronto Press).

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