Top 5 Book Design Accounts on Instagram
By Dominic Ayre RGD, Partner & Creative Director at Hambly & Woolley
Is it an impossible task to suggest just 5 Best Book Design Instagram accounts… Yes, it is. So I decided to mix in some that I feel are maybe lesser known as well as some of the heavy hitters in the community. All complaints should be sent to the RGD team and not directly to me… ba ha ha…
I came across Na Kim’s work when she was featured on a 'Best Designed Book Covers' list for the NY Times a couple of years ago (that also lead me to She Designs Books). Na Kim is one of those amazing designers who doesn’t have an immediate ’style’ but you can see the intelligence and concept in her cover creations.
One of our design team member at Hambly & Woolley left us during COVID for a new position. We generally buy a book as a goodbye gift and in this case I purchased Anni & Josef Albers: Equal and Unequal. WHAT. A. BOOK. I was blown away as I generally am by Phaidon publications… This was designed by Julia Hastings. There are not many posts on her account but honestly, each piece is stunning.
I have always been attracted to book covers and designs that are a bit more idiosyncratic. Paul Sahre’s instagram is definitely not just books but tells a larger story about his process and personality. I think that at times design can take itself too seriously and the OOPS Instagram account has a bunch of stuff that helps you remember the fun of designing.
The Most Beautiful Swiss Books
I stare at the work that is featured on this Instagram account all the time. This annual Swiss competition is run by the country’s Federal Office of Culture (cough, cough, Government of Canada I am looking at you)… The books that are featured are often not just beautiful but conceptual and stunning physical artifacts…
As designers, we all know that black & white wins every time. I came across the work of Amsterdam’s Haller Brun when I saw their design for the book Parliament. Parliament was so simple as an idea but also with a very specialized audience. Parliament is a book about the design and layout of over 193 plenary halls which sounds dry but is a very fascinating study in order and design. Oh yes, the rest of their work is lovely too…
I mean both of these are almost too easy:
Let’s be honest. In the last 10 years there hasn’t been a bigger name in book design in my opinion. Everything that Coralie Bickford-Smith touched turns to gold (sometimes literally). As a Senior Designer for Penguin Books the impact of CBS’s work is unquestionable. From patterns, to typography, to the craft of binding (and even authoring herself) CBS does it all...
It is near impossible to say ’this is my favourite book…’ but one that will always be at the top of the heap for me is the Jay-Z biography Decoded. As a book it is sort of simple. It tells the history of Jay-Z, the hip hop legend, through anecdotes and visual breakdowns of his songs. It highlights not only the documentary qualities of the tracks stories but shows you the lyrical architecture. The book has coffee table aspirations and minimal design aesthetics but Rodrigo was able to keep a grittiness of New York which is at the centre of all of Jay’s works.
Dominic has worked in Toronto as a designer for more than 25 years. At Hambly & Woolley, Dominic focuses on high-level strategic initiatives with clients such as York University, the RGD, OCAD University, CIFAR and Quadrangle Architects. Currently on faculty at OCAD U, Dom is an enthusiastic mentor to new designers and is known in the design community for his expertise in typography, web platforms, design trends and popular culture.
Read other inspirational articles by Dominic Ayre RGD:
Top 5 Music Focused Projects Made by 5 Music Focused Designers
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