How and When to Wear a Tuxedo Wrapper

A very fine resource got written up on the Craft: blog the other day, and I expected to see it all over the interdesignweb within hours. Since such ubiquitization does not yet seem to have occurred, I hereby draw your attention to the Indiana University Libraries’ photolicious Making a [Casebound] Book. This article is just one small part of the utterly nerdtastic Repair and Enclosure Treatments Manual, which is all about the care, feeding, and restoration of books.

This, FYI, is a tuxedo wrapper:

tuxedo wrapper

My favorite part of the manual, though, is this gem of an unanswered query, on the tuxedo wrapper intro page:


The criteria for this enclosure are…

…OK, what ARE the criteria for this enclosure?

Clearly, the question to ask yourself is, Where will this book be going? Mrs. Post prescribes a Tuxedo for the following forms of social engagement:

1. At the theater.
2. At most dinners.
3. At informal parties.
4. Dining at home.
5. Dining in a restaurant.

Remember: “If ever in doubt what to wear, the best rule is to err on the side of informality. Thus, if you are not sure whether to put on your dress suit or your Tuxedo, wear the latter.”

Now you know.

Designery People, Take Note:

Ampersand Duck has put up a pithy post about planning a printed publication, which is addressed to “aspiring artists and performers”—e.g., your friends and mine, who’re often asking if we can just help them design this little tiny promotional card or booklet or brochure, and then sticking us with an impossible deadline and budget, as well as worthless art and copy. And here is her story of why she was inspired to write the piece.

Sometimes you might get hit with poorly thought-out projects even at your day job, though of course I’ve never encountered such misfortunes myself.

I recommend that you write your own version of Ms. Duck’s how-to to address your own typical quick-and-dirty undertakings, and keep it handy to give to those talented friends when they inevitably ask you for help.


Here is a short-run signed gift edition whose case stamp (right foreground) I got to design (I did the interior, too; not worth showing).

OSC Gift Edition

The vermilion endsheets, as you can see, are the best part. The headbands have yellow and white stripes. The red pigment on the title is deeper and more lacquerlike than it looks in the photo.

It’s not at all inspired, I’m afraid, but the author said he’s happy with it, and that’s what counts, right? The jacket design for the non-gift edition (left) is by Jamie Stafford-Hill (the stamped one has a clear acetate dust jacket); I don’t remember who did the illustration. I originally tried to make a simplified version of the whole illustration into a two-color stamp, but it just didn’t look good. So after too many days of fiddling around in Photoshop, I finally went with just the gold dome.

The result won’t even make it into the Guild of Book Workers Best of Late November awards. Sigh.

WWLWHD? What would you have done?

Bindings! Ahoy!

Man, oh, man. Sheila (“my” Sheila?) just pointed Cooper Renner to a page of book bindings at A Caballo Artes del Libro, who got them from the Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibition site.

The Billy Budd one. By Jerilyn Glenn Davis. I’m in love with it.

Farmers by Sarah Creighton is also very nice.

Claudia Cohen‘s Schriftgiesserei im Schattenbild.
To Remember Ray Frederick Coyle, by Jeannie Sack.
Livre D’Amour, by Peter Geraty.
De la Dominoterie à la Murbrure, by Joanne Margretha Sonnichsen.
Spaces, by Catherine Stanescu.

The page is still loading, and I think I’m hyperventilating . . .

(And I’m now even more disappointed by the staid case stamp I just did for a gift edition of one of our books. BO-ring!)

Georgette Heyer gets a new dress

I’m procrastinating on two (already overdue—why rush?) freelance projects by catching up on reading teh entire intarweb. It was thus that I saw Ampersand Duck’s two fascinating, awesome, very thoroughly illustrated posts about rebinding a beat-up Georgette Heyer novel: part 1, part 2. So. Very. Cool.

Mistress Duck lives in Canberra, Australia, so if my visitor logs are correct, most of us can’t go take a class with her teacher, who sounds like a treasure. But if you’re in New York, the Center for Book Arts offers tons of delicious-sounding classes. Those near Boston can go to the Massachusetts College of Art , and you Bay Areans can go to the San Francisco Center for the Book. I’m planning to take French at FIAF this fall, but maybe in the spring I’ll try to get into Bookbinding I.

Beautiful Bindings

Little Folks in Feathers and Fur

If you were at all interested in the recent posts about bindings—or if you just like to look at pretty things—do visit the University of Rochester’s exhibit Beauty for Commerce: 1890–1910:

This exhibit chronicles the growth of English and American publishers’ binding from its infancy in the 1830s to its decline in the early 20th century. Highlighted are the distinct changes in design that reflected not only technical innovations in the means of book production and decoration but shifting social and cultural trends as well. Viewed as a group, publishers’ bindings represent a revolution in the history of the book. Viewed individually, each binding offers an often gilded window to the fashion of its day.

Some specimens that caught my eye: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Slaver, slaver, drool drool.

[Thanks, POLLEN!]

A Hard Case

Update: Now, with pictures!

All right, kids. You like details? Here are some details.

Pick up three hardcover books, preferably from different publishers, and remove the dust jackets. Look at the spines. Do you see the title, author, and publisher’s name or logo stamped on each spine in metallic foil? Probably. Are the colors of the foil different—e.g., one’s silver, one’s gold, one’s copper? Right. Somebody picked those. And actually there are many shades of silver, gold, and copper to choose from—not to mention colored metallics and matte colors. Somebody designed the stamp—a die—to print the spine, too. Some publishers like to have it complement the interior design; others like for it to echo the jacket.

Spines of three of the more interestingly bound books in my possession. The top is from 1816. The middle is undated but probably from 1900 or 1901, based on cues in the content; it’s blind-stamped. The bottom is from 1954 and has raised cords.
Continue reading “A Hard Case”