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Analytical Book Summaries for Creative Professionals

Here I publish concise summaries and analysis of books that focus on optimizing your life and living more intentionally. Written by Matt C Reynolds.

 

Analytical Book Summaries for Creative Professionals

Here I publish concise summaries and analysis of books that focus on optimizing your life and living more intentionally.

Browse by category: Art & Architecture, Creativity & Habits, Design & Typography, Fiction & Literature, Landscape & Memory, Technology & Society or View All

 
 

Smoke Proofs by Andrew Steeves

 
Visit Gaspereau Press to find    Smoke Proofs  .

Visit Gaspereau Press to find Smoke Proofs.

 
 

The Book in Three Sentences

Andrew Steeves argues we should demand more of the books we purchase. The quality of a book can be a difficult thing to define in quantitative terms because most books are constructed from the same materials and principles. A page layout that soars in one instance may just as easily sour in another; what separates good design from bad is that it cannot be achieved by the simple means of prescription.

Notes on the Book

Steeves openly expresses his frustration of living and working in “a society that elevates basic craftsmanship to a position akin to magic.” His mantra, “I believe that the sort of books my press makes ought simply to be commonplace.” (p15)

Typography, Designers & Publishers

It’s not until early in the twentieth century as mechanization became more predominant that the role of the typographer gained recognition and influence in the publishing trade. (p50)

Steeves draws his influence from the generation of Canadian trade publishers and designers immediately before his time: (p36)

  • Frank Newfeld — McClelland & Stewart

  • Allan Flemming and Will Rueter — University of Toronto Press

  • Stan Bevington and Glenn Goluska — Coach House Press

  • Tim Inkster — Porcupine’s Quill

Or sometimes hiring other relevant publishers like Scott McIntyre — Douglas & McIntyre when large projects arise (p121).

Books as Architectural Expression

On a certain level, a cover’s primary job is simply to protect the book from the elements. But as with building a house, the exterior cladding of the structure offers a much greater opportunity for cultural expression than simply shedding the weather; it is an opportunity worth our engagement. (p86)

 
 
smoke-proofs-andrew-steeves-inside.jpg
 
 
 

Use & Preservation

Unless we are able to communicate the vitality and significance of books and libraries—and, for that matter, of beauty, craftsmanship and wilderness—and successfully engage them in the present moment, we could lose them utterly and be left with their caricatures only. (p33)

Preservation without engagement is not enough. There is no victory in managing a string of small preserves of old-growth books in a world otherwise denuded. (p33)

Quality & Flexibility

Defining quality is difficult. It’s subjective, multi-faceted and complex. While most of us would agree that a book that falls apart as you browse through it in the bookstore has a poor quality binding, once we move beyond such basic expectations any discussion of quality becomes complicated. (p63)

The well-made book and the ho-hum books are often constructed from the same materials and principles; a page layout that soars in one instance may just as easily sour in another. (p106)

Good design cannot be achieved by means of prescription. (p106)