concept to publication

Month: May 2009

Friday Roundup

“Honour commercio’s energy yet aid the linkless proud, the plurable with everybody.” — Finnegans Wake


The four-color process

This photo, which I took at the Snoeck Ducaju & Zoon printing plant in Ghent, Belgium, a few years back, clearly shows the four-color printing process. The workers are cleaning the presses, and they have removed the plates. From back to front you can see the colors of conventional four-color (CMYK) printing: black (the “key,” K), cyan (C), magenta (M), and yellow (Y).

Yellow plates are made not to look quite the color of yellow ink in order to see them better. The yellow is added last, and too much can create a kind of milky fog, so adjusting the yellow is often a place to start in color correcting on press.


When kerning goes bad, 2 . . .

. . . and here the font aids and abets.


via BuzzFeed (“I went to this store. It was a huge disappointment.”)


Ugliest Google logo ever

Just saying.


A designer’s resume

From bulooji’s photostream.


via Fosfor Gadgets


Print vs. electronic technologies

I’m working on a reprint edition for another publisher of a book originally published by Mercury House sometime in the 1990s. The layout files were on a zip disk — I had to scrounge to find a working zip reader (amazingly, the disk was readable). The files were in an early version of Quark. They used customized Type 1 fonts that had been edited in a font-editing program, and the font files no longer seem readable. Modern substitute fonts cause reflow, with unfortunate page and line breaks. Old style figures, ligatures, and special characters are all problematic. The book incorporates Chinese characters, which back then were difficult to set, so they were outsourced to a specialist in Chinese typesetting; if scans were made before the book went to the print they have been lost.

In short, in just a few years the technology with which this book was produced has been rendered virtually obsolete, leaving the book all but unreadable. Compare that to the print technology that produced the book shown above, which remains perfectly readable after more than a millennium.


Asian Art Museum blog goes live

I mentioned earlier that I was working on a blog for the Asian. I’m sure it will continue to evolve and get refined as we figure what works and what doesn’t, but we have now announced the blog, and there is more and more content going up, including:


Copper Canyon to publish Chinese anthology

Copper Canyon has been selected by the NEA be the U.S. publisher for its International Literary Exchange with China. According to Publishers Weekly, “Copper Canyon will receive $117,000 to support the translation, publication and promotion of a bilingual anthology of work by about 35 Chinese poets born after 1945.”

This is an excellent choice. Copper Canyon has been a reliable publisher of international poetry for decades, and all of their books are prepared with care and attention to detail. Bravo!


President Obama reads Where the Wild Things Are

Gotta love it.


The Emperor’s New Brand

walter crane, the prince from sleeping beauty

In a distant kingdom long ago a prince was born. He grew up quickly, as children do, and soon the king and queen assembled the most talented people from throughout the realm to tutor the boy in all the arts and sciences. In time he became a man who was not just tall and handsome but also learned and cultured.

Friday roundup

“Honour commercio’s energy yet aid the linkless proud, the plurable with everybody.” — Finnegans Wake

Latest inbound links


Major new Cortazar book appearing this week

Cortazar’s unpublished works have been collected and will be released at the Feria Internacional del Libro en Buenos Aires within a few days.

This should be a big book. If no one in the U.S. has snatched it up yet, some enterprising publisher should get in touch with Carmen Balcells right away.


Poets ranked by the gravity of their beards

poets and their beards

In his 1913 classic (if that’s the right word) publication entitled Poets Ranked by Beard Weight, Upton Uxbridge Underwood (1881–1937) ranked poets according to the gravity of their beards, assigning each one a “pogonometric index” score. (So I have learned from A Journey Round My Skull, which informs me that Underwood was “a deipnosophist, clubman, and literary miscellanist with a special interest in tonsorial subjects.”) A score of 10, for example, was “very very weak,” whereas a score of 58 was “very very heavy.” Leaving aside for the moment the particulars of his methodology, let’s see how the poets stack up.

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