As an author whose book was released through a small publisher, at the start, I was worried about what kind of quality my eventual book would have. I don’t mean the words that I put into it, I mean the aesthetics of it. You can’t read small press authors without picking up on the fact that there are some pretty good books out saddled with lazily-designed covers and the same pupil-numbing sans serif font used for everything inside. Adage be damned, a book’s appearance can entice or repulse potential readers, and sometimes a well-designed book can be an art object all its own. Mine isn’t necessarily, but I know somebody who has made several.
Geoff Munsterman, who designed Northern Dandy, made a beautiful book out of what otherwise would have just been “zachb_collection.rtf” sitting on my desktop. He got a gorgeous, thematic image for the cover, designed and arranged the title around it, and even kept its color scheme in line with the other collections Sapiosexual has released.
His artful design touches are all over the thing — inside as well. It’s faint in the picture, but there’s a cursive shadow beneath every title. Classy! I didn’t give him any guidelines for the interior, it didn’t even occur to me, but he put a wonderful amount of thought into it. When I’m at a reading I need to dress up to look as good as this book. Geoff’s book designs are swanky enough to meet the dress code at Commander’s Palace.
Geoff Munsterman, and his chapbook operation Next Left Press, have been severely hit by the recent flooding in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. He’s lost the vast majority of his bookmaking supplies, thread and paper, to say nothing of the numerous books in his personal collection. If any of you are in the market for poetry manuscript critiques, design work, or considering putting out a hand-bound chapbook, I’d urge you to get in touch with him. He has done amazing work for my friends and I, and I would not be nearly as excited about being an author if the book I’m pushing didn’t look as good as he made it.
You can see more examples of his work at http://www.nextleftpress.com/ and get in contact with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.