Fall Favorites

It’s already August and I have yet to hit bottom on my stack of Fall catalogs, but I am ready to anoint my Fall Favorites. My favorite catalog this season was without a doubt that of the Harvard University Press. That’s not to say I ordered more from it than any other catalog, but it definitely kept me more engaged than anything else I saw this season. Of course I acknowledge that a university bookstore is likely biased towards academic presses, but I’m talking about the assortment and design of the catalog itself. The staff of Harvard University Press know what they’re doing. Innovative design is the reason I picked Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far by Stefan Sagmeister as my Fall Favorite Book. Not only are Sagmeister’s creations innovative, but the book that showcases them joins them as a reworking of an everyday item into something extraordinary. The fifteen folios have individual covers and the casing has a porous face, allowing the reader to customize the look of the book (I’ve included an extra large picture of one of the possible covers to highlight this feature). Inside the folios are the typographical displays Sagmeister created to state the aphorisms he began writing in his diary, along with a brief explanation of each one. One of the sayings, “If I want to explore a new direction professionally, it is helpful to try it out for myself first,” is written in multiple scripts using sugar. In his exposition Sagmeister wrote that “if [the sugar] was too willful, I would punish the sugar by licking it up.” For me this book was an introduction to the work of Stefan Sagmeister, and it was a delight.  The only drawback is that it must be shrink wrapped to protect it from over-handling, which requires a customer to purchase it practically sight unseen.

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