Bibliographic is one of those books that you could spend hours with. To pick up designer Jason Godfrey’s latest Laurence King published title is to pick up a wealth of design publications – just not as heavy. Charting 100 of the finest titles to have ever been published, we are treated to a range of subjects and authors that would make and design buff weak at the knees. So, with such a huge amount of worthy pieces to choose from, how did Jason manage to whittle the selection down to a mere ton? And what titles just missed out on inclusion?
Morning Jason, can you tell us a little about the ‘Bibliographic’ for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet?
My aim was to create the ideal studio library of graphic design books and put this into a book format. I had always felt that there was a need for a visual reference to that could give flesh to many reading lists that have been published. There are 100 titles in the book and each is shown with its cover and a number of spreads to it give a flavour of the original.
Just how difficult was it to narrow down to 100?
It was enjoyable to put the final list together, although there were some hard decisions as there are plenty of books that could easily justify being in the book. The really tricky choices were the more recent books as it is difficult to know whether they will become classic points of reference, time will tell if I made the right choices on these books.
Are all the books chosen your own?
About 60% of the books are mine, the rest were kindly borrowed from other peoples collections and some of the rarest and most valuable books belong to the St Bride Printing Library.
What is the purpose of a design book?
Design books are no different to any other book category, the best books are there to inform and entertain. There are many different ways for a graphic designer to solve a client’s problems and therefore many varying stories to tell. Books such as type specimens, sourcebooks and anthologies are also invaluable tools in the creative process, as are books of critical and historic interest.
What omissions were the most difficult to decide on? If you could have chosen 101, what would have been your extra choice?
My 101st book would have been The Visible Word, Herbert Spencer, Lund Humphries, 1969. It is a fascinating book of research on the legibility of type, which unusually for a design book is scientific in outlook and presentation yet contains a very rich array of visual references.
What’s on your shopping list to add to the library?
Karl Gerstner’s Compendium for Literates, The MIT Press, 1974 a major treatise on the display of text. One other book is Art Without Boundaries, Gerald Woods, Philip Thompson and Paul Williams, Thames and Hudson, 1972 a collection of artists and designers between 1950 and 1970 who blurred the traditional lines of fine and applied arts.