Professional book design is a young profession, dating back no more than seventy or eighty years in this country. Probably first practiced at the Riverside Press under D. B. Updike, it gradually grew in numbers with the addition of illustrators and type designers into the field. The most famous of these pioneers, and probably the best-known American book designer of this century, is Bruce Rogers (1870-1957).
Paragraphs on Printing, written toward the end of his life, is Rogers's magnum opus, the summation of his most important principles, techniques, and ideas. It is a rare look into the mind of a major working book designer:
More important even than the text are almost 100 illustrations of some of Bruce Rogers's finest and most interesting pages, which were designed for such publishers and books as The Limited Editions Club (The Works of Shakespeare, The Wind in the Willows, Aesop's Fables, More's Utopia); Oxford University Press (the Bible, in three double-page spreads, and four pages from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner); Alfred A. Knopf; Riverside Press; and Harvard University Press. These pages display a broad range of styles and are frequently accompanied by detailed accounts of the problems encountered and how they were solved. Four decorations for Shakespeare's Poems - among the best things Mr. Rogers ever did-are reproduced in their original colors on the inside covers.
- " . . . no matter what style the design of a book conforms to, it must be one that presents the text clearly, without distractions of queer composition, odd types, or meaningless decoration."
- . . . the most important element of beauty in bookmaking is PROPORTION: that is, proportion of type to page, proportion of leading and spacing to type, proportion of page to paper, proportion of margins to each other - it pervades the whole process."
- "The ultimate test, in considering the employment or the rejection of an element of design or decoration, would seem to be: does it look as if it were inevitable, or would the page look as well or better for its omission?"
This edition retains all the elegance, lavish margins, and high quality of the original limited edition that first appeared in 1943. Of inestimable value to all book designers, Paragraphs on Printing will be treasured by bibliophiles, amateur printers, and anyone with the least interest in type and design.
Unabridged (1979) republication of the original (1943) edition. Nearly 100 illustrations. Decorations and type originally printed in a second color are reproduced in a gray tone.
1st Dover edition 1979, Pb, 198pp, 19 x 27.3 cm