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Online Workshops

The Flexible Mirror: Contemporary Book Design Workshop

with Kevin Barrett Kane

Learn the fundamentals of book design from a seasoned pro, including layout, typesetting, cover design, and manufacturing.

  • Date
  • Time
  • What Type West Public Workshop
  • Where Online via Zoom
  • Duration 5 sessions, 3 hours each

Over the course of two lectures, two workshops, and a final critique (to be held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from March 7 through March 21), participants in this online workshop will learn about book and cover design history and practice. 

  • Lecture 1 (3 hours): Introduction to Book Design — book design history, theory, and practice
  • Workshop 1 (3 hours): Making and Breaking the Page — layout design and an introduction to professional typesetting
  • Homework 1: Design your own layout model for the text page and typeset frontmatter + 5 text pages in this model
  • Lecture 2 (3 hours): Introduction to Cover Design — cover design history, theory, and practice
  • Workshop 2 (3 hours): Clothing for Books — cover & mechanical design and manufacturing
  • Homework 2: Design-from-a-hat cover brief prompts
  • Final Critique (amount of time depends on class size): Participants present their work in 5–10 minute presentations
Learning Outcomes
  • Learn the basics of professional typesetting in InDesign
  • Apply contemporary typesetting techniques to historical layout models
  • See how InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and other analog techniques can be used to build book covers
  • Learn about comping book covers to quickly generate many ideas
Required Materials
  • A laptop or desktop computer with a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud is ideal, though not essential. The course will be taught using Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. For students to get the full worth of the program, at least a free trial version of these apps is recommended. 
  • Analog tools for cover design can be used at the participant's discretion. 
Diversity & Equity Scholarship

Diversity and Equity are important to all of us at Letterform Archive, and we are committed to increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups within the type and design communities. 

We are offering one BIPOC/Equity scholarship seat in this workshop. 

To apply for this scholarship, please complete and submit to us the short form linked here at least a week prior to the start of the workshop.

Kevin Barrett Kane

Kevin Barrett Kane is an award-winning book designer and typographer. He is the senior book designer at the University of California Press, and his client list includes Chronicle Books, Wilsted & Taylor, John Wiley & Sons, Stanford University Press, and more. He co-founded The Frontispiece book design studio in 2015, and has over his 10–year career designed over 1000 book covers and interiors.

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