Design by the Book: A Scottish Publishing Showcase

November 28th, 2016 | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Design by the Book: A Scottish Publishing Showcase
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Of the multitude of tasks and activities assigned to you when studying publishing at Stirling University, keeping up to date with bookish events is certainly one of the most pleasant ones (not the most pleasant one though, which would definitely be the fact that you are effectively “doing something for your studies” whenever you have your nose in a book).

the-mileIt so happened that Book Week Scotland 2016, the annual “celebration of books and reading” (as described by the organiser, the Scottish Book Trust), had the students swarming out to several of these events and I, in this context, had the pleasure to venture through Edinburgh Castle for a first-hand look at the highlights of Scottish book design in 2016, presented at the Design by the Book exhibition. Finally, there was full justification (unintentional publishing pun) to buy a ticket to Edinburgh Castle, and considering that any foreign-national visitors there are likely to get lost in thoughts, just as they can be quite certain to get lost literally, it was probably a good idea to keep clear the full Monday afternoon to go there.

gu-leorHaving eventually arrived at the destination, the entrance being to your left just as you are about to enter the Crown Square, the first thing catching the eye of the bibliophile publishing student is a remarkably complete absence of books: The room is filled with information boards instead, displaying pictures of the most intriguing book designs Scotland produced over the past year (personal favourites being The Mile by Pilrig Press and Acair’s Gu Leòr). A second part of the exhibition is devoted to the formidable results of a book cover art competition which Publishing Scotland had launched in August of this year, encouraging children between the age of 5-8, 8-12 and 12-18 to draw covers for their favourite books, with at times remarkable results.

It might be worth mentioning that some information on the book designers and the design process could have significantly improved the exhibition, the empty envelopes on the information boards giving the exhibition a slightly unfinished look. However, the event is most certainly standing out in the medievalist scenery of Edinburgh Castle, and is definitely going to achieve its purpose in providing a bit of spotlight for all Scottish publishers represented in the exhibition.

by Stephan Pohlmann