Hyphen Press

Hyphen Press publishes books on design – in the largest sense of the word. Situated in London, our books are mostly produced on the European continent, in the attempt to find good standards of industrial craft. We cherish writing that is lively, precise, free of jargon; pictures that are realistic, vivid. We try to make books that are good for the reader.

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The wrong direction

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Robin Kinross / 2016.02.11

Julian Barnes’s latest novel was published in London a couple of weeks ago. This is a note on its qualities as a physical object.1 The book is typical of present-day book production in the UK, and this is why it has been chosen for this commentary; although there are clear signs of an atttempt at something more ‘designed’: the sections of the book have been sewn (rather then cut and perfect bound) and a headband has been applied at the top and bottom of the spine (it adds to appearances, but does nothing useful – except obscure the glue). The jacket illustration and design is pleasingly simple and tries (and inevitably fails – its materials and processes belong to a later, much plushier society) to summon up the aura of the Soviet culture that is the world of this novel. On the publisher’s website, one can find a conversation between Barnes and Suzanne Dean, the jacket designer. But they only talk about the jacket design. Read more