Robin Kinross / 2016.03.25
Background to our publications.
A detail of Hyphen Press style has sometimes caused puzzlement. We give the title of a book with initial capitalization only in the first word.1 Thus: The arrow of gold, rather than The Arrow of Gold. We have used this style in the text of most of the Hyphen books, and in their display typography too, in catalogues, and on this website. It is the style that I learned from Michael Twyman, who set up and then ran for years the Department of Typography at the University of Reading, where I was a student in the 1970s. It is still used at Reading, and I believe that Michael has used it in all the books he has had published. One finds it also used by other British writers on printing history – Philip Gaskell, David McKitterick – who trained as librarians. One sees it used in the catalogues of the great American and British national libraries (Library of Congress, British Library). It seems to be the norm now in science publishing – see the references to books in any science journal. But outside these spheres, in British and American (and indeed ‘world’) English-language publishing, capitalization of ‘important words’ (differently defined) is employed. Read more
Julian Barnes’s latest novel was published in London a couple of weeks ago. This is mainly 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 than 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.2 But they only talk about the jacket design.
A familiar book-trade story: a book sells out, is declared out-of-print. A few years pass and a box of fresh copies of this item turns up in some clear-out or tidy-up in a distributor’s warehouse or a publishing office. This has just happened with Typography papers 6, which we published in 2005. We have 30-odd copies for sale. Read more
The interview that follows was recorded on 20 August 2015 in Roland Reuß’s office at the University of Heidelberg. The text has been lightly edited for ease of reading, but otherwise follows closely what was spoken. Read more