Today’s Armchair BEA topic is about aesthetics: what we think about the purely visual qualities of books, and also of our blogs. To what extent do looks matter to us? How do they affect our reading experience?
Although I can look past the drawbacks of an ugly or poorly designed book if the content is worthwhile, I am so much happier with a beautiful book package in my hands. I think it’s a fascinating challenge to match the visual and tactile qualities of physical books to the really quite different aural/literary experience of reading, and I so appreciate the work of designers, illustrators, and binders who do this important job. I’ve grown to value the convenience of e-books, too, but sometimes their lack of aesthetic quality grates on my nerves.
I’ve written about some of my favorite “beautiful books” in these posts:
- The Dark Is Rising
- Picturing Jane Austen – Part One – Part Two – Part Three
- The Bridge of San Luis Rey
I’ve also had a lot of fun writing about good and bad cover art:
- Ten favorite book covers
- Elizabeth Goudge: The Curse of the Terrible Cover Art
- March Magics: Bad Cover Art
I find blog design to be if anything even more important than book design. There are blogs that I can’t follow or even look at because they are so cluttered, have too many clashing colors, or distract me with flashing things. Plain, unassuming blogs are fine, but I do really like to see a nice design that, as well as facilitating easy reading, also shows off something of the personality and style of the blog author. Here are some of my favorites:
- Doing Dewey
- Brain Pickings
- Girl with Her Head in a Book
- The Forest of Words and Pages
- Bookish Whimsy
- These Paper Hearts
It may be totally unfair, but when a blogger has a visual style that resonates with me, I’m more likely to pay attention to his or her words. I also started enjoying my own blog much more when I replaced my clunky self-made attempts with a custom design that I absolutely love.
This topic is endlessly fascinating to me, so I’d love to know your take on it. Please comment or share your own posts below!