In 2008 Kobi Benezri founded Kobi Benezri Studio, a multidisciplinary art direction office focusing on books, editorial, type, identities, and web design. In 2015 he will sit on the D&AD Book Design Jury.
Below he gives his three predictions for trends we can expect to see in book design during 2015. If you're looking for book design inspiration, this is the place to start.
three Predictions For Book Design in 2015 | Kobi Benezri |
In 1988, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis wrote the screenplay for the 1989 film Back to the Future Part II. A crucial segment of the plot takes place in the year 2015 as envisioned by the two back in ’88. In the 26 years since its release, fan groups have been rounding up the future predictions that have been fulfilled and those that haven’t. So, yes – the neglected laser discs piled up in an alley is a prediction that was realized pretty much right after the movie premiered, and no — we’re not riding hoverboards yet. Meanwhile, Nike still has until 21 October to invent the power laces.
But the prediction I was always curious about remained unsung throughout the years. When Marty McFly enters ‘Blast from the Past’ to buy the Grays Sports Almanac, the sales lady says:
“Now, this has an interesting feature, a dust jacket. Books used to have these to protect the covers.”
I’m not a dust jacket disciple — and every publisher I’ve ever worked for will be my witness as I have always called to eliminate them — but it’s nice to see that they made it safely to 2015. A small win for the print industry (and for dust).
Authenticity. Sophistication and Origination in Book Design | D&AD
Back to the Future Part 2
Meanwhile in the real 2015, I was recently installing a new shelving system in my studio and had to move several dozens of book boxes. A heavy lifting exercise that — other than causing a backache — cost precious time, only because I had to stop and look, touch, smell, and appreciate many of the books I took out of the boxes.
Some amused me as a reminder of eras when design looked like this or that, others surprised me by how timeless they can still be. As so often with objects, they provoke a tender childlike sensation that translates into neural impulses in our brains. Or maybe they just make our souls sit back and release a sigh of delight.
In the ongoing discourse over the importance of a book’s physicality, the advocates argue that a beautifully produced book inherently deepens its content, while others will say that content can be consumed in various ways. I would put myself somewhere in the middle, but I believe some content is site-specific, and its effect can be dependent on its vessel.
So what are my predictions for 2015 in book design?
1. Tradition vs. Authenticity
Traditional design and production standards as a gauge for ‘good’ or ‘beautiful’ are becoming increasingly blurry. Tradition means nothing when it’s only for the sake of tradition. It becomes relevant when it’s employed in a way that builds genuineness. I guess I’m hoping to see less traditional and more authentic.
2. Increased Sophistication
Our pool of references as a society has been subject to constant change in the past twenty years. That allows design references to become more refined and sophisticated. I hope to see that manifest itself in a wider reach. In some places — not everywhere unfortunately — we’re seeing a change in marketing approaches where executives realize that readers don’t have to be spoon fed, and their intellect, their references and their appreciation for design can be trusted. A word of advice here for publishers out there.
3. Maker Culture
The rise of Maker Culture motivates designers to generate their own content. Many designers hit a profound moment at some point in their career where they start influencing their projects in more than one way. It’s a natural process — you start out solving problems by realizing the universal affinity for nice looking artifacts. The next step is to put on your editor’s cap and induce your ideas in the outlining of a concept, and eventually originating your own content. Books are the perfect vessel for designer-generated content.
Perhaps we’ll see more commercial publishers embrace the phenomenon and kick off their own ‘Makers Programs’. Don’t ask me what the business model would be, though. Maker Culture could step out of its niche — then again, does it want to?