Mar 23, 2023
I've long been interested in rhetoric,
the techniques of persuasive argument, propaganda; the use of
passionate language. It's why I collect publishers' sales and
bookseller catalogues, I'm sure!
Ever since first laying hands on the
bookseller catalogues that Jerry Kelly has, over the years,
designed for the likes of Jonathan A. Hill and Glenn Horowitz, I've
held the conviction that he is one of America's truly great book
designers. It's hard to describe this conviction. His work just
looks and feels right to me. "Read me." it says. "I'm worth looking
at." It's worth looking at of course because it's a product of
years of dedicated study, and passionate practice. These kind of
deeply precious objects don't just appear out of nowhere.
Take the type for example. Its
selection, how it augments the arguments and value propositions put
forward in these catalogues; how it adds to their credibility,
their conviction, makes the words seem more important. Or the
aptness of the paper choices, their relevant colours, the
statements made by their weights and textures. The way the choice
of ink pigments clarify and emphasize. It all burnishes the larger
But enough waxing. I recently decided
that when I finally do come up with a manuscript, I want Jerry to
turn it into a book.
That "when" in fact, is now, while I'm
here in Prague. I plan to write eight or nine profiles of a select
set of people I've interviewed over the years. With this in mind I
recently Zoomed Jerry, prior of course to having written a
Our conversation focuses solely on how
beautiful the end product might look if Jerry deigns to design it.
We start with what he needs in order to get going: words and
pictures, and specs. Then we look at the three publishing options