Added : June 23, 2010

Last Updated: November 28, 2010

Topic: Book Design

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TOPIC / Book Design

Art of McSweeney's book and dust jacket

Link: http://astore.amazon.com/designrelated-20/detail/0811866238

Art of McSweeney's book and dust jacket

“This book is being published at a time when there are some rumblings about the dire future of the book, and of the printed book in particular...” —introduction by Dave Eggers

random inspiration from old books on the “McSweeney's reference shelf.”

McSweeney”s 1  c. 1998

Oddi Printing in Reykjavik, Iceland

“The Three-Piece Dust Jacket of Maps and Legends” (see post on Jordan Crane art for Michael Chabon)

I finally have a copy of the Art of McSweeney's book in hand (pub 6/23). The new monograph from Chronicle Books brings together the art and design across the McSweeney’s brands in a coffee-table book format. As a retrospective of the independent publisher's 11th or 12th anniversary, there is a focus on the cover designs for their books and Quarterly Concern journals through 2009, but there are also sections highlighting the illustrations for the Wolphin DVDs, and The Believer magazine. Aside from imagery ranging from sketches to finished product, commentary and interviews are intermixed throughout.

There is an emphasis on the production of McSweeney’s books which I appreciated reading more about. I remember hearing Dave Eggers talk about his choice of printing in Iceland, but this book now gives further insight into why. The text tries to make the case that high production quality is not always out of reach for small publishers with a limited budget. There is support for this idea in a printing specs chart that compares prices of a book with or without “bells & whistles.”


The book is by the Editors of McSweeney's. Brian McMullen and Michelle Quint are credited for much of the design and editing of the book.

excerpt from Acknowledgments section: “This book’s fold-out jacket—composed of numerous stories and drawings by Dave Eggers—was adapted from a design for McSweeney’s 23. The inside of the jacket, which was adapted from a poster designed by Alvaro Villanueva, is populated by dozens of Charles Burn’s portraits for The Believer. The symbols on the spine, which appeared in McSweeney’s 15, are Icelandic runes.”


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Joanna Rieke said on June 23, 2010

Deja-vu. This is my pick too! Wonderful stuff.


Jason Gabbert said on June 23, 2010

It's just wrong that one publisher can do it so right…


Sara Wood said on June 23, 2010



Connie Gabbert said on June 24, 2010

So awesome!


Kellner Design said on June 27, 2010

"So easy to look at / So hard to define"--'Sara', Bob Dylan. "It's so horribly sad, why is it I feel like laughing?"--'North by Northwest', E. Lehman & A. Hitchcock


Henry Sene Yee said on August 06, 2010

So Mc Suh-WEET!


Thomas Ng said on August 24, 2010

love this book.. :) nice photos too