Mabo and Land Rights

 Bryan Keon-Cohen AM QC played a key role in the legal maneuverings that led to the High Court of Australia recognising the existence of native title in 1992. His intimate knowledge of that series of events has been brought to bear in Mabo in the Courts: Islander Tradition to Native Title: a Memoir. We assisted with the design and typesetting of this fascinating volume, and got a sense of the attention to detail and sheer persistence required to push through such a controversial reform. Dr Keon Cohen has created a website to cross-promote his book, and it has been favourably reviewed by various publications.

Joe Queenan defends the printed book

American writer and humorist Joe Queenan explains why he thinks paper books "are sublimely visceral, emotionally evocative objects that constitute a perfect delivery system". Indeed, the idea of reading a single, relatively coherent piece of work that is not hyperlinked and studded with distractions and animations, and which the reader actually owns rather than rents, is rather attractive. No compatibility issues, can be read by anyone, can be loaned, sold or given away, and takes up space in an actual physical location, and will wait patiently to be read, or re-read. The growth of ebook publishing has slowed somewhat in recent months, so those of us with a lingering passion for paper can still hope 'real' books will survive as a viable business model and an inspiration to people for whom speed and 'convenience' are not everything.

Book Launches Can Be Effective

Rosie Abbot, author of Scent of Belonging reports that the recent launch of her book went extremely well.

'The Scent of Belonging' launch at Collins in Bairnsdale last night was a huge success. An audience of about 50 on a cold week night in the country is a great attendance. I spoke for about 30 minutes, followed by terrific book sales and signings that pleased Di Johnston, Manager of Collins Booksellers. Feedback has been rolling in. An extract from the latest email:

"Your sermon to the multitudes last night was inspiring. For someone “out of their comfort zone” you did a helluva job! You were interesting, warm, and your straightforward style and honesty did you proud. I think the sustained applause at the end of your talk was the proof of the pud. Congratulations!"

An earlier launch, held in my home town of Paynesville in July, attracted similar numbers and I am now receiving very positive feedback from readers. 

The book is currently being reviewed by CAE Melbourne Book Groups for consideration in their catalogue; I have some book club 'meet the author, discuss the book' events lined up in November, and am currently arranging another launch at Collins Booksellers in Traralgon, Central Gippsland.

Collins Booksellers in Bairnsdale have devoted a full window display to the promotion of 'The Scent of Belonging' which will be pride of place for two weeks (photos attached). Let's hope sales skyrocket!

 If an author knows their market, has good local support and gets the word out, a launch can be a real financial and emotional boost.

Printing in the People's Republic

Many, if not most, Australian publishers and plenty of individual authors have books printed in China. The printing prices on offer are very attractive, and the quality often excellent. However there is a dark side to printing in the People's Republic: censorship. You might think that a book being printed for an Australian (or any other non-Chinese audience) would be simply printed and shipped back to the client. This is only partially correct: it is checked by Chinese censors to make sure the book in question conforms to certain Chinese sensitivities — even if not a single Chinese citizen is destined to read it. Such sensitivities include drugs, sexuality and references to China and Chinese history. If your book mentions Taiwan, for example, you had better make sure it reads as "Taiwan (China)". If your book discusses Chairman Mao in anything but the most glowing terms, better find another country to print it. The Chinese government interest in content is a salutary reminder that the country is burdened with a dictatorship, with all the stifling, anti-democratic and bureaucratic impulses that go with that kind of government.

Waders of Australia

Soon to be printed/published, Waders: the Shorebirds of Australia has been an epic labour of love for its author David Hollands. He has travelled to almost every corner of Australia to photograph and document every single species of endemic and visiting wader. The result is both informative and evocative, with strong arguments for habitat conservation. We have tried for a transparent design and layout -- letting the content and images speak for themselves.

Cassian Brown: Content is King

Author of two classy science fiction novels (covers designed by Chameleon), Cassian Brown has put together a website to showcase his work. Apart from excerpting an exciting sequence from Baxter Mariah, he links to the many ebook and print purveyors of his work, offers signed copies, a newsletter signup and biographical information. A next step might be to link to other writers and science-fiction oriented websites, to locate himself in the online sci-fi ecosystem. A link to his twitter account (EllameinePress) might also be useful.

Roman Zenith

Roman sculptors were sometimes very honest in their depictions of the great and the good. They showed sunken cheeks, wrinkles and other flaws. We took advantage of this by using a Roman sculpture for the cover of "Roman Zenith". The stark contrasts and psychologically acute depiction make for a surprisingly modern feel. The subtle backdrop of the Pantheon makes the setting and era clear.

Mind Blowing Bookshelf from Google

Google seems to have more projects than employees. A crew of hard core geeks at Google Data Arts have been experimenting with new ways to display data in your browser (works for both Chrome and Firefox). This animated globe shows Google searches by language, and a fascinating picture of global language dispersion it presents. English scattered widely over the globe, German confined entirely to Germany, Spanish dominating South America and French surprisingly rare in West Africa. Another animation displays 10,000 books in an ascending column -- a novel way to visually search a large number of works. 


Our client wanted a high-impact type-based design. We used contrast, intense colour and a line of text from each of the stories featured in the anthology. The page curl gives a hint of depth and serves to direct attention from the title down to the subtitle. Typefaces used were Museo Sans and Museo Slab by Jos Buivenga.

Lost Worlds of Graphic Design

Personal computers and the Internet have opened up new worlds for millions of people, but they have also remade or destroyed dozens of professions and made hundreds of specialist skills obsolete. The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies chronicles the items used by professionals in the graphic design and advertising industries. They seem very distant and quaint, but once they were essential tools for serious professionals, and the making of them was an entire industry in itself.

Lions and Lillies

A well-written and tightly plotted historical drama, Lions and Lillies: Book 1 covers affairs of state and love during the Hundred Year War between England and France. We were tasked to design a cover that created a sense of the intensity of the story, and combined military and personal aspects. In other words, the entry to "a world of passion and intrigue". The authors have created an informative website to accompany the publication of their book.

Taking the cake

Books are sometimes destined to become food for silverfish, but a recent family history we designed ended up as party fare. Launched at her 92nd birthday party, Sheilah Hamilton's book dealt with her life and extended family. Her children arranged for the book cover to be printed in edible ink onto her cake, even down to the spine and simulated pages.