Book Design and Publishing Management

VJB/Scribe, also known as Scribe Typography, is a design and publishing management service for publishers, authors, and design firms.

Valerie Brewster, owner and art director, has decades of experience delivering beautiful books, including books that won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. If you are going to make a book, why not make one that stands out from the rest?

  • Book cover design
  • Book interior design
  • Prepress production for hardcover, softcover, and electronic books
  • Collateral design for print and social media
  • Self-publishing coach

Cover Design

Book Interior Design

Softcovers and Jackets

Self-published, author published

Books below were published by the authors and printed through CreateSpace, Ingram/Spark (Lightning Source), web press printers McNaughton & Gunn and Malloy, and craft printer Haagen Printing. Some of these books had ebooks and both hardcover and softcover editions as part of the publishing program.

Recent Posts

Design notes from Merwin’s Garden Time (Copper Canyon Press)

W.S. Merwin’s latest poetry from his palm sanctuary

W.S. Merwin turns 89 on September 30, 2016.

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Garden Time by W.S. Merwin, Copper Canyon Press, 2016, ISBN 978155659-499-1

The cover image, a copperplate photogravure by Gwen Arkin, shows the potting shed on the land where W.S. Merwin lives, writing and tending a forest of palm trees that he planted, turning clear cut land into a forest. Sarah Cavanaugh‘s photographs are on the endsheets and on the back of the jacket. Merwin’s Maui forest is now The Merwin Conservancy. 

Interior

Merwin’s poetry asks for a classic, minimal setting. MVB Verdigris is the text typeface, with display type set in Garamond 3. The Garamond siblings are a nod to Merwin’s years living in France if anyone were to ask me why I picked them. If you listen to that clip under the “living in France” link you’ll hear: warmth and erudition are in Merwin’s voice as well as in Verdigris’ letterforms.

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The real book is better than the pictures. 5.5 x 7.5 inches, soft to the touch, fits well in hand . . .

Cover and Jacket

The cover art led the way to an earthy, organic approach for the whole book package. For the forest photos by Sarah Cavanaugh, printing them in full color seemed too literal, and possibly overwhelming to the space of the poems. Instead those photos are presented in a muted green monotone. I used 4-color process for the green so I could attempt to make both greens match (the one printed on the creamier endsheet stock and the one printed on the white jacket stock). By pulling back the yellow a bit on the endsheet green, the result matches well enough.

The original cover concept was whisper spare. Just the simple author/title. No enhancement. Test prints and common-sense talk* from JB the seasoned marketer convinced me that we had to make it possible to read the author/title from a distance. I used an understated intervention, a brown rectangle made from the image of a palm leaf.

*actually a passionate plea

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Better choice?

Bloodaxe in Britain has released Garden Time in softcover. Their approach to the cover is a bit different, although they use the same image as a starting point.

Reviews:

Purchase directly from Copper Canyon Press.

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