Friday, December 4, 2009

Design On!

Book design for clients is another discipline that we engage in at gordongroup. Over the years a number of important books have been produced these past projects stand out in retrospect as highlights from the project collective of 22 years.

Peter Dorn a book designer from Queens University was my book design Professor during college years. This was an early touch point and an important foundational focus on the fine art of book design. Throw back to 1985 a great friend and business associate Professor Michael Gnarowski was the General Editor of Carleton University Press. He and I enjoy the odd pint to this day and I celebrate the fact that Michael holds the coveted longest client relationship status at gordongroup. Books have been Michael's passion and to his credit he has enshrined many notable titles for important people who require support, commitment, tenacity and knowledge navigating through the publishing trade labyrinth. Michael's love of books is evident in his library and his leading expertise in Canadian Literature. His enterprise Golden Dog Press operates from his magnificent home in Kemptville Ontario. Before I realized it I was on a book design trajectory working with Michael at Carleton University Press. These were early days entering the book design pathway.

We produced the Canadian Centre for Early Canadian text series, numerous academic authored titles and other interesting subject matter over the course of many years. Two important titles funded at the time of the millennium were seminal reference in the form of coffee table books. They included a historical retrospect on The James Bay Northern Quebec Crees and a second history title on The Supreme Court of Canada. (Without my knowing at the time the Cree History book "I Dream of Yesterday and Tomorrow" was the precursor to a major 4 episode documentary film production currently underway today at gordongroup)

Both these major projects stand today as records of our book publishing expertise but more rewarding was the people we met under engagement to produce the products. Two people come to my memory who have now past on but during the brief period I knew them they enriched my life being in their presence working together with them on book design. While engaged with the Grand Council of the Crees a gentleman Bob Epstein played a central role helping us document Cree history. Elders, leaders, storytellers and others from Cree society made unique contributions and gave their perspective to create the manuscript that was eventually published. Bob an incredibly engaging man I recall had a remarkable sense about exploring and digging into subjects to better understand and learn. He impressed me as a great educator.

The Supreme Court book was another brilliant opportunity and intensive study on Canada’s judicial system. I was introduced to Malek Karsh who brought his collection of period black and white photographs from The National Archives for our clients to review and select for their publication design layout. Malek of course was Yousef Karsh’s brother. His diplomacy and gentle personality embraced everyone he met in the Tax Room within the Supreme Court Building. I knew him only by his work previous to meeting him in person. His genius photography today remains legendary he was the founder of Ottawa’s Tulip Festival. Both these great people made a lasting impression on me I'm privileged to have known them. These millennium books designed for our clients bring memories of great relationships and rewarding times in the understanding business.

Kita Szpak one or our senior project managers within gordongroup recently published her inaugural children’s storybook. “Your Special Wherever You Are” The book has great illustrations throughout and engaging prose. This new and great book is a testament to the talent and intelligent thinking that people who come to our organization bring on a daily basis. Publishing has some down side risk today to Kita’s credit she got the book off the Press’s and out into children’s hands. An admirable accomplishment!

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