All posts tagged: Jordan Simpson

“a trip into the abyss” by Jordan Simpson: a Design Review of “House of Leaves” by Mark Z Danielewski

Jordan Simpson a review of: House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski Pantheon Books ISBN: 0-375-70376-4 Reading Mark Z. Danielewski’s “novel” House of Leaves (Feb 29, 2000) is a lot like looking at one of famed Dutch artist M.C. Escher’s lithographs, while trying to solve a Rubik’s cube, while speaking a foreign language—backwards. And this is just the book’s design. At its essence, the book’s layout, format, and even—correction, especially—typography refuse to allow it to be read in a sane manner. Take for instance Scott Wampler of BadassDigest.com, who upon meeting Danielewski asked him for any advice in decrypting the novel’s more esoteric features. Danielewski replied, ‘”I’ll give you this hint: if you ever really want to get to the bottom of things, you’ll need to use a protractor and compass while reading the book.’” Spooky. Even in writing this review, it’s simply a hard book to explain or summarize, and a challenge to the very concept of what a book’s “supposed” to be. House of Leaves is about, yes a house, but more importantly a …

Q&A with Natalie Olsen on Why Book Design Matters

Jordan Simpson: Book design has been around for a long time. Like, a really long time. It’s been around since people first put ink/dye/blood to paper, papyrus or animal, or even human skin (yes, human skin; there’s a few books bound entirely in the stuff but that’s for another article). And its guiding principle is of the noblest of causes to the writer: making an author’s work organized, legible and attractive to read. In its own way, design gives the words on the page extra power for the reader. It can engage the reader on another level by intriguing them, seducing them, or entertaining them through simple things like typeface, colour, and layout. I mean, who doesn’t appreciate a sexy-looking book? So as an introduction to the occasionally mentioned craft, FreeFall sat down with Natalie Olsen, cover and book designer extraordinaire based in Inglewood and had a nice chat about her art. Olsen, who’s worked with a variety of clients ranging from the Book Publishers Association of Alberta to University of Toronto Press, has designed …