Let’s take a moment to appreciate artists, ladies and gentlemen…
We look at books all the time and think to ourselves how beautiful the cover looks, and that cover makes us want to read that book. There are people behind that cover. There are artists who create those covers. They envision something and then it becomes a reality one brush/pencil/pen/crayon/chalk stroke at a time. They take an author’s imagination, mesh it with their own, and a beautiful cover is born.
But we’re not just talking about the artists behind the cover porn we all love to oogle at, we’re talking about the artists who create the meat of the book. The people who take a moment to read the book and choose a font that fits the contents and feelings of the book. We’re talking about the people who edit the words to fit just so on the page so that it’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The margins, the spaces, the attention to breaks in words and how a paragraph flows from one page to another. There are people behind those little things that make a book so easy to read.
I have a friend who is a graphic designer and she recently told me about “rivers”. I had no idea this was a thing but when she began explaining it to me, I knew exactly what she was talking about. “Rivers” are those ridiculous spaces between words. It’s when it looks like the author has typed three spaces between certain words and it’s so distracting! It was at this point that I realized, there are so many elements of a book that begin and end with an artist. An artist who can tell you the technical terms for all of these types of layouts and styles.
Here’s a picture that same friend drew me for my birthday. It’s my favorite birthday card EVER.
I’m mentioning these things because these are all things most book readers take for granted. These are things most people don’t know by name. These are things we EXPECT from a book. We expect the book to have the proper grammar, a great cover, and for the lines of the book to be even and to flow well. What we don’t realize, is there are people who work to make that happen. There are people who sit for hours going through a 600-page book to ensure that each page is properly aligned. If not for these people, books would be a mess. Think of all the books that came out before the technology to make these alignings and layouts possible. I think this is why so many people shy away from old books and claim they’re too hard to read. It’s because these wonderful designers weren’t running around in abundance to make our books look and FEEL better to read.
So, this is for you artists and designers out there. Maybe you’re getting the appreciation you deserve and that’s wonderful. But I fear that a lot of you may not be getting the praise you’ve earned. This is for all of you. Some of us see you. We always have. We’ve always felt our eyes drawn to the margins of your perfect pages. We’ve always noticed how the font seems to fit the genre of the book we’re reading and how it adds to the feelings we have for the words on those pages. We see you. I see you. You are the very spine of the books we read. You are appreciated, and I hope you never stop designing because you are wonderful at it and you are making such a huge difference in the lives of readers whether they realize it or not.
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ARTISTS. Remind them how wonderful they are. Something as simple as going on to their social media page and giving their work a like. Tell them why you love it. When you see a picture that moves you, take a moment to realize that there’s an artist behind that picture who felt the same as you about it as they were creating it.
Let’s give a round of applause to the designers and artists of the world. The world is theirs, we just live in it. And what a beautiful world they’ve created for us.
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