Will electronic books like Amazon’s Kindle put book designers out of a job, or will these devices yield new opportunities?
The gauntlet has definitely been thrown in. With major cultural shifts and some lateral creative styling, e-books might appeal, but not with the bulky, ugly items now available – why would anyone want to lug one of these around? But fresh technologies bring reassessments of what people love about handling real books – design, aesthetics, paper, tactility, permanence and collectibility. These are flourishing times for book designers to creatively captivate, intrigue and indulge readers.
Jim Stoddart, Art director, Penguin Press
The book industry is solid, despite predictions of massive decline. As paperless viewing opportunities like the Kindle increase, I’m sure there’ll be a bit of a shift, but it will take a long time. There will also always be a need to ‘format’ content, on whatever platform, so I wouldn’t get too gloomy just yet. More worrying is that there are fewer traditional print designers around and many of the ‘old’ disciplines are fading, such as basic typography. This may lead to bland Web standards of design becoming the norm, regardless of technological improvements.
Jon Bains, Chairman, Lateral
Only in Kindles has mankind known perfect love, truth and beauty. Kindles do furnish a room. Seek ye out the Kindle of the Lord and read. Good friends, good Kindles and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. Sorry, there’s just no substitute. (With apologies to George Bernard Shaw, Anthony Powell, Isaiah and Mark Twain.)
Jim Davies, Creative director, Total Content
Whether it’s the Kindle or the iPhone, soon everything is going to move, jerk about and make sounds. Poster ads, phones, watches, hand-held computers, even our T-shirts. But put designers out of work? These all need graphic ideas, type and images. We just need a few new skills.
Quentin Newark, Co-founder, Atelier Works
It would be careless to assume e-books won’t affect design. As far as saving trees goes, they make sense in the mass market, but we may see new opportunities at the high end, with books becoming fetish objects – just look at the current resurgence of vinyl, for example.
Angus Hyland, Partner, Pentagram