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Judging a book by its cover

February 21, 2018 — 

A new exhibit has opened in the School of Art and, perhaps like much good art, it defies a maxim. You can indeed judge a book by its cover.

Since 1965, the Association of University Presses has judged books based on their overall design and this year the travelling exhibit has come to the U of M, which is home to a winner itself.

The Association of University Presses’ 2017 Book, Jacket, & Journal Show, hosted by University of Manitoba Press, is mounted in the Print Archive Room (309 ARTlab) from 10 am – 4 pm February 20–March 1.

an illustration of two men wrestling

University of Manitoba Press
Thrashing Seasons by C. Nathan Hatton
Designers: Mike Carroll & Jess Koroscil

The show celebrates achievement in the design, production, and manufacture of books, jackets, covers, and journals by members of the university press community.

Unlike most art exhibits, attendees are welcome to handle the award-winning books.

“As scholarly publishers, we put a lot of rigour into peer review and the editing process but we also put a huge amount of effort into design and making sure our books are beautiful inside and out,” says Glenn Bergen, UMP’s Managing Editor. 

And that work has paid off. Despite competition from larger American presses such as Duke, Yale and the University of Texas Press as well as our Canadian colleagues at the University of Toronto and UBC, University of Manitoba Press has been recognized twice over the past five years.

In 2015, Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk’s Sanaaq, designed by Marvin Harder, was honoured in the Jackets & Covers category.

This year, Nathan Hatton’s Thrashing Seasons: Thrashing Seasons: Sporting Culture in Manitoba and the Genesis of Prairie Wrestling, designed by alumni Mike Carroll (cover) and Jess Koroscil (interiors), was recognized in the Scholarly Typographic category.

Of Thrashing Season, the judges said, “the unusual combination of typography interacts well with the content and imagery throughout this book. There is a nice movement and softness to the bold letter forms,” and “while the use of 19th-century graphic style has become tiresome, this book manages a light touch of design irony and beautiful typesetting.”

Also, who doesn’t like old-timey wrestling images?

What: Association of University Presses’ 2017 Book, Jacket, & Journal Show
When: Feb. 20 – March 1, 2018, from 10 am. until 4 p.m. daily
Where: Rm 309 ARTlab
Admission: Free


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