By David Jury
208 pages, softcover, $44.95
Published by Bloomsbury Visual Arts
Read the title carefully. If you stop at “reinventing print,” you’ll probably be disappointed with this book. The rest of the title—“technology and craft in typography”—is more telling. Reinventing Print is about technology’s effect on printing over the last five centuries. David Jury begins with a series of essays on technology’s relationship to creativity, culture, the craft of printing and the business of graphic design. Following these, he explores the changes technology has made to how the phone book, encyclopedias and similar directories have been redefined digitally. Other chapters celebrate the resilience, tactility and charm of paper; the resurgence of the maker ethic; and the new popularity of hard-copy novels and children’s books.
Jury’s books abound with illustrations, and Reinventing Print is no exception. Pages are filled with historical prints, magazine and book covers, double-page spreads, photographs, and typographic specimens.
An academic and design historian—perhaps one of the best of our time—Jury has a lot to say and takes his time doing so. The book is approachable, but his writing can be a bit hefty, and it’s not one to scan. It’s one to learn from and reflect on. Reinventing Print is about wrapping yourself in the history of print since Gutenberg decided he wanted to make Bibles, and learning how printing has been forced to change over time. Reinventing Print is about evolution and survival—not just about reinvention. It’s about the history of a craft that’s at the soul of graphic design, be it digital or hard copy. —Allan Haley