Their Winning Ways
UC Press regularly wins Bookbuilders West book awards and took home 11 awards in 1999, with books like Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself and Stalin's Forgotten Zion winning in more than one category.
How do you ensure the award-winning quality of the books? What are the points of working on books that end up winning that you're most proud of?
I attribute much of this success to a great staff of experienced professionals who are highly motivated by the challenges presented to them. Our designers are innovative and resourceful; they enjoy staying on the leading edge of contemporary graphic and typographic work by keeping up with technology and developments in the field of graphic arts. They take courses and attend seminars and annual graphic design conventions. Several teach and, in turn, learn about current trends from the student community. I would add that the designers are all grounded in the traditions of their craft; they know the developments of typography and page design, especially book work, which is so different from commercial typography.
Like our designers, our production coordinators are steeped in book production. They are attentive to details, and they know the nuances that distinguish a special book from an average one. The difference between an ordinary book and an award-winning one is essentially in the details. A few small features of the design or selection of materials will give a book a special lift and make chapter opening pages and text spreads sparkle; or an illustration treatment that is appealing but unobtrusive gives readers a comfortable feeling that everything is right about the look and feel of the book, which denotes, you might say, the successful marriage of form and content. We always try to avoid form overwhelming the content. Everyone in our department enjoys working on the titles we publish. Inner stimulation fosters a high level of commitment to fine bookmaking.