"There is no routine in my job as art director," he insists. "That's one reason why I love it. I have the blessing of a wonderful design staff, which provides another reason for me to love my work."
"The joy and the curse of this job is the same as that of all of book publishing," he surmises. "By far, the most difficult part of my job is having to deal with egos: People often lose sight of the community aspect of the publishing enterprise, and, while those of us in publishing pride ourselves in our contribution to society, we should remember that even the toughest publishing experience pales when compared to the activities of those ... who deal with the life-and-death matters."
Most importantly, Renick loves designing books.
"I love the complexity of the enterprise and its cast of characters, but, most of all, the wide variety of objects on our list of almost every topic, viewed from a complexity of angles. Who could ask for or even want more?" he observes.
Drawing from his personal experience, he reflects on three important design concerns for both book covers and interiors: being aware of the "My Book syndrome," the importance of building strong communications and avoiding playing "visual Ping-Pong" (both terms coined by Renick).
The "My Book syndrome" is a "territorial marking device" of sorts, he explains, when people involved at any stage of book design and production refer to their shared project as "my book." On one hand, Renick says, this is an understandable reference, but if the shared project is not perceived as "our book," production problems may arise.
"Of course, each of us contributes to a single project, but I feel very strongly that the only person to make such a claim is the author," Renick states. "It has also been my experience that the best authors to work with do not ... refer to a book as being exclusively theirs.'"