Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Very First Book Covers Designed on a Mac

Way back in September 1992, when I was a Senior Designer in the St. Martin's Press Art Department, we received our first-hand glimpse into the future: a Macintosh Quadra 950. As a Wizard of hot wax paste up and mechanicals, and a Ruler of the Rapidograph pen and T-square, I looked at this warm gray hunk of circuits with both awe and fear. I poked and prodded this tower of power like primitive man's first encounter with the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The evolution of design had begun. Thus Spake Steve Jobs.

Excited to play around with this new toy, I launched the page layout program QuarkXPress 3.1 and stared at the screen. OK, now what?
I had a snapshot that I took at the Metropolitan Museum of (spoiler alert), Perseus with the Severed Head of Medusa (end spoiler), and I figured out how to use a digital scanner. But I couldn't figure out how get the image into Quark. Then I remembered that one of the designers here, Nat Estes, mentioned a file format called tiff. I resaved the image as a .TIF file and VOILA! Somehow I got it in there. I stumbled blindly, but excitedly, exploring and applying every dropbox menu filter, discovering how to manipulate type and image; alignments and spacings; boxes and rules; colors and tones. Right in front of my eyes. WOW. This is going to change everything. The Mac gave us new tools to slay monsters.

Below are my first mockup designs created digitally on a Mac:

2001: A Space Odyssey: The Dawn of Man