Mark Argetsinger Book Design

Mark Argetsinger 

Book Design

Design Philosophy

It is often lost sight of that a book is a designed thing. One only notices that fact if a volume is either particularly well or badly designed; in the latter case, that notice is taken when one is distracted or annoyed by visually intrusive elements or when the text type approaches illegibility.

Although poor book design has always been with us, the nadir of book and type design occurred at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, when all books were printed in the anemic, gray Modern Face derived from the types of the Didots in France and Bodoni in Italy. It was the Private Press Movement, lead by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, that sought to re-introduce classic letterforms and re-affirm the lost heritage of the book. For it was the Renaissance that gave us the form of the modern printed book. It was then that the idioms of the book became fixed, so much so that they stand today like typographic archetypes; these include the letterforms themselves, with capitals reflecting the rediscovered Roman inscriptions; the architectonically arranged title-page, like the façade or formal entrance of a building; and the apparatus criticus of scholarship, the chapter and running headlines, foot- and end-notes, bibliographies, glossaries, and indices.

Since both the publishing and printing industries have undergone profound changes in modern times, the historically informed free-lance designer offers a vital link to the traditions of the intelligently, artfully, and elegantly designed book. Our classically based work follows this ideal, bringing to an industrially-produced artifact the craftsmanship and attention to detail that informed the superlative work of the great master printers.

 

Bibliography: Mark Argetsinger’s Publications on the Book Arts

‘Adobe Garamond: A Review,’ Printing History, 26/27. Vols. xiii/xiv, Nos. 1 & 2, 1991-92.

‘Harmony Discovered: P.J. Conkwright in the Tradition of Classical Typography,’ Princeton University Library Chronicle, Vol. lvi, No. 2, Winter 1995.

Introduction to Thinking in Script: A Letter of Thanks from Edward Johnston to Paul Standard, Rochester, New York: Cary Graphic Arts Collection [1995].

‘Frederic Warde, Stanley Morison, and the Arrighi Type,’ in American Proprietary Types, New York: American Printing History Association, 1998.

A Legacy of Letters: An Assessment of Stanley Morison’s Monotype ‘Programme of Typographic Design,’ Skaneateles, New York: The Press & Letterfoundry of Michael and Winifred Bixler, 2008.

Editor of, and author for American entries, An Oak Spring Herbaria: Herbals from the Fifteenth through the Nineteenth Centuries, Upperville, Virginia: Oak Spring Garden Library, 2009.

‘Cover Note’ [regarding early twentieth-century typography] in Princeton University Library Chronicle, Vol. lxxi, No. 2, Winter 2010.

Selected List of Completed Projects

Patronage: Power and Agency in Medieval Art. Index of Christian Art Occasional Papers, XV. Edited by Colum Hourihane. Princeton: Index of Christian Art, 2013.

Abraham in Medieval Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Art. Index of Christian Art Resources, IV. Edited by Colum Hourihane. Princeton: Index of Christian Art, 2013.

Club Book of the Knickerbocker Club. New York: Knickerbocker Club, 2008–2013 (annual).

Iter Gallico-Helveticum: A Bibliophilic Tour of Paris & Alsace & Geneva. Edited by George Edwards. New York: The Grolier Club, 2013.

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library. 2 vols. By Don C. Skemer. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.

First X, Then Y, Now Z: An Introduction to Landmark Thematic Maps. By John Delaney. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2012.

From Minor to Major: The Minor Arts in Medieval Art History. Index of Christian Art Occasional Papers, XIV. Edited by Colum Hourihane. Princeton: Index of Christian Art, 2012.

The Way of a Ship: An Essay on the Literature of Navigation Science, Along with Some American Contributions to the Art of Navigation, 1519–1802. By Lawrence C. Wroth. Providence: The John Carter Brown

Library, 2011.

Insular and Anglo-Saxon Art and Thought in the Early Medieval Period. Index of Christian Art Occasional Papers, XIII. Edited by Colum Hourihane. Princeton: Index of Christian Art, 2011.

Cuatro Campeches: de Regreso en Puerto Rico. By Teodoro Vidal. San Juan: Ediciones Alba, 2011.

The Enchantress: Emma, Lady Hamilton. Edited by Arthur Dunkelman. New York: The Grolier Club, 2011.

The Cracked Looking Glass: Highlights from the Leonard L. Milberg Collection of Irish Prose Writers. Edited by Renée Fox and Greg Londe. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2011.

Gothic Art and Thought in the Later Medieval Period. Index of Christian Art Occasional Papers, XII. Edited by Colum Hourihane. Princeton: Index of Christian Art, 2011.

Money on Paper: Bank Notes and Related Graphic Arts from the Collection of Vsevolod Onyshkevych and Princeton University. By Alan M. Stahl. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2010.

Baptizing the New World: What’s in a Name? By Angel Delgado-Gomez. Providence: John Carter Brown Library, 2010.

Oraciones, Conjuros, y Ensalmos en la Cultura Popular Puertorriqueña. By Teodoro Vidal. San Juan: Ediciones Alba, 2010.

Strait Through: Magellan to Cook and the Pacific. By John Delaney. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2010.

Looking Beyond: Visions, Dreams, and Insights in Medieval Art and History. Index of Christian Art Occasional Papers, XI. Edited by Colum Hourihane. Princeton: Index of Christian Art, 2010.

Claude Bragdon and the Beautiful Necessity. Edited by Eugenia Victoria Ellis and Andrea G. Reithmayr. Rochester: Rochester Institute of Technology Cary Graphic Arts Press, 2010.

An Oak Spring Herbaria: Herbs and Herbals from the Fourteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries. A Selection of the Rare Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art in the Collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon. By Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi and Tony Willis. Edited with a description of the American Herbals by Mark Argetsinger. Upperville, Va.: Oak Spring Garden Library, 2009.

Liberty and the American Revolution: Selections from the Collection of Sid Lapidus. Exhibition Catalogue. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2009.

Beauty and Bravado in Japanese Woodblock Prints: Highlights from the Gillett G. Griffin Collection. Exhibition Catalogue. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2009.

MO’M of the Anglers’: The Memoirs and Recipes of Mary O’Malley. By Mary O’Malley and Mac Francis. New York: privately printed by the Anglers’ Club of New York, 2008.

El Control de la Naturaleza Mediante la Palabra en la Tradición Puertorriqueña. By Teodoro Vidal. San Juan: Ediciones Alba, 2008.

Romanesque Art and Thought in the Twelfth Century. Index of Christian Art Occasional Papers, X. Edited by Colum Hourihane. Princeton: Index of Christian Art, 2008.

The Invention and Early Spread of European Printing as Represented in the Scheide Library. By Paul Needham. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2007.

Interactions: Artistic Interchange between the Eastern and Western Worlds in the Medieval Period. Index of Christian Art Occasional Papers, IX. Edited by Colum Hourihane. Princeton: Index of Christian Art, 2007.

To the Mountains of the Moon: Mapping African Exploration, 1541-1880. By John Delaney. Exhibition Catalogue. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2007.

The Leonard L. Milberg Irish Theater Collection. Compiled by J. Howard Woolmer. Edited by John L. Logan. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2007.

Time in the Medieval World: Occupations of the Months and Signs of the Zodiac in the Index of Christian Art. Index of Christian Art Resources, III. Edited by Colum Hourihane. Princeton: Index of Christian Art, 2007.

Escultura Religiosa Puertorriqueña. By Teodoro Vidal. San Juan: Ediciones Alba, 2006.

Autobiography of John Russell Bartlett. Edited by Jerry E. Mueller. Providence: The John Carter Brown Library, 2006.

Los Reyes Magos: Tradición y Presencia. By Teodoro Vidal. San Juan: Ediciones Alba, 2005.

José Campeche: Retratista de una Época. By Teodoro Vidal. San Juan: Ediciones Alba, 2005.

Animals and Authors in the Eighteenth-Century Americas: A Hemispheric Look at the Writing of Natural History. By Anita Cavagnaro Been. Providence: The John Carter Brown Library, 2004.

A Catalogue of the Cotsen Children’s Library: The Twentieth Century. 2 vols. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2000 & 2003.

The Frick Collection. An Illustrated Catalogue: Drawings, Prints, and Later Acquisitions. Vol. IX. Edited by Joseph Focarino. New York: The Frick Collection, 2003.

Do The Americas Have a Common History? An Address by J. H. Elliott. Providence: The John Carter Brown Library, 1998.

Spain and Spanish America: The Past and the Future. An Address by Jaime de Ojeda, Ambassador of Spain. Providence: The John Carter Brown Library, 1996.

James Boswell’s Book of Company at Auchinleck, 1782–1795. Edited by The Viscountess Eccles and Gordon Turnbull. London: The Roxburghe Club, 1995.

Commitment to Community: Celebrating the Heritage and Legacy of Frank Ritter Shumway and Hettie Beaman Lakin Shumway. By Audrey Lightkep Miller and Carol Miller Reed. Rochester: Rochester Institute of Technology, 1994.

The Letters of Samuel Johnson. 5 vols. Edited by Bruce Redford. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992-1994.

The Gentle Madness of a Guardian of Relics: A Chat with José Mindlin. Providence: John Carter Brown Library, 1993.

Spanish Historical Writing about the New World, 1493–1700. By Angel Delgado-Gomez. Providence: The John Carter Brown Library, 1992.

The Frick Collection. An Illustrated Catalogue: Furniture and Gilt Bronzes. Vols. V & VI. By David DuBon and Theodore Dell. Edited by Joseph Focarino. New York: The Frick Collection, 1992.

Rights of Discovery: Christopher Columbus’s Final Appeal to King Fernando. Facsimile, Transcriptions, Translation and Critical Edition of the John Carter Brown Library’s Spanish Codex I. By Helen Nader. Providence: The John Carter Brown Library, 1992.

From Gothic Windows to Peacocks: American Embossed Leather Bindings, 1825–1855. By Edwin Wolf 2nd. Philadelphia: The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1990.

Toumba tou Skourou: A Bronze Age Potters’ Quarter on Morphou Bay in Cyprus. By Emily D. T. Vermeule and Florence Z. Wolsky. Boston: Harvard University Press, 1990.

The Mapping of the Great Lakes in the Seventeenth Century: Twenty-two Maps from the George S. & Nancy B. Parker Collection. A portfolio with introduction and commentary by Kevin Kaufman. Providence: The John Carter Brown Library, 1989.

The Book in the Americas: The Role of Books and Printing in the Development of Culture and Society in Colonial Latin America. Exhibition Catalogue. By Julie Greer Johnson, with a bibliographical supplement by Susan L. Newbury. Providence: The John Carter Brown Library, 1988.

François-Marius Granet: Watercolors from the Musée Granet at Aix-en-Provence. By Edgar Munhall. New York: The Frick Collection, 1988.

The Drawings of Jonathan Richardson at Cornell: Celebrating the Tercentenary of the Birth of Alexander Pope. Ithaca: Cornell University Library, 1988.

Printing Technology, Letters, and Samuel Johnson. By Alvin Kernan. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.

The Memoir of Marco Parenti: A Life in Medici Florence. By Mark Phillips. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.

Virgil’s Elements: Physics and Poetry in the Georgics. By David O. Ross, Jr. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1987.

The World at Play in Boccaccio’s Decameron. By Giuseppe Mazzotta. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986.

Samuel Johnson’s Taxation no Tyranny. A Fragment of Proof Copy Corrected by the Author and Preserved by James Boswell. New York: The Grolier Club, 1980.

 

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