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Public Books

Contributed by Stephen Coles on May 25th, 2016. Artwork published in .
    Public Books — A twice monthly review dedicated to spirited debate about books and the arts.png
    Source: http://www.publicbooks.org License: All Rights Reserved.

    Public Books homepage. Logo in Helvetica Ultra Compressed. MT Grotesque Extra Condensed for headlines and main nav. Grotesque Display Bold Condensed for bylines. OCR-B for nav and slugs. Plantin for text.

    Founded in 2012 by Editors in Chief Sharon Marcus and Caitlin Zaloom, Public Books supports an international community of emerging and established intellectuals and artists committed to vigorous debate about works and ideas that deserve timely, intensive discussion.

    The site, designed by Common Name and developed by Dan Brewster, makes liberal use of Monotype Grotesque (a family the studio uses for their own site). In this case, the main player is specifically the Extra Condensed style, which was originally issued in metal as an individual typeface (Series 383). This and other disparate Grotesques from Monotype were bundled into a single “family” when the fonts were digitized in 1992 and released as MT Grotesque.

    The text face is Plantin, which suits the high-minded writing. It works well on article pages but is too small on the home page. If this site were to be designed today (2016) the makers would probably have chosen larger type and an airier, responsive front page, but I appreciate its newspaper-like density. The color and frames (each representing a category) keep things from getting too stuffy. Overall, I think the site has aged quite well over four years. Larger type and a minor update that adapts to modern screen sizes would be enough to keep it relevant for many more.

    Public Books list.png
    Source: http://www.publicbooks.org License: All Rights Reserved.

    Homepage list view.

    Public Books — Events.png
    Source: http://www.publicbooks.org License: All Rights Reserved.

    Filtered by category.

    Public Books — Tags.png
    Source: http://www.publicbooks.org License: All Rights Reserved.

    Tag index.

    Public Books — Blog.png
    Source: http://www.publicbooks.org License: All Rights Reserved.

    Blog.

    Public Books — The Female Body of Punk.png
    Source: http://www.publicbooks.org License: All Rights Reserved.

    Article page.

    Public-Books-—-On-Writing-and-Restaurant-Labor.jpg
    Source: http://www.publicbooks.org License: All Rights Reserved.
    Public Books — On Writing and Restaurant Labor.png
    Source: http://www.publicbooks.org License: All Rights Reserved.
    Public Books — About.png
    Source: http://www.publicbooks.org License: All Rights Reserved.

    About page.

    PUB-3.jpg
    Source: http://common-name.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Visual essay.

    2012-PUB-website-132.jpg
    Source: http://common-name.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Content management system.

    Typefaces

    • Monotype Grotesque Extra Condensed
    • Plantin
    • Monotype Grotesque
    • Helvetica Compressed
    • OCR-B

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    1 Comment on “Public Books

    1. Blythwood says:
      Mar 5th, 2017  11:57 pm

      I really like this – reminds me of Google Keep with the solid colours, which I’m a sucker for. It makes information density feel like a positive without taking it too far.

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