Edward Booth-Clibborn

Web original  2008  

Edward Booth-Clibborn published Lennon's lithographs and McLuhan's newsletter in the 60s, advised the Labour Party on their electoral posters in the 70s and was credited with revolutionising the coffee-table book in the 90s. Having worked with him but never having had time to chat, I wanted to ask him what the keys were to making visionary visual books work in the digital age.

Vicky:  You told me once you were brought up on garlic and Jung.

Edward: Garlic and honey, but yes, my mother was a great disciple of Jung. The first books I was given were Kafka's The Trial and an art book on Goya's Disasters of War. Were they influences? I don't know.

V: What attracts you to a book now?

Edward: I've always believed you must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Pace, pause and pitch.

V: How about the big ideas?

Edward: Yes. Quite. They need to be there. The other important point is, contrary to what everyone thinks, good visual books aren't based on images and layouts. It's about ideas, conceptual design and an intellectual rigour. Thinking about it in that way, there's no difference between editing and the design.

V:  Yes and no. The psychology's different, I think.

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