Students invited to judge books by their covers

There’s a new way to look at books in the Marriott Library.

An exhibition of 100 books praised for their design and covers is now on view in the Special Collections gallery of the library until May 7.

“It’s a unique opportunity to see book design from a different perspective,” said Carol Sogard, professor of graphic design.

The collection, “50 Books/ 50 Covers” is sponsored by the library and the local chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. “People often don’t pay attention to design and how design compliments content or story,” said Sogard, who is also a representative of Salt Lake City’s chapter of the institute.

The exhibition offers students the opportunity to discover what makes a good cover and how design can be used to enhance a message or the telling of a story, Sogard said. Typography, format, layout, images and the way images relate to text are all factors that make these books special, said Madelyn Garrett, curator of rare books.

“It’s a perfect package of form and content,” she said.

The U only invites one or two traveling shows a year, Garrett said, but this exhibit is always one of them because of its popularity.

More than 1,000 people will see the books at the U before they leave, she said. Besides wandering library patrons and graphic design students on campus, designers from the community often make a special effort to come see the collection, Sogard said.

“These exhibits really catch people-there’s hardly a time when someone isn’t looking,” Garrett said.

Anybody can enjoy these books, Sogard said. Identifying what makes them award winning doesn’t require any knowledge of graphic design.

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