PLEASE NOTE: All CMIT modules have now been withdrawn,
and are unavailable for the 2010/11 academic year
These web pages and lecture notes are left as reference for those students requiring CMIT modules to complete their programme only, and are not an indication of modules currently offered.
Choose one essay from the list below if you are taking the module for 15 credits (MIT3103) or for 20 credits (MIT3203).
If you are taking the module for 20 credits (MIT3203) you can either do a second essay, on a different subject from the first, or another book design, with critique.
If you can't find an essay question you like, see me and we will work out another.
All essays must be presented with a bibliography of the material that you have read in preparation for the essay - the essay mark will be affected if it is absent!
- Use the module bibliography as a starting point for your reading.
Essays should be about 2,000 words, excluding bibliography and notes. Essays can be longer if you wish.
The things I shall be looking for when marking the essay are available as a Word file.
- Give a critical analysis of book design from a particular period in a country or countries of your choice.
- "The greatest test of success...in book setting is to read it and finish it without being made aware what typeface was used." (Colin Brignall, in Graphics World March 1978, p.15). Discuss.
- Is it wrong for an 'academic' book to look like a 'coffee-table' book?
- The invention of computer-aided publishing is more important in the history of the book than Gutenberg inventing printing. Do you agree?
- Gutenberg and his immediate successors sought to make the new invention of printing copy the style of written books. Should computer-aided book publishing also seek to copy existing book design traditions?
- Book design is all right-angles and straight lines. Should this be
- Look at both the overall shape of books and page layout.
- Should the materials and equipment used in the publication process of books dictate the design of books or should the mind?
- 'Book typography is built out of the materials and ideas of the past so that total originality is not possible.' (McLean The Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography 1980, p. 125) Do you agree?
- The more that is put on the page, the less that goes into the reader. Is it possible to reconcile this statement with creating interesting design?
- 'To be simple is the end, not the beginning of design' (C. Voysey, 1893). Discuss in relation to the design of books.
- Why, if we see in colour, should we be presented with books in which we mainly read text in black and white?
- To what extent are children's books designed and marketed for children?
- 'As long as the notes, words and symbols are on the page it does not matter how you publish music.' Need thought be given to the design of printed music?
- The rise of cult romantic and post-romantic composers owes more to the developments in music printing and publishing than the music itself. Discuss.
- Without developments in printing and publishing the multitude of literary giants which blossomed forth from the eighteenth century onwards could not have occurred. Discuss.
- Assess analytically the contribution of William Morris to the history
of book printing and publishing.
- Concentrate on Morris' design and production activities with books and what influence these had in England and abroad. Avoid the temptation to get involved with all his other design activities or his political and family life - though these are fascinating! Make sure you look at chapter 10 of Peterson's book on the Kelmscott Press.