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This interview is taken from PN Review 255, Volume 47 Number 1, September - October 2020.

Andrew Latimer in conversation with Emily Benton
Intelligent Design
EMILY BENTON BOOK DESIGN
Andrew Latimer
AL—A casual browser of your website could hardly fail to notice the almost total absence of images from your cover designs. Are you a practising iconoclast or is this a deliberate preference?

EB—Many of the books I’m commissioned to design are text heavy, originating more from a non-fictional standpoint; poetry, critical thinking, even report-based texts. In these instances images aren’t always appropriate, and so much can be conveyed with typeface, colour and materiality alone! Good quality substrates and professional typefaces used in interesting ways can need very little support and combining those minimal elements well is intensely satisfying. A whisper can be louder than a shout.

AL—You are responsible for the latest PNR redesign – congratulations! What are the biggest challenges and/or joys as a designer when working with poetry as opposed to other forms of writing?

EB—The joy of working with poetry is knowing that every word and indentation has been chosen with absolute intent. The challenges stem from the same place; we don’t always have the luxury of reproducing pieces exactly as the author intended. The most common constraint to an honest representation of a work is the page width. PNR doesn’t suffer so much from this; however, I recently designed a series of poetry books for UEA’s Publishing Project which are more portable, as such, the authors and I occasionally needed to create a subtly different version of their piece to work with the page constraints.

AL—Do you have a favourite font that you go to automatically? What makes it special?
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