Horizontal text on book spine

nina's picture

Has anyone got nice examples to share of current books that have horizontal spine text, preferably set flush left / ragged right? I'm aware of the slews of classic books with centered horizontal text on the spine, but I'm looking for more current examples.

Is this more popular with nonfiction than fiction? If so why?

Also, any good reasons against doing this sort of thing (assuming of course that it works without making the text too small and/or causing uncomfortable breaks)?

Thanks.

Michael Hernan's picture

/deleted comment

eliason's picture

Christopher Burke's Active Literature: Jan Tschichold and New Typography

nina's picture

I'll show mine too, since I'm asking. This is a Korean book (which I can't read, but find inspiring and fascinating):

riccard0's picture

Not the best picture (but a remarkable novel):
http://s158562511.onlinehome.us/000204.jpg

oprion's picture

Then there's this.

nina's picture

Hmm…
So how do people feel about the idea of flush-left horizontal text on the spine of, say, a novel?

riccard0's picture

Well, if you have enough space, why not?
That said, flush left leans towards modern/design-y, so maybe it depends on the novel too.

nina's picture

"flush left leans towards modern/design-y"

Sure seems like it.

I guess I'm asking a non-question here… I was just wondering because this seems so rare that I was suspecting some underlying big issue. Guess not. :-)

Bendy's picture

I've never seen it done before so I'll be interested to see what you come up with. I'm sure you'll make it look great.

riccard0's picture

this seems so rare that I was suspecting some underlying big issue

Thinking about it, other than the inability to scream DAN BROWN or similia using all available space (mitigated by the better readability of horizontal text), the only other issue I can think of is with the type of binding. A used paperback book, one that was actually read, tend to develop vertical cracks along the spine. Vertical text would appear somewhat stenciled, but still legible until a certain point. The risk with horizontal text would be the cracks deleting single letters.

boardman's picture

Interesting. I've been thinking about this as well of late. It seems that we've become quite used to tilting our heads (or our brains) to be able to read vertical text on a spine, especially when it reads from top to bottom (in North America). But on websites, magazines, or other collateral, it's not recommended nor is there a convention established.

Does anyone know when vertically displayed text became a standard in book publishing or is it just a matter of longer titles and shorter books requiring it?

riccard0's picture

Does anyone know when vertically displayed text became a standard in book publishing or is it just a matter of longer titles and shorter books requiring it?

This question came out before (http://www.typophile.com/node/65375), still no definitive answer.

nina's picture


Got lucky with a short-worded title. So far nobody has complained – I'm curious to see if anybody will :-). It is rather uncommon, but I tend to think that's a good thing, in terms of making it stand out.

riccard0's picture

Beautiful achievement! :-)

(Just hope they wouldn't want a series!* ;-)

* http://typophile.com/node/69633

nina's picture

Ha! I hope :-)

theplatypus's picture

Do it! Break the rules... or stretch thyself!

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