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THE BIBLIO FILE is one of the world's leading podcasts about "the book" and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by NIGEL BEALE it features wide ranging conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other best practitioners on Robert Darnton's "communications circuit."

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Jan 16, 2020

Steven Heller wears many hats and has written and/or published many books (190+ to date). For 33 years he was an art director at the New York Times, originally on the OpEd Page and for almost 30 of those years with the New York Times Book Review. Currently, he is co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author Department, Special Consultant to the President of SVA for New Programs, and writes the Visuals column for the New York Times Book Review.

We met at his office in New York to talk about Jackets Required: An Illustrated History of the American Book Jacket 1920-1950, a book he co-wrote with Seymour Chwast in the 1990s. We start off discussing this eloquent description "At once seductive, informative, and ephemeral, a book jacket is designed to evoke - and promote - the contents of a book"; and then move on to Art Deco, futurism, Bauhaus, de Stijl, constructivism, typography, lettering and book collecting. Designers covered include Paul Rand, Alvin Lustig, E. Mcknight-Kauffer, W.A. Dwiggins and George Salter.