National Book Foundation

We’ve worked with the National Book Foundation since 2016. First, to redesign their graphic identity ahead of the 2016 National Book Awards, then to design the awards materials themselves. In 2017, we revisited the awards materials and reimagined some of the way these items are produced.

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    2017 invitation

Historically, the program printed for the the Awards—with award recipient bios, finalist information, and a re-cap of the Foundation’s year of programming—has been used for just one night. This seemed an incredible waste of paper and resources! The program we designed this year features a removable, National Book Awards-specific “dust jacket” with welcome letters from Chairman of the Board David Steinberger and Executive Director Lisa Lucas. This jacket is designed in the spirit of the books this awards ceremony celebrates—their headshots appear on the flaps. More important than making a cheeky book joke, though, is that this removable jacket allows for these publications to be useful for the Foundation year-round.

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    Cover, flaps, & inside cover for the 2017 program book

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    2017 program

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    2017 program

We began our work in 2016 by redrawing the book icon, the most recognizable component of the National Book Foundation’s identity, but flipped the hierarchy to emphasize the type. We refer to this new lockup as “The Prefix” because it rarely, if ever, lives on its own. It’s the starting point for the logos of the Foundation as well as the Awards and many other initiatives sponsored by the Foundation.

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    The old Foundation identity

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    The Prefix

The National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards, but the Awards are a much more visible entity. In an attempt to increase awareness of the Foundation itself, the two primary logos stand on equal visual footing; the tagline paired with each defines its relationship to the other.

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The book icon always follows the words “National Book”. In titling, the icon picks up whatever accent color is used for the name of the entity, program or initiative it accompanies.

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    Various programs and initiatives sponsored by the National Book Foundation

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    Foundation stationery

After the initial identity project, we designed the invitation, program, and event signage for the 67th National Book Awards. The graphic look for that year’s event—stark: red, gold and black—served to boldly introduce the new identity.

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    Awards invitation

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    Awards program

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    Awards program

  • Photograph by Beowulf Sheehan

    Host Larry Wilmore

  • Photograph by Beowulf Sheehan

    Finalist Nicola Yoon, author of The Sun is Also a Star

  • Photograph by Beowulf Sheehan

    Award winners John Lewis and Ibram X. Kendi with National Book Foundation director Lisa Lucas

  • Photograph by Beowulf Sheehan
  • Photograph by Beowulf Sheehan

    Robert Caro was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2016 Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters