Unlike most booksellers who publish their promotional catalogs as printed booklets or static PDFs, Left Bank Books produce theirs as one-off, standalone web pages. Produced using Readymag, their catalogs’ design and functionality are distinctive and change from issue to issue, with different scrolling effects, bright colors, and interesting typefaces used to promote a “hand-picked inventory of used and rare books that reflect their interest in the creative process”.
The 6th issue of their catalog, from December 2019, has a playful holiday theme. The intro, designed by Taylor Woods, features a giant nutcracker whose mouth opens as you scroll to reveal the title typography. The nutcraker’s face is constructed with repurposed shapes from Ohno Blazeface, which is also used as the typeface for titling and list numbering. Other smaller type is set in Avenir. Photos are by Michael Bucher.
As web content continues to shift from the flexibility of individual web sites toward large silos of rigidly templated content, controlled by large corporations, I strongly endorse this kind of customized, small-scale web design. It offers a valuable low-risk testing ground for exploring new digital design techniques and unusual typefaces that might not be as practical for larger, less-ephemeral websites. The modern equivalent to what was traditionally called job work is now largely relegated to preparing small images for social media posts, which is a shame considering all the potential for experimentation and innovation offered by modern technology and the growing availability of unusual typefaces. (For more of my thoughts on this, see my talk on the topic.)
As a side note: I learned about about Left Bank’s web catalogs while chatting in their online booth for the Typographics Book Fair this year. Though they don’t carry many books about typography, they have a good selection of books on design in general, and – perhaps more notably – many, many books that demonstrate interesting typography on their covers or inside their pages. Browsing through their catalog, I’ve found several items deserving of documentation here at Fonts In Use.