Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Design’

How printed books are beating ebooks: with beautiful covers and textured pages

May 17, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Design No Comments →

Penguin Bespoke Editions: Bruce Chatwin’s works wearing Burberry

Book covers looked very different a decade ago when the appearance of e-readers seemed to flummox a publishing industry reeling from the financial crisis and Amazon’s rampant colonisation of the market. Publishers responded to the threat of digitisation by making physical books that were as grey and forgettable as ebooks. It was an era of flimsy paperbacks and Photoshop covers, the publishers’ lack of confidence manifest in the shonkiness of the objects they were producing.

But after reaching a peak in 2014, sales of e-readers and ebooks have slowed and hardback sales have surged. The latest figures from the Publishing Association showed ebook sales falling 17% in 2016, with an 8% rise in their physical counterparts. At the same time, publishers’ production values have soared and bookshops have begun to fill up with books with covers of jewel-like beauty, often with gorgeously textured pages. As the great American cover designer Peter Mendelsund put it to me, books have “more cloth, more foil, more embossing, page staining, sewn bindings, deckled edges”.

Read the full article in The Guardian.

I prefer printed books because I like the smell of ink and paper, and because if I don’t like what I’m reading, I can throw it across the room with great force.

Fantastic book tunnels and elevator shaft libraries

April 04, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Design No Comments →

Entrance to the Yangzhou Zhongshuge bookstore in Zhen Yuan, China. See more photos at My Modern Met.

Reading room at the same bookstore

Studio North in Canada turns an industrial elevator shaft into a library

Where are my glasses?

July 15, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Clothing, Design No Comments →


Chus gave me this book, which he found at Dia de Libro this year (at Ayala Triangle, where Instituto Cervantes has moved).

Donde estan mis gafas_Paría Pascual4

It’s a picture book for adults who keep forgetting where they left their glasses. (The solution is to have several pairs of glasses, so you can put one on to find the missing pair.)

Your choice: Beautiful stairs, or unbroken bones?

December 03, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Design No Comments →



These stairs give new meaning to “suffering for beauty.” Read The World’s Most Beautiful (and Terrifying) Stairs. Thanks to Noel for the alert.

These are not Photoshopped, these are actual carpets and we want them.

November 26, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Design No Comments →


At first glance, Faig Ahmed’s carpets look like digital photos that didn’t load right the first time you clicked on them. Intricate patterns morph into messes of pixelation; blocks of color slide off like someone scrolled past them too fast; and some of the 2D mats look like they are bulging off a screen. But while they may appear to be software glitches or bad Photoshop editing, every one of Ahmed’s carpets are hand-woven – bugs and all.



Read about the work of Faig Ahmed at Smithsonian.

Sexing up the classics

August 17, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Design No Comments →


Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein. . .great books that generations of students have been required to read for their edification. They’re supposed to be “good for us”, like exercise or a trip to the dentist. Nothing kills the pleasure of reading a good book faster than treating it like homework.


What if the novels of Shelley, Bronte, Austen and company were regarded not as prerequisites for intellectual improvement, but as intended by their authors—as entertainment? What if the classics could be fun?

Pulp the Classics is a brilliant idea: taking some of the most famous works of literature and packaging them as 1950s pulp paperbacks with sensational covers, witty taglines, boldly-colored edges and fake scuff marks.


There’s a Ryan Gosling-like Dorian Gray peering out of his portrait saying, “Hey Girl…I’d sell my soul for you!” Marilyn Monroe as Tess of the D’Urbervilles—”She’s…No Angel.” A louche Mr. Darcy, the Colin Firth version, with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and the tagline, “Lock up your daughters…Darcy’s in town!”

The only cover we’re not crazy about is Wuthering Heights with Humphrey Bogart as Heathcliff. We love Bogey, but he’s not a Heathcliff.


The series is so effective, we bought copies for the design and ended up reading Tess again. We’re looking for the edition of Dubliners whose cover is based on Reservoir Dogs.

Pulp the Classics, available at National Bookstores, Php249 apiece.