The Next Page: Thirty Tables of Contents. We are sharing it here as a slide show..." /> The Next Page: Thirty Tables of Contents. We are sharing it here as a slide show..." />

The Editors | Slideshows

The Next Page: Thirty Tables of Contents

Last year, on the occasion of "Next," the AIGA's Biennial National Design Conference in Denver, Design Observer published a little book, The Next Page: Thirty Tables of Contents. For our readers not in attendance, we are sharing it here as a slide show.

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The Next Page: An Introduction

What comes next? Is it real or imagined? The rapture or the revolution? Utopia or Armageddon? Or is it something simpler, more tangible and more immediate — like, say, lunch?

Next is often a material goal: what will I get, and when will I get it? Where am I headed, how soon and how fast? Is it mere ambition that fuels such persistent hunger — or is it apprehension, even anxiety? Maybe it’s just a pragmatic instinct, a way of negotiating a path through the unknown and the unknowable. Will it rain tomorrow? Should I upgrade now, or later? The I Ching or the iPhone? But the truth is, none of us really know what’s coming next. Not even designers.

With this in mind, we offer this book, compiled on the occasion of AIGA’s Twelfth Biennial National Design Conference in Denver last year. In it, we have choosen to narrow our sights to the written word, considering what we read next, how we move from one chapter to the next, and how we navigate through a single volume. Often overlooked by serious bibliophiles, the humble TOC is our portal into a world of knowledge. In the realm of the printed word, it heralds what comes next, a verbal proscenium with its own peculiar prose and typographic conventions.

In this book, we have gathered together thirty Table of Contents pages from our personal collections. On the surface, the selection may elude standard organizational conceits: why a design collection that also includes poetry and fiction? Why Philip Larkin and not Billy Collins, Ayn Rand and not Philip Roth, Paul Rand and not Jan Tschichold? Like “next” itself, there’s no intentional logic or over-arching plan: we just found these examples engaging, the discrepancies between them even more so.

Some readers will appreciate their typographic form, while others will see further strategies at work — informational, strategic, philosophical, literary. There are odd, even anachronistic cultural references, gestures that date these books in a manner oddly soothing. They remind us that what we will be has, by its very nature, a great deal to do with where we’ve been — and that there is no future without a past.

— Michael Bierut, William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand

Copyright ©2007 Winterhouse Editions
ISBN: 1-884381-23-5
Designed at Winterhouse Studio, August 2007
Retina Agate font by Hoefler & Frere-Jones
Paper by Mohawk Fine Papers, Cohoes, New York
Printing by Finlay Printing, Bloomfield, Connecticut

Posted in: Media

Comments [12]

no.3 by Tracey Schiffman. is very nice. love the shape.

That’s a fabulous little collection. It’s funny that some people overlook the lowly TOC; I think doing those is half the reason I want to be a book designer someday…
James Puckett

“Also, we will mail a free copy to the first 100 readers who email us. The clock started when this post went live. Offer has expired: we have received more than 100 emails already. Sorry, no more books are available. ”

101 The Role of Humor

“I guess I was 101.

Carl W. Smith

Leader dots (ants crawling across the page) and contents justified to the main text measure (we're not going to be adding the page numbers up) might do well to keep their heads down in this listing. The example by Ron Costley (21/31) demonstrates an antidote to both these design decisions – based not on what's best for the reader – but more on what it looks like. Perhaps that hoary old chestnut 'less is more' is most appropriate when aimed at contents page design?

Great to see some book design herewith though. More micro typography of interest to anyone? Index design; now that's a real test of typo+graphic craft.

I bumped into a discussion that I find very true. Aren't we all living-dead designers?

I agree with many of the things said here and it's an interesting discussion to develop. Maybe here?
Joanna Houlder

These are all great. I must say that the page that jumped off the, uh, page was the TOC of "The Elements of Typographic Style." I recognized it immediate (before reading a word) and had this proud, yet exasperated flashback of having read all the way through that puppy. Bringhurst's design and writing styles are forever etched on my brain.

Thanks for posting.

I'd love to see a Flickr set of Contents (and one of indexes for that matter) - you should set one up, with these thirty examples as the starting point.

I have to say, being at the conference I was annoyed to no end by the presence of this book in my goodie bag. For a conference and an organization for that matter, that stresses responsible & sustainable choices, I found this little tome to be a fairly obvious and infuriating waste of resources. I mean, c'mon.

Is a collection of TOC interesting? Mildly, yes. Was it a good idea to print a crap ton of them? It would be hard to argue against a firm, no. Alas, dichotomies and contradictions abound everywhere. I'd love to hear if the "necessity" of this book was ever addressed by those who created it.

I am glad that it finally found an appropriate home on the internets, where it should have been in the first place.

This is by no means a slight on the DO. But doesn't being responsible mean actually making the responsible choice?

The Contents book is now a Flickr group. Submit your favorite Table of Contents here:
William Drenttel

Thank you so much for the book! I love it!
Lauren Rand

It is a shame that the compilers did not see fit to include Alasdair Gray's 1982, Janine, although the table of contents pales into typographic insignificance compared to some of the later pages in the book.
Alun J. Carr

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