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The Perfect Package 

by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & f you think Get Lit! is all about readers and writers, you're right -- but there's more. This year, one of the workshops will focus on book design. While writers may not want to admit it, it's often the cover that sells a book more than the quality of the prose. Big publishing houses put tons of effort into just the right look, and on Saturday Seattle designer Ed Marquand will teach local designers -- and anyone else who's interested -- what works and what doesn't.

"The more people are pulling information off the computer -- the flat screen -- the more they want the book to be memorable, tactile, pleasurable," says Marquand, the founder and art director at Marquand Books.

Marquand works primarily in the fine art book market, with museums, individual collectors and artists. On Saturday at 1:30 pm at the Spokane Club, Marquand is asking attendees to bring books with covers they had an emotional response to -- good or bad -- and he'll critique them. Or bring a current project, and he'll tackle that, too. (Preregister by calling 623-4284.)

Marquand says there are some common mistakes to avoid: "People think making type bigger increases the impact, when it may, but it often doesn't. And young designers need to watch out for clich & eacute;s -- it's often hard not to do something clich & eacute;d.

"So," he continues, "ask yourself, who is really the audience for the book, and who are you designing for? I think designers also need to spend more time researching where their book will fall in a bookstore, and look at ways to make titles more distinctive. And the spines are often underappreciated."

As part of his publishing house, Marquand relies on both a high-tech digital letterpress and a by-hand book bindery. He likes the blending of photo-quality images with traditional production techniques. "We look at trim sizes, textures of paper, typography, all the ways to make the book feel fresher. But all our clients are very interested in having a good jacket."

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