Materials Matter: Brutally Honest Book
Emily Cohen’s self-published book may be ‘brutally honest’ but this Superfine manual is seriously easy on the eyes.
Emily Ruth Cohen is a lot of things; wife, mother, teacher, self-published author, bookseller’s daughter and designer turned ‘brutally honest’ design consultant, but one thing she is not — a bullshitter.
Spend an hour with Emily and you’ll agree her new book titled Brutally Honest: No Bullshit Strategies To Evolve Your Creative Business could only have come from her.
Brutally Honest is not only “not your standard, boring, business book,” it’s a beautifully executed, well-designed object that is a direct reflection and extension of Emily’s delightfully brash wit, her unique style and signature approach. The book is filled with "advice, insights, best business practices, and actionable strategies for creative professionals" delivered in a straightforward, concise, and (brutally) honest, distinctly Emily, manner.
In her own words Emily asserts, “This book is like me, but in book form. I wear bright colors and it’s very bright and direct — it really reflects my personality and how I present myself.”
Featuring glowing gradients and a spectrum of pages flooded with fluorescent hues of orange, purple and pink contrasted by a dark, deep matte black cover, Brutally Honest wasn’t just written for designers — it was designed for them.
The 286 page book was printed on Mohawk Superfine. This choice, Emily explains, was because “we needed a paper to accommodate 9 colors [offset]. I’m serious, we printed in 9 — I mean, we went crazy, we couldn’t use just any paper.” She clarifies by saying, “The paper choice was definitely influenced by color and blend; the book has gradients so any paper we chose had to hold that very well. We chose Superfine for its brightness and tactility. Mohawk is well-known and respected so there’s a brand recognition aspect, but the paper really is tactile and has great performance and quality.”
The book, is a sight to behold and a delight to hold. Designed by Once-Future Office, Brutally Honest is the perfect size to slip into a bag and carry on the go, but the visual progression of colorful gradients begs for it to be splayed atop a coffee table and admired.
“I’ve always wanted to do a book,” Emily claims. “I wanted to develop something that had long lasting value — a book has lasting power and relevance. The paper, the look, the smell — it’s tactile. The whole point is that it’s an object that you hold.” She laughs, “If anything else, it’ll make an amazing coffee table book!”
When asked if Emily felt she’d achieved her self-professed goal to “publish a book that designers and creatives will not only enjoy reading, but one that they would also be proud to hold, display and share,” she responds confidently and without hesitation “Oh, absolutely!”
“The design community is extremely critical — and I knew that going into this,” Emily states, “but 99.9% of feedback has been incredibly positive, even from people who haven’t even read it yet!” She goes onto say, “Designers have responded so well to the vibrancy of the book. There’s a million business books out there for designers, so this had to stand out; it has very short chapters, information graphics and short ‘sound bytes’ [fun little insights and asides* that appear in bars throughout the book].”
It should come as no surprise that the book has been a runaway success considering not only Emily’s expertise on its subject, but the fact that she is a Bookseller’s Daughter both in name (her newfound publishing company is named Bookseller’s Daughter) and by lineage.
Her father owned two bookstores in Manhattan until she was 18, when in a move straight out of ‘You’ve Got Mail,’ a Barnes & Noble was built around the corner and he was forced out of business. Now he sells used books online — in fact, he’s even floated the idea of selling Brutally Honest (Emily respects the hustle). Emily says, “Every time I speak to him he asks how the book’s selling!”
She elaborates, “He likes to refer to me as ‘My daughter, the author!' As a consultant, he never really understood what I did — then I became a teacher, so he called me a teacher, but somehow that never really resonated with me. Now I don’t mind him calling me an author.”
So is Emily, the author, planning another book anytime soon? “Yeah, no” she replies in an uproarious laugh. “But I’d love to maybe do a seminar or a teacher’s edition of the book. Or write a book of curated Case Studies from clients or designers I respect.”
We’ll be waiting.
A commonly used printing technique in which the inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process, which is based on the repulsion of oil and water, the offset technique employs a flat (planographic) image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a water-based film (called "fountain solution"), keeping the non-printing areas ink-free.
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