The University of Arizona Press wins 3 design awards

The University of Arizona Press wins 3 design awards

Feb. 9, 2024
Three UA Press award winning book covers

Congratulations, UA Press editorial & production team!

The annual PubWest Book Design Awards recognize superior design and outstanding production quality of books published throughout North America. The University of Arizona Press (UA Press) received three awards in three categories at the annual PubWest Conference on Feb. 7. 

The UA Press editorial and production team are Art Director and Book Designer Leigh McDonald, Digital Publishing Specialist Sara Thaxton, and Editorial, Design & Production Manager Amanda Krause.

BRONZE in Academic/Reference/Non-Trade Award

When Language Broke Open, An Anthology of Queer and Trans Black Writers of Latin American Descent by Alan Pelaez Lopez

GOLD in Academic/Reference Award

Woven from the Center, Native Basketry in the Southwest by Diane Dittemore

The awards committee noted: “Amazing cover! Perfectly on point for the genre. Great design and package all around. Good crossover potential from Academic to trade.”

The large 9 x 12-inch book contains 478 color photographs showing baskets and basket-makers. Sara Thaxton explained, “Most of the images were supplied by the Arizona State Museum, though several other sources helped make the beautiful images of the interior possible, such as the Prescott Yavapai tribe, Arizona Historical Society, and Special Collections of the University of Arizona Library—almost 30 sources overall.”

SILVER in Adult Trade Book–Non-illustrated Award

Rim to River, Looking into the Heart of Arizona by Tom Zoellner

What goes into designing books?

Book design is a niche in the graphic design field. Its long history dates back to German printer Johannes Gutenberg who originated a method of printing from movable type in the early 1400s. 

"Today’s designers adapt to the needs of the digital age," Thaxton said. "Especially when it comes to better understanding of the needs of visually impaired and differently abled readers as well as the ever-expanding needs of digital accessibility for the ebook versions of our titles.”

The design process has its challenges. Designing interior pages combining text, tables, and photographs can be very difficult to fit everything properly near the relevant section—the more elements, the harder it can be," Thaxton said. "But titles like 'Woven' can also offer a surprising amount of flexibility in doing this work, since it allows you to make decisions about which images will set full page versus half page, giving you room to work around the smaller elements like pull-quotes. It can really be like putting together a puzzle, which is one reason I enjoy doing such complex layouts like this one so much!”

The University of Arizona Press

The University of Arizona Press (UA Press) is the premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works in the state of Arizona. UA Press disseminates ideas and knowledge of lasting value that enrich understanding, inspire curiosity, and enlighten readers. UA Press advances the University of Arizona’s mission by connecting scholarship and creative expression to readers worldwide.