John Baldessari Catalogue Raisonné, Volume One: 1956-1974, Yale University Press
472 p., 500 color illustrations, $200
For the cover of the first of four planned volumes cataloging the entire output of hugely influential Conceptual artist John Baldessari, designer Simon Johnston came up with an illuminating solution. Much of Baldessari's work is a mash-up of the visual and the verbal, marked by a double-take sensibility and a fill-in-the-blank demand for viewer participation. Johnston's all-text design drops out every vowel, then wraps the spaced consonants from the sky-blue spine to the front cover. It's a neat trick: Immaterial language emphasizes physical heft for a chunky book, while making the tome functionally simple to spot on a crowded bookshelf.