12 Days of Giving: Spineless Classic Posters Featuring STARDUST by Neil Gaiman and Interview with Carl Pappenheim, Founder of Spineless Classics

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On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

A Spineless Classic Poster!

I have been waiting to tell you about Spineless Classics for a couple of months now!

For those who have never heard of Spineless Classics, visit their website to discover many great novels. Spineless Classics takes a book and puts it--in its entirety--on a poster that can hang in a library, an office, a kid's room, etc. STARDUST by Neil Gaiman and THE PRINCESS BRIDE by William Goldman are the two newest additions. There are also classics like Cinderella and Peter Pan and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, as well as modern favorites such as HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S/PHILOSOPHER'S STONE and THE HOBBIT and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES.

Spineless Classics sent me a review copy of STARDUST by Neil Gaiman:

 Here is a look with more light (But it also has more reflection due to this...sorry!):

I've uploaded a YouTube video with my full review, because this is one book that looks amazing in person: 

The optional frame:

YouTube Link I bought a cheap poster frame at the craft store. At half price, it was about $20. Spineless Classics sells a much better frame. Ask them for rates when placing your order! Here's their description of their frames:

"Frames are in real wood, painted plain black and hand finished by reputable framers."

The paper quality:

"Our posters are printed on lush, satin finish paper with state-of-the-art printing technology. The text is pin-sharp and the paper non-reflective so you can hang and light it exactly as you wish."

An interview with
Carl Pappenheim

©Publishing Innovation
Carl Pappenheim is founder and director of Spineless Publishing, which prints entire books onto posters in tiny, but legible, type. What started as a one-off experiment has caught the imagination of the book buying public and now, just two years after their first public show, Spineless Classics are on sale as far afield as Australia and Vietnam, and feature authors as diverse as J.K. Rowling and Irvine Welsh. Bridging a previously unnoticed gap between home décor and publishing has presented its own challenges but with a career spanning photography, e-tailing and database programming, Carl has an appropriately varied background.
You can find Spineless Classics...
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What sort of planning goes into creating the design for a Spineless Classic?

Some say that a mystical Book Selection ceremony takes place in the menacing shadow of Mount Spineless, in the forbidding mountains of South West London.  Many tell tales of ancient mages who wave their organs of sorcery through the mists of creative ether that bind the worlds of imagination and reality, looking for ripples that show the intersection between length, popularity and ease of acquisition of the author's phone number that reveal the identity of the One True Book of the month.

It is only from half-whispered fairy tales that people come to be aware of the mere shadows of the strange arts involved in laying out the text of a book onto a single page but it is generally accepted that it's a two-way street with the text needing a certain amount of space, which restricts the design as much as the design shapes the text.  Only after many years of study can the very brightest students of Spinewolds School of Typesetting and Artistry master the proper techniques required to shoehorn a whole chapter into James Bond's bow tie.

Are there ever any issues with layout when something isn't working? What are some tricks to making it all work out in the end?

Some titles behave better than others.  Tolkien's enthusiasm for poetry and songs leaves a lot of short lines which make the design work difficult as intersecting with the spaces left behind can leave you with a cancerous looking character, or an illegible piece of title text.  The trick is perseverance, and an ability to walk away from hours of work because it's a lost cause.  The Recycle Bin of the Spineless computer collection is crammed with junked designs - on average around five per title.  The record is 26.

Other tricks?  It's about not making life hard for yourself, paying attention to where the column gutters are before you get started, avoiding thin diagonal lines and vertical curves and so on.  As time goes by we find more designs hit the spot earlier on because we've gained the experience not to make, set and walk into our own traps.

How does Spineless Classics choose which titles to acquire? (Is there there anything on the horizon you can talk about yet?)

The next big title will have something in common with the first Macintosh computer, and the one after that is likely to have something to do with turning lead into gold.  There may be an 8-bit fantasy title in between that involves luggage. Other than that, my lips are sealed although that's mainly due to the exceptionally sticky bun I had with my lunch.

What gave you the concept to create Spineless Classics and bring novels to life as art?

I came at it from the other direction.  I saw an architectural drawing come off a plotter and noticed the weird juxtaposition of tiny text on a huge sheet.  This got me thinking: what if it was all text - how many words would that be?  I did some sums on the back of an envelope (architects are tidy people but their printers tend not to be) and came up with 100,000 words which is an average novel length.

Which Spineless Classics titles have been your personal favorites so far?

I like them all to be honest.  I really enjoyed making The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time because doing the source template was a straight 14-hour stint with the hard copy in hand.  It's a great read anyway but it was really special to commune with a book at that level.  I love the design on A Clockwork Orange and Three Men in a Boat is just about my favourite humour novel so it was a double pleasure to get such a nice design done.  The children's titles are of course particularly touching; Matilda in particular, because I always read too much as a child, and Paddington came out rather brilliantly, I thought.

It's been thrilling to bring the Neil Gaiman title Stardust to market and of course The Princess Bride is everyone's favourite.  But they're all special in their own way.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go boil up the cauldron of magic potion - the Spirits of Mystical Inspiration won't summon themselves, you know.

The Official 
Press Release:

Fantasy favourites from Spineless Classics
Stardust & The Princess Bride in beautiful book art form

London 06 August 2014: Due to popular demand from fans, Spineless Classics is pleased to announce the launch of two fantasy novels  - Stardust and The Princess Bride.

Spineless Classics creates unique designs using the full text of a book on a single page to form stunning pieces of wall art. The collection includes an extremely diverse range with over 100 classic titles. Every word from the book is included as well as all of the original formatting.

Stardust, the magical creation by Neil Gaiman, tells the story of Tristran Thorn’s romantic quest to find a fallen star in the magical land of Faerie

The print’s design has a silhouette of Tristran leading the beautiful star Yvaine on a unicorn. The text of the book encompasses both this magical image and the title, surrounded by shooting stars.  In the UK there will be a limited edition with glow-in-the-dark highlights to give this print the ultimate fairytale feel.

Another modern classic, The Princess Bride is the tongue-in-cheek fantasy novel written by William Goldman. With equal parts romance, comedy, adventure and fairytale, the book is filled with memorable and witty quotes including “As You Wish”, “Inconceivable!” and “Hallo, my name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father; prepare to die!”. These and other classic quotes have been highlighted in red to stand out on the print for true fans to enjoy.

The design for The Princess Bride was put to a vote on the Spineless Classics Facebook page. The clear favourite and therefore the final design sees the main characters including Buttercup, Wesley and Fezzik the giant bought to life on the page. Colour is also added to the print through Buttercup’s red dress and blonde hair. 

Carl Pappenheim, Managing Director & Founder of Spineless Classics commented: “We had a lot of fun creating these designs.  I'm very happy to be adding both these books to our range and it was particularly fun to get the public vote on The Princess Bride. We are building a  loyal fan base and want to make sure they love these designs of their favourite classics. We’ve had a lot of requests for these two books and we’re extremely pleased with the final results.”

Both designs measure 70x100cm and cost £39.99 unframed.
Available from Spineless Classics www.spinelessclassics.com