I wandered over to the Design Observer last night and followed a long trail of cool collections. These design collections were interesting not only for their content, but I also thought about the way non-librarians (assuming that they did not enlist a librarian’s help) addressed metadata and copyright issues.

A Brooklyn design firm, Fwis, has created an online collection of book covers. This collection focuses on the design of covers. They include the designer in the metadata and the subject of comments are mainly design related. Certainly before the Internet but also sometimes now, I have chosen books based on the cover design. Some of these books I now consider favorites. Their copyright statement is a blanket one: “All covers posted are the copyright of their respective holders.”

An online archive of communication design is presented by the professional association for design, AIGA. The collection includes AIGA competition selections from categories like advertisements, commercial printing, communication graphics, and book design in the years 1924-2008. They provide a lightbox and allow users to annotate and share items in the collection. The collection can be filtered by category. Book design metadata differs depending on the item but can include information about the typographer, the printer/binder, paper, jacket designer, and engraver. I could not find any copyright statements here.

Not coming to a theater near you” presents a collection of movie credit sequences by Saul Bass. He designed the credits for movies like Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence, and a few Hitchcock films. The credit images from each film are accompanied by a short description of the credits and the film itself. I found this copyright statement, “All images, unless otherwise noted, are taken from a Google image search and are used in accordance with the Fair Use Law. When optional, screen captures are taken from DVDs. Some images taken with consent from DVDBeaver.”

A collection of book trade labels is available from Seven Roads. Information about the labels include: institution (publisher, printer, binder, importer, distributer, seller), location, size, contributor, and occasionally, the history. The collection can be browsed by geography or topic. Topical collections include bibliomorphic, fauna, ships, and readers. I did not see a notice of copyright or use.

Randy Cohen and Nigel Holmes of the New York Times have created a literary map of Manhattan, indicating the location of book settings and passages on the map. There are 99 books indexed and marked from authors like Edith Wharton, Johnathon Franzen, and Mark Twain.

Lastly, I learned of an open access design journal, International Journal of Design, for anyone interested.