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As a graphic designer with a keen interest in cooking I find my passions combine perfectly in beautifully produced cookery books. I’ve recently found my collection expanding beyond the limitations of the kitchen cupboard where they’re kept and it would seem I’m not alone.

Sales of printed books have been in continuing decline since 2009 as more and more readers migrate to the dreaded Kindle with paperback adult fiction performing worst of all with sales down 5.3% in the last 12 months.

However, cookery books seem somewhat healthier with regular appearances in bestseller lists and a 15% increase in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year.

The design, photography, illustration, styling and lavish production is a vital part of their success. They have moved from black and white instruction manuals into the arena of coffee table books intended to beautify homes.

Restaurateur and cookery writer, Prue Leith is convinced of the importance writing in the Guardian that “the look of the book now dictates the sale” with Bea Carvalho, cookery buyer for Waterstones adding that cookery books “need to be of high quality for customers to want to spend money on them”.

This isn’t to say they should be spared a good splatter of sauce or hand scribbled annotation as you can see from some of the images below. Some people like to keep theirs nice and clean but I think a well loved cookery book should be able to be dropped in a saucepan of boiling water and result in a reasonable stock.

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Image credits

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
Design: Here Design

Vegetables from an Italian Garden
Design: Astrid Stavro

Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
Design: Here Design

The Geometry of Pasta by Caz Hildebrand & Jacob Kenedy
Design: Here Design
Illustration: Lisa Vandy


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