The two greatest triumphs of The Surface of Meaning: Books and Book Design in Canada (CCSP Press) are its impeccable production values, and the fact that it exists at all. Market realities in the book publishing industry would normally require that a book such as this—large format, cloth binding, sewn signatures and full-colour reproductions on virtually every one of its 240 pages—be priced out of reach of its (relatively small) audience. So kudos to CCSP Press for finding a way to make it happen, and to Don Atkins and Victor Marks, the generous patrons who underwrote the project. If we think of a book’s design at all, we tend to think of its cover alone; but every aspect of a book—the page dimensions, paper type, font, length of text line, space between text lines, margin sizes and so on—is the result of a designer’s decision. When these decisions are well made, then reading a book’s text is like reading it through glass: the design simply disappears; in this sense The Surface of Meaning is a book that documents the invisible. Robert Bringhurst, a poet, typographer and noted book designer, provides the text, in the form of a prologue and three lengthy essays on the history of Canadian book design. But it is the book’s visual record (designed by Bringhurst) that lingers the longest: a generous collection of gorgeous one- and two-page spreads that illustrate the work of some of Canada’s foremost book designers—Tim Inkster, Peter Cocking, Barbara Hodgson and their peers—with important elements from these designs glossed by detailed captions.