Damn Everything but the Circus

Megan Redfern

GD 203

Dr. Deborah Littlejohn

Dr. Russel Flinchum

12 February 2019

Damn Everything but the circus: a lot of things but together (1970)

Author: Sister Corita

Upon entering the room for this assignment I wasn’t sure what types of books would be on display. I assumed they would be really old with fancy gold calligraphy, like some of the ones we have seen in the lecture videos. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I began to scan the room and quickly laid eyes on the book: Damn Everything but the circus. The book stuck out amongst all of the others because of its bright, almost neon colors. The fun, bold letters combined with the colors made it almost impossible just to pass by without sitting down and doing some further exploring. The book is pretty large in size, around 15” in width. It uses a medium weight shiny paper for the inside. There is not a ton of pages, making it thin and lightweight. The style of the book itself reminds me of a children’s book. It reminds me of a children’s book not only by its structure but by the colors and sense of fun and excitement I had just by initially looking at it. It was very different from the other books that were displayed and not the type of book I was expecting to see at all. Damn Everything but the circus was done in 1970 so it doesn’t have the same particular smell that some of the older books would have. The smooth, medium weight pages make it easy to flip through. A lot of the books in the room were very old and fragile, and I had to handle them with a lot of care. Damn Everything but the circus was still in great condition and I could flip through it carefully without feeling like it could break or rip. Being able to handle the book with ease made the viewing experience much more pleasant because I could focus on the content of the book as well as the structure. Aside from the colors, the imagery of the book is amazing. Each page features a letter of the alphabet and another visual element, such as an illustration, or words. There seems to be no pattern to the colors or images except for that it is in alphabetical order and the colors use the same amounts of saturation. The pages are actually screen prints done by the author, Corita Kents. I am very fascinated with screen printing and have even gotten to do a few myself when I studied at a different university. Screen printing is something I have always wanted to do more and learn more about, which made this book investigation very exciting. The main typography used in the book is a large, bold, slab serif type. The type is cohesive with the “circus” theme of the book. Since it is bold the color of the type is noticeable and very important to the page, the letters in this book become apart of the imagery. Overall my viewing experience was very fun and enjoyable all around.

Damn Everything but the circus is a collection of prints done by Sister Corita Kent. The book is an ABC book which includes a series of prints of all 26 letters of the alphabet, which is why the subtitle is a lot of things put together. It is an important book to collect because it is a very important work in the development of modern book design. It was also produced during a very socially important time in our country, 1970. During the 70’s there was a lot of social movements and protests being held. The Author, Corita Kent, is very famous for her silk screen prints. She started creating art in 1950 and is now featured in permanent collections of 37 world-famous museums. She is famous for her posters, greeting cards, and of course, books. Los Angeles Times named her one of the “Top Nine Women of the Year.” Her commitment to social justice can be seen in Damn Everything but the circus. Often found on children’s book shelves, the poetry and literary quotes of the book express Kent’s passion for social justice and was made to be enjoyed by all ages. Kents work with silkscreen prints influenced many designers and artists. Her art helped establish silkscreen printing as a fine art. The playful bright colors, use of silk screen printing, and the expression of social concern are the elements that make her book stand out and what started the change in modern book design. The book is collected because it says a lot about the culture of the time period surrounding it.


Works Cited

“Damn Everything But The Circus by Delicious Industries.” Delicious Industries, www.deliciousindustries.com/blog/damn-everything-but-the-circus.

Kennard, Jennifer. “Damn Everything but the Book.” Letterology, 12 Mar. 2011, www.letterology.com/2011/03/damn-everything-but-book.html.


Title Page

Kent’s Silkscreen print