Five Questions with Laurence King Publishing
Established in London in 1991, Laurence King Publishing is considered one of the world’s leading publishers of books on the creative arts. The signature red K on spines denoting LKP books can be found scattered throughout many of Kinokuniya’s shelves. Always fresh, accessible & well considered, they publish widely across many art & design genres and are recognised for their inventiveness. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this fine publishing house, we’ve curated a selection of LKP’s greatest hits on a highlighted shelf in our Art & Design department. We also decided it was a good time to have a chat and find out more about who they are and what they do. Here are Five Questions with Liz Faber of Laurence King Publishing… enjoy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself & your role at LKP?
I joined Laurence King Publishing 17 years ago. LKP was much smaller then than it is now, and probably best known for Honour & Fleming’s classic book, A World History of Art, as well as our graphic design list. I started out as a Project Editor on architecture and interiors books, working with our then Commissioning Editor for Architecture, Philip Cooper. I began commissioning books on the topic about four years ago. More recently I have also been commissioning gardening and garden design books such as My Garden is a Car Park, by Kendra Wilson, which tackles a host of 21st-century garden design dilemmas.
Is there one particular book that you think encapsulates the publishing ethos of LKP?
It’s impossible to choose a book that encapsulates the publishing ethos at LKP because our greatest successes range from books on design and academic art history to adult colouring books such as Secret Garden by Johanna Basford. As publishers of illustrated books it’s important to strive for high production values and to create innovative and unexpected content that keeps people interested in our brand. I think these qualities encapsulate what we do at LKP.
What do you see as the triumphs & challenges that have helped LKP flourish into its 25th year?
In the beginning, LKP was known for design books such as The End of Print by Lewis Blackwell and David Carson. Today, our list has expanded to include more mainstream art and design books, colouring books, children’s books and gifts. First, I think our success in each of these categories originates in the production values required when making books that appeal to the design community. At LKP we have taken these qualities and applied our knowledge in these areas to mainstream books, which makes them stand out. Second, there has always been a very productive and creative atmosphere at LKP, which finds its way into the books that we create. We have the space to experiment with new ideas and take risks on new formats, which in the long run makes for more interesting books and gifts.
What would be your advice to any young budding art publishers just starting out?
The most important piece of advice I could give to a budding art publisher would be to find what you do best and do it with conviction. It is tempting to try to mimic the success of others, but this is always a mistake. Never try to imitate – you won’t fool anybody. I think it is also important not to become complacent, but keep thinking about new ideas and keep striving for the best quality.
Which LKP title is your all-time favourite & why?
My favourite LKP title changes all the time as we have so many books! But, at the moment I would have to say, This is Frank Lloyd Wright (though as the commissioning editor I’m biased). This is the latest book in our ‘This is…’ series of illustrated introductions to artists and architects. I love the illustrations by Michael Kirkham, and the author Ian Volner has done a fantastic job in bringing the architect to life.
Liz Faber is a Commissioning Editor at Laurence King Publishing. Originally from the US, she has lived in the UK since childhood. Faber studied Art History at University College London, which led to her first job in publishing working on the Grove Dictionary of Art.
Laurence King Publishing was established in London in 1991, and is now recognised as one of the world’s leading publishers of books on the creative arts. Its books are acclaimed for their inventiveness, beautiful design and authoritative texts, as well as the care taken over their production. Laurence King Publishing celebrated its 25th anniversary this September.