Altering designs

Bookplate Ink’s website encourages people to call or write if they don’t see exactly what they want in our pages of designs. When possible, we are happy to make changes to a design to fit the needs (or even whimsy!) of a customer.


Design N100

Author William Landay recently made such a request. Like many other authors, he wanted bookplates with room for him to autograph them for readers. Oftentimes, authors use one of our border designs, such as N100, shown here. This elegant yet bold border, printed on cream colored paper, leaves plenty of room for a comment and signature. We have a non-personalized version of this design, but can also print an author’s name, the title of their book, or even include a logo with our personalized version.

Landay image

Modified A124 design

But Landay requested changes to our design A124 to fit his needs. A124 is one of our designs with artwork by renowned artist Rockwell Kent, originally printed in the 1950s by the Antioch Bookplate Company. After many requests, we brought this bookplate back into print several years ago. For Landay, we made the artwork much smaller so that he would have room to sign his name and make comments. He requested “With compliments of the author” and his name be printed on the plate.

Another design that has been altered for customers is B217. Introduced by Antioch Bookplate Company in the 1960s, this design was created by Tom Eaglin, using the inspirational quote attributed to Quaker leader William Penn. We have printed this design without the “ex libris” text, which is Latin for “from the library of,” and without any text at all. With text that is vastly different from the original Penn quote, author Jeaniene Frost has used this design to create a bookplate that suits her style and books.

Jeaniene Frost version of B217


Design B217


The dark side of bookplates

Not everyone likes cheerful bookplates. Sure, we have designs that have inspirational verses or pleasing landscapes, but some people prefer bookplates that will ensure their books are returned, even if by threat. Design A124

One customer ordered our design A124, which is a rather serene scene by renowned artist Rockwell Kent first printed by the Antioch Bookplate Company in the 1950s, and included a stern reprimand from the Old Testament: “The wicked borrow and do not return. Psalm 37:21”.

Another included this incredibly explicit warning in our border design, B254:

“For him that stealeth a Book from this Library,
let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him.
Let him be struck with Palsy, and all his Members blasted.
Let him languish in Pain crying aloud for Mercy
and let there be no sur-cease to his Agony till he sink in Dissolution.
Let Bookworms gnaw his Entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not,
and when at last he goeth to his final Punishment,
let the flames of Hell consume him for ever and aye.”

After hearing about these bookplates, my son suggested I start a line of bookplates with a dark and morbid theme. As we’re approaching Halloween, this seems like the perfect time to ponder such ideas. What do you think? Would that be appealing?