You think of academic publishing houses and, in most cases, your mind travels to huge, small-typed, hardcover heavy books, edited with the goal of looking as boring as possible; a way to communicate the weight, the solidity, the reverent respect we must hold for universities and the institution – as if thought could not also be a synonym of lightness, excitement and beauty. But, thank God, not all books are created equal.
Ediciones de la UDP is one of the most important academic publishers in Chile. But make no mistake: while it initially came out as an academic publisher, it now ranges from literary and art essays to poetry and philosophical, humanistic and scientific works. It goes from Nicanor Parra to Louise Bourgeois and everything in between. Its publications are of great relevance for the country and, more often than not, for the entire Spanish-speaking world. The work of this Chilean house has become a regional benchmark, turning into a model of how horizons can be broadened and Latin American readers’ interest can be aroused. It was created in 1986, but it was in 2003 that the publisher made a 180-degree turn and implemented an editorial policy that would not only cover the research of its teachers but –– and here’s the most interesting thing –– it would propose to fill those editorial gaps transnational publishers do not dare to cover. The man at the wheel at that moment? UDP long time director, Matías Rivas. His aim was to create a new aura around academic editorials, professionalize academic work, and raise the standard for universities.
These books are for knowledge to flee the ivory tower –– they don’t take any shame in being accessible and in looking good. That’s where we come in: in the past few years Felicidad has been responsible for the design of several collections, from Social Sciences to Visual Thought, Education and Human Rights, art directing covers, curating production, designing collections and special editions. Here, design is a tool to follow the company mission of changing the perception of a university publisher by applying the same principles of old good bookmaking: crafting publications whose goal is to seduce the readers and offer ideas and stories in a charming, meaningful, and accessible fashion.