An Intricate Dance — Author Sonya Chung describes her experience of the cover design process (and the weird — slightly tortured — anxieties that accompany it) for her debut novel Long For This World at The Millions blog (via Duke University Press on Twitter):
I am still a little nervous – having no control over the final printing process, color-correcting, etc. – about what this cover will look like. But I also realized that as each response piled on one after the other in my inbox, I was beginning to delight in the wackiness of the whole thing.
And on a related note, writer Neelanjana Banerjee looks at stereotypical images of Asian Americans on book covers in Hyphen Magazine (issuu document). Henry Sene Yee, creative director of Picador, makes an interesting general point — which I think is often forgotten — about ‘recognizable codes’:
“Russian constructivist font for Russian books; torn paper and beige for Westerns; italics, diamond rings and legs for women’s fiction… The writer is tapping into this culture; so is the designer, and so is the reader.”
Beginning today, I plan to post an ongoing series of questions aimed at book designers as a way of opening discussion about various topics related to our industry… Others outside of book design are certainly free to field the questions or give input. I hope that together we can compile a nice collection of discussions for the benefit of those in the profession now and in the future.
Swiss — A bilingual, expandable book designed for the UK art and design gallery Blanka by Dylan Mulvaney: “It honors Josef Müller-Brockmann as well as conveys the principles of Swiss Graphic Design as exemplified by the leader of the revolutionary Swiss Style.” (via SwissMiss and Swiss Legacy).
I frequently come back to the definition of design proffered by Charles Eames: “Design is a plan for arranging elements to achieve a particular purpose.” If you break that down, it contains 5 equal parts: the plan (strategy), the arrangement (layout or formalism), the elements (content), the achievement (result) and the purpose (the goal). Good design can therefore be thought of as design based on a good strategy and which features a good arrangement of good content for a good purpose. And of course it needs to yield good results.
The Steinbeck gig was about as dreamy a gig as an illustrator can hope to land: 24 covers to date, I think. It was not difficult in the sense of inspiration—he’s so good at evoking mood, and his settings are described so beautifully—but the flop-sweat for me was intense. Steinbeck’s such a classic figure in the literary landscape and bookshelves, delivering art that disappointed was not an option.