The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Favourite Covers of 2013: A Postscript

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I didn’t exactly know what to call this post, but ‘postscript’ seems appropriate.

Every time I post my annual list of favourite covers I immediately see (or remember) a dozen designs that would have been on the list (or would’ve been close) if I did it all over again. This is an attempt to collect a few of those covers from last year in one place. I guess you could call it a list of ‘honourable mentions,’ but that doesn’t seem quite right. Truthfully, it’s a collection of some of the covers that I saw for the the first time, or was gently reminded of, immediately after I posted my original list. It is, as much as anything else, an excuse to post more fantastic work from 2013.

I have been completely overwhelmed by the incredible response to this year’s covers post, and although I could probably do lists like this for the rest of 2014, I won’t. I will save my energy for next December. Happy New Year!


The Book of Immortality by Adam Leith Gollner; design by Tal Goretsky and Janet Hansen

The cover for Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, designed by Tal Goretsky and illustrated by Sean Freeman was also a cracker.


Constable Colgan’s Connect-O-Scope by Stevyn Colgan; illustration by Tom Gauld


The Dinner by Herman Koch; design by Christopher Brand

Christopher Brand did some great covers this year, especially for Crown. I like this one too.


The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, translated by Clive James; design by Rodrigo Corral


Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell; design by David Pearson, illustration Paul Catherall

Yes, it was the year of David Pearson.


The Illicit Happiness of Other People by Manu Joseph; design by Jarrod Taylor


Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht by S. S. Prawer; design by Matt Brand

I also really like Julia Soboleva‘s design for Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens and Ben Goodman‘s cover for Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari.


Roth Unbound by Claudia Roth Pierpont; design by Charlotte Strick, photograph Ken Sharp

Great photo. Great type. Charlotte produced some really lovely work for FSG in 2013.


The Shining by Roger Luckhurst; design by Mark Swan

I liked a lot of the BFI covers (obviously!), but Mark’s design for The Shining struck me as particularly clever. You can read about the design process for all the recent BFI Film Classics here.


Sunland by Don Waters; design by Kimberly Glyder


That Smell and Notes from Prison by Sonallah Ibrahim; design by Paul Sahre

Nicholas Blechman’s cover design list for the New York Times alerted me to this one.


Ulysses by James Joyce; design by Peter Mendelsund

Ok. I had seen this cover and didn’t forget about it either. It was on my list from the start and it got cut at the last minute. I’ve agonised about it since. Sorry Peter.

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