The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Centred Concentric Circles — It’s a Thing



This post actually started life on (one of) my other blog(s). I noticed a couple of rather similar looking covers that used a circle motif, but at the time I was sure I was missing at least one other cover. As it turned out, I was thinking of the cover of Who Owns the Future by Jaron Lanier which is out in paperback this month. I hadn’t realised that it was a riff on an earlier Jaron Lanier cover. Then I was reminded of James Paul Jones‘s cover design for Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun, published last month. AND then I remembered Jamie Keenan’s cover design for Kino by Jürgen Fauth from a couple of years ago (Atticus Books April 2012), which is a bit different but still uses concentric circles.

Anyway, here is an updated version of that post. I know the cover of My Life in Middlemarch was designed by Elena Giavaldi. I don’t know who designed the others. Sorry. Please leave a comment if you can help with attribution, or you can think of any other covers that fit the pattern…

You are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier; design Stefanie Posavec (Penguin February 2011)

Who Owns the Future by Jaron Lanier (Penguin April 2014)

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway; design by Nick Misani (Plume March 2014)

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead; design by Elena Giavaldi (Crown January 2014)

The Man Who Walked Away by Maud Casey; design by Natalie Slocum (Bloomsbury March 2014)

Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun; design by James Paul Jones (Hogarth March 2014)


The North American cover design for the new David Mitchell is too on-trend to ignore:

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell; design by Peter Mendelund and Oliver Munday (Random House September 2014)

And I rather like this as well:

The Time Traveler’s Almanac edited by Ann Vandermeer & Jeff Vandermeer; design by Will Staehle (Tor Books March 2014)


Although this isn’t vertically centred, the cover to A Deeper Sense of Place (Oregon State University Press November 1 2013) seems like it belongs here, as much for the colour palette as anything. The design, which pre-dates most of the covers here, is by David Drummond.

Doern art

Also not quite centred vertically, but most definitely ahead of the curve (as it were), is Michel Vrana‘s design for Death Sentences by Kawamata Chiaki (University of Minnesota Press February 2012):


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  1. River of no return was designed by Nick Misani

  2. Thanks, Bárbara!

  3. Chip Kidd’s cover of /The Dissolution of Nicholas Dee/ did the flipping of the image in the rings trick. But man is it underrepresented on the internet.

  4. ‘You Are Not a Gadget’ was designed by Stefanie Posavec.

  5. Thanks, Sharon!

  6. The Man Who Walked Away was designed by Natalie Slocum

  7. Thanks Patti. I’ve updated the post with the design credit.

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