The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Today in Micro-Trends: Post-it Notes



Sticking post-it notes to the front of books is a very real thing in the book industry — at least in the corners I’ve occupied — so perhaps it’s no surprise that they’ve made into cover designs too.

The first cover I can think of to incorporate a post-it was the hardcover of Heaven in Small by Emily Schultz, designed by Ingrid Paulson (House of Anansi in 2009).1 Interestingly, while the paperback, also designed by Ingrid (see below), kept the post-it, it no longer tricks the eye in quite the same way.

The last couple of years has seen a small flurry of post-it note book covers. I particularly like Nathan Burton‘s designs for rising literary star Valeria Luiselli, but post-it notes seem particularly in vogue for young adult covers, so we might well be seeing a few more in the coming months…

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven; design by Lucy Kim and Alison Impey; hand-lettering by Sarah Watts (Knopf / January 2015)

Faces in the Crowd and Sidewalks by Valeria Luiselli; design by Nathan Burton (Coffee House Press & Granta / May 2013 & May 2014)

Heaven is Small by Emily Schultz (paperback); design by Ingrid Paulson (Anansi / April 2010)


Lions and Shadows by Christopher Isherwood design by Charlotte Strick; illustration by Dan Funderburgh (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux / November 2015)

Christopher Isherwood series; design by Charlotte Strick; illustrations by Dan Funderburgh (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux / 2013-2015)

Last Time We Say Goodbye design Erin Schell
The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand; design by Erin Schell (HarperTeen / February 2015)

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre; design by Anna Booth; photography by Jon Barkat and Gary Spector (Feiwel & Friends / April 2015)

then we came to an end design Jamie Keenan
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferriss; design by Jamie Keenan (Little, Brown & Co. / March 2007)2

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1. UPDATE: I have now been reminded of an earlier Jamie Keenan cover from 2007 that uses post-its in a different way. Please let me know if you can think of any other examples/precursors!
2. Thanks to Aldrin for suggesting this cover


  1. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris; design by Jamie Keenan (Little, Brown and Company / March 2007)

  2. Thanks Aldrin! I’ve added it to the post! :-)

  3. That Joshua Ferris book is one of the funniest books that I have EVER read. :)

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