The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Book Covers of Note February 2018


I such good intentions to post more often this year. Ah well… Here are this month’s cover selections at least…

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; design by Jaya Miceli (Algonquin Books / February 2018)

Building and Dwelling by Richard Sennett; design by Tom Etherington (Allen Lane / February 2018)

Eat the Apple by Matt Young; design by Edel Rodriguez (Bloomsbury USA / February 2018)

Feel Free by Zadie Smith; design by Gray318 (Hamish Hamilton / February 2018)

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi; design by James Paul Jones (Oneworld / February 2018)

The cover of the US edition, published by Penguin last month, was designed by Jason Ramirez

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert; design by Jim Tierney (Flatiron / January 2018)

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara; design by Sara Wood (Ecco / February 2018)

Sara wrote a great piece about designing this cover for Literary Hub

The Kings of Big Spring by Bryan Mealer; design by Keith Hayes (Flatiron / February 2018) 

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú; design by Grace Han (Riverhead / February 2018)

She Regrets Nothing by Andrea Dunlop; design by Rachel Willey (Washington Square Books / February 2018)

Sunburn by Laura Lippman; design by Elsie Lyons (William Morrow / February 2018)

I included the cover of Sunburn and Elsie Lyons’s cover for The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (featured last month) in a recent presentation about the differences between US and UK cover design. UK editions of both books have a much more conventional genre covers. They signal very clearly to readers that they are thrillers.

The US covers on the other hand have a much more literary, sophisticated look. They both have a distinctive, individual appearance (although I suspect we may see covers copying the approach of The Woman in the Window very soon!) that suggest that these are not your average thrillers.

It is not that one approach is necessarily better than the other from a marketing perspective (although I can guess which designers might prefer!), but it is an interesting contrast.

Up Up, Down Down by Cheston Knapp; design Anna Laytham (Scribner / February 2018)

Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki; design by Michael Morris; illustration by Oliver Wilson (Crown / February 2018)

I will admit it was the photo-realistic painting that first drew my eye to this cover, but I also like that the blocky typography echoes the cover of the author’s previous novel California

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