The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

June 16, 2017
by Dan
2 Comments

Book Covers of Note June 2017

Hey June, don’t make it bad, take a sad book and make its cover… The Angry Chef by Anthony Warner; design by Steven Leard (Oneworld / June 2017) The Answers by Catherine Lacey; design by Gray318 (Granta / June 2017) … Continue reading

May 29, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

Australian Book Design Awards Winners 2017

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2017 Australian Book Design Awards, which were announced on Friday in Sydney. I was honoured to be the international judge this year (even if some of my favourite covers didn’t win!).  

May 25, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

Gerhard Steidl is Making Books an Art Form

Rebecca Mead’s long profile of publisher Gerhard Steidl for The New Yorker is a wonderful, fascinating read: Each Steidl title is unique, printed with a bespoke combination of inks and papers. But to the informed eye, and the informed hand, … Continue reading

May 10, 2017
by Dan
1 Comment

Book Covers of Note May 2017

Everything is awful. Except for book covers… Black Skins, White Masks by Frantz Fanon; design by David Pearson (Pluto Press / May 2017) The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes; design by Ami Smithson; illustration Petra Börner (Mantle / May … Continue reading

April 13, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

Australian Book Design Awards 2017 Shortlist

The Australian Book Design Association just announced their Shortlist (PDF) for the 65th Australian Book Design Awards. Happily (if somewhat implausibly), I was asked to be the international judge this year (you can read about the other, imminently more qualified judges, here). As a … Continue reading

April 12, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

Book Covers of Note April 2017

This edition of ‘book covers of note’ is brought to you entirely by Gray318 who designed the covers of all the books published this month. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but Jon did design FOUR of the covers on my list — all … Continue reading

April 8, 2017
by Dan
2 Comments

Elena Ferrante Covers Designed by Angelo Bottino

The covers of the Anglo-American editions of Elena Ferrante’s novels published by Europa Editions have been… well, controversial to say the least (read an interview with the art director about their “kitsch” quality here). The Australian editions of Ferrante’s Neapolitan … Continue reading

March 16, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

Design Canada Documentary

Greg Durrell of Canadian design firm Hulse&Durrell, and Jessica Edwards and Gary Hustwit of Film First are putting together a documentary about Canadian graphic design: The project is currently on Kickstarter. There are a couple of weeks to go and they are … Continue reading

March 9, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

Book Covers of Note March 2017

Holy smokes! There are a lot of good covers this month! Feast your eyes on March’s book covers of note: Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay; cover art by Sean Qualls (Penguin / March 2017) The Book of Greek and Roman … Continue reading

March 3, 2017
by Dan
1 Comment

Books

Modern Toss (This is a little too close to the bone)

March 3, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

ABCD Award Winners 2017

The winners of the annual Academy of British Cover Design (ABCD) Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony London in last night. The dashing Danny Arter has a posted a full report on the proceedings at The Bookseller. You can see all … Continue reading

February 28, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

Back to Futura

Vox takes a lighthearted look at the history of Futura, “the font that escaped the Nazis and landed on the moon”: 

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