The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

January 6, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note January 2017

My first post of 2017 includes some cracking new book covers fresh this month, and a few handsome stragglers from the end of 2016… Happy New Year!  Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson; design by Erin Fitzsimmons (Katherine Tegen Books / January 2017) Always Happy … Continue reading

December 13, 2016
by Dan
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The Rest of the Best

When it comes to choosing the year’s best book covers, it seems that everyone is at it these days… “These covers are challenging without being impenetrable and playful without being precious — none of which is an easy task for … Continue reading

December 13, 2016
by Dan
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Series Design 2016

Some of the most interesting and innovative book covers in the last few years have been designed as part of a series — designers and art directors seem to have more leeway with backlist titles (especially so if the author … Continue reading

December 7, 2016
by Dan
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Notable YA Book Covers of 2016

Hot on the heels of my annual covers post, here is my look back at the year’s young adult book covers. As in previous years, this list is a somewhat crowd-sourced affair, so I must thank all the designers and Twitter-folk who … Continue reading

November 27, 2016
by Dan
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Notable Book Covers of 2016

It is that wonderful/awful time of year. Wonderful because we get to look back at some of the amazing work people have done over the past 12 months. Awful because lists are arbitrary and someone always misses out. I’m not going … Continue reading

November 11, 2016
by Dan
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The Angelus Trilogy Design by Jason Booher

These Jason Booher covers for the paperback editions of Jon Steele’s The Angelus Trilogy, published by Blue Rider Press in August, bring a whole new meaning to ‘side eye’ I love that they use Albrecht Dürer etchings as part of the design… … Continue reading

November 7, 2016
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note November 2016

I’m not sure anyone is paying too much attention to book design this week, but if you’re looking for a few minutes diversion from the awfulness of almost everything, here’s this month’s selection of quirky, beautiful, and otherwise interesting book covers… Black Water by Louise … Continue reading

November 5, 2016
by Dan
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The London Library Designs by David Pearson

I mentioned Pushkin Press‘s ‘Found on the Shelves’ series earlier this year. The books celebrate 175 years of The London Library, and four more are coming out this month. The entire series has covers designed by David Pearson and, I’m happy to say, three … Continue reading

October 24, 2016
by Dan
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Q & A with James Paul Jones, Oneworld

The work of Welsh designer James Paul Jones for has featured regularly here in the past few years. A versatile cover designer and one of the co-founders of Vintage UK’s design blog CMYK, James was recognised as a ‘Rising Star‘ by … Continue reading

October 21, 2016
by Dan
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Run With It Books

Reminiscent of Heinrich Lucas’ Random Book Covers and Steve St. Pierre’s Jacket Everyday project, Philadelphia-based designer Pat Fennessy takes words from a random phrase generator and uses them to make stories and book covers… (via Quipsologies)

October 18, 2016
by Dan
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New Directions Sebald Designs by Peter Mendelsund

Peter Mendelsund‘s covers for the new New Directions editions of W.G. Sebald’s classic novels The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, and Vertigo, are rather special. The books will be published November and are available individually and as a set.

October 12, 2016
by Dan
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Elaine Lustig Cohen, Pioneer

I was sad to hear that designer Elaine Lustig Cohen had died aged 89 last week. She will forever be associated with her more famous husband Alvin Lustig, but she was a remarkable designer in her own right and her influence, as Steven … Continue reading

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