The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

August 3, 2017
by Dan
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David Pearson on Books and Typography

At the Monotype blog, Theo Inglis talks to designer David Pearson about his career and his type-centric approach to book covers: We are increasingly being urged to create objects of desire and the cover obviously plays a key role here, … Continue reading

July 20, 2017
by Dan
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50 Books / 50 Covers Winners 2016

AIGA and Design Observer announced the results of the 2016 50 Books | 50 Covers competition while I was on vacation. You can find all the book selections here, and the cover selections here. I always look forward 50 Books | … Continue reading

July 18, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note July 2017

Something… something… vacation… something… jetlag…. something… inbox… something… Oh look! It’s July’s book covers! Album for the Young (and Old) by Vera Pavlova; design by Janet Hansen (Knopf / April 2017) Amanda Wakes Up by Alisyn Camerota; design by Kimberly … Continue reading

June 27, 2017
by Dan
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SPINE Interview with Suzanne Dean

Designer Holly Dunn talks to Suzanne Dean, Creative Director at Vintage Books and one of the UK’s leading cover designers, for SPINE Magazine:

June 16, 2017
by Dan
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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

April 13, 2017
by Dan
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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
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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
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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 3, 2017
by Dan
1 Comment

Books

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

March 3, 2017
by Dan
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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 22, 2017
by Dan
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Dick Bruna 1927-2017

Dutch illustrator and designer Dick Bruna died last week, aged 89. Much of the coverage has focused on Miffy, the picture book rabbit he created in the 1950’s, but as The Guardian obituary notes, he was also well known as a book … Continue reading

January 27, 2017
by Dan
2 Comments

1984

The dystopia described in George Orwell’s nearly 70-year-old novel “1984” suddenly feels all too familiar. A world in which Big Brother (or maybe the National Security Agency) is always listening in, and high-tech devices can eavesdrop in people’s homes. (Hey, … Continue reading

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