The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

August 4, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note August 2017

Oh hey, August. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson; design by Milan Bozic (Amistad / May 2017) Robin Billardello‘s cover design for the hardcover of Another Brooklyn, released last year, is also great.  Bolshoi Confidential by Simon Morrison; design by Jo … Continue reading

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 28, 2017
by Dan
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ABDA Awards Interview

I talked to the Australian Book Design Association about book cover design and judging this year’s ABDA Awards: I think we’re seeing a more global approach to covers as a result of publishers deciding to hold on to the international … 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

June 13, 2017
by Dan
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The Appointment

Tom Gauld takes a look at editing process for The Guardian.  Tom’s recent comic ‘Editor’s Letter’ for the New York Times Magazine‘s ‘New York Stories‘ comic strip issue is also great:  Tom illustrated a story by Andy Newman called View Finder, … Continue reading

May 29, 2017
by Dan
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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
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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
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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

May 4, 2017
by Dan
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The Rise of the Global Novel

At the New Republic, Siddhartha Deb, author of The Beautiful and the Damned, reviews The Global Novel: Writing the World in the 21st Century by Adam Kirsch: Foreign writers might still be considered strange or different, and they might not be covered … Continue reading

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