The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

December 13, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

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

May 5, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

Today in Micro-Trends: Cassette Tape Book Covers

This is another one of those posts that started out on Twitter — a flippant tweet from me sparking a conversation about books with cassette tapes and vinyl records on their covers. It turns out that putting a record on … Continue reading

February 2, 2015
by Dan
2 Comments

Book Covers of Note February 2015

Here is this month’s selection of new book covers that have caught my eye… Angry Youth Comix by Johnny Ryan; design by Keeli McCarthy (Fantagraphics / February 2015) Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis; design by Nathan Burton (Daunt Books … Continue reading

September 23, 2014
by Dan
7 Comments

Beasts!

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! I’m kicking off a new series today on animal book covers. The first post is on ‘beasts’ — mostly ‘wild’ beasts, but one or two more domesticated (and dead) animals may have nosed … Continue reading

August 5, 2014
by Dan
5 Comments

Book Covers of Note August 2014

Here is this month’s selection of recently noted covers: 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino; design by Christopher Brand (Crown August 2014) The Bend of the World by Jacob Bacharach; design by Jamie Keenan (W. W. Norton … Continue reading

June 16, 2014
by Dan
1 Comment

Memento Mori

The threat of death… A warning… A memento mori… A comprehensive visual history of the human skull is surely an entire Steven Heller book in the making (I guess we’ll just have to make do with a Wikipedia page for … Continue reading

June 2, 2014
by Dan
7 Comments

Book Covers of Note June 2014

Well, this seems to have become a regular thing doesn’t it? I have to confess that I still haven’t quite figured out exactly what covers to include in these monthly posts, only that they’re recent and I like them. It’s … Continue reading

January 6, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Favourite Covers of 2013: A Postscript

I didn’t exactly know what to call this post, but ‘postscript’ seems appropriate. Every time I post my annual list of favourite covers I immediately see (or remember) a dozen designs that would have been on the list (or would’ve been … Continue reading

May 29, 2013
by Dan
2 Comments

Inside Random House: “The Art of Cover Design”

Part a series of videos about the workings of Random House, The Art of Cover Design features interviews with an impressive roster of designers: Marysarah Quinn, Robbin Schiff, Chip Kidd, Peter Mendelsund and Christopher Brand…

July 12, 2010
by Dan
4 Comments

Penguin 75: Q & A with Paul Buckley and Christopher Brand

Launched with 10 titles by Allen Lane in 1935, Penguin Books turns 75 this year. To commemorate the anniversary, Executive VP Creative Director Paul Buckley has compiled Penguin 75, a collection of 75 book covers from the Penguin US archive. … Continue reading

July 9, 2010
by Dan
1 Comment

Somthing for the Weekend

“Spot gloss on the molecules” — David Gee’s cover for 7 Good Reasons Not To Be Good by John Gould. Going Back — Artistic Director Michael Salu on the creating the cover of the new issue of Granta magazine: For … Continue reading

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