The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

October 13, 2016
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note October 2016

Busy, busy October… here are this month’s book covers of note… Aluta by Adwoa Badoe; design Michael Solomon; cover art Shonagh Rae (Groundwood / September 2016) American Ulysses by Ronald C. White; design Eric White; photograph © Colorized History, colorized by Mads Madsen … Continue reading

May 3, 2016
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note May 2016

It’s the first week of May (whaaaat?), so it must be time for some new book covers… Barren Cove by Ariel S. Winter; design by Chelsea McGuckin (Atria / May 2016) Congratulations on Everything by Nathan Whitlock; cover art by Gary Taxali (ECW … Continue reading

March 4, 2016
by Dan
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ABCD Award Winners 2016

Congratulations to all the winners and shortlisted covers at the third annual Academy of British Cover Design Awards! Make sure you read Daniel Benneworth-Gray‘s report on last night’s “shindig” at the Creative Review, but in the meantime, all the winning designs are below: Children’s The Fox and the Star, written, … Continue reading

December 1, 2015
by Dan
16 Comments

Notable Book Covers for 2015

Back in 2014, there were signs that book cover design was maybe, just maybe, having a moment. Suzanne Dean was on the BBC. Peter Mendelsund was on… well, everything. But if 2015 has felt a little quiet by comparison, there … Continue reading

September 2, 2015
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note September 2015

Something of a bumper post this month — a real mix of approaches, and a number YA titles to boot. Enjoy! The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector; design by Paul Sahre (New Directions / August 2015) Consumed by David Cronenberg; design by David A. … Continue reading

August 25, 2015
by Dan
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The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

At the Penguin blog, the remarkable Coralie Bickford-Smith talks about The Fox and the Star, a new book she has written, illustrated and designed: The inspiration comes from a place of personal experience that I wanted to document. It’s a life … Continue reading

December 7, 2014
by Dan
19 Comments

50 Covers for 2014

Book designers, you do amazing work. Thank you. I am especially grateful to all the designers and art directors (not to mention publicists and other publishing folk) who have shared their wisdom, provided me with images, and helped me with design credits this year — these … Continue reading

October 23, 2014
by Dan
2 Comments

Penguin Pocket Hardbacks Designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith

A beautiful set of ‘Pocket Hardbacks’ designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith will be available from Penguin Classics next month. The trim size is 104mm x 168mm (or about 4″ x 6½”):

October 7, 2014
by Dan
16 Comments

Birds

Book designers, bless them, really do like to put a bird on it. Following on from wild beasts and reptiles and amphibians, here is my latest post looking at animals on book covers, ‘Birds’: Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer; design by … Continue reading

September 3, 2014
by Dan
2 Comments

Book Covers of Note September 2014

It’s hard to believe it is already September, but here we are… time for another round of book covers! If you’re new to this feature, each month I collect together new and recent covers that have caught my eye in the … Continue reading

May 5, 2014
by Dan
3 Comments

Triangles, Quadrangles, Shards, and Fragments

This is my last post on book covers and triangles — for the time being at least. I hope you’ve enjoyed this three-sided, three-post design diversion (you can see the previous posts here and here): The Adjacent by Christopher Priest; design … Continue reading

May 7, 2013
by Dan
1 Comment

Carolie Bickford-Smith—A Series Woman

In this new interview with Gestalten.tv, Penguin Press designer Coralie Bickford-Smith talks about her love of books, her design process and the importance of research: [vimeo 65388307 w=500] Coralie’s work is featured in Fully Booked: Ink on Paper, published earlier this year by Gestalten. You … Continue reading

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