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

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 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

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 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

March 9, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note March 2017

Holy smokes! There are a lot of good covers this month! Feast your eyes on March’s book covers of note: Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay; cover art by Sean Qualls (Penguin / March 2017) The Book of Greek and Roman … 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

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 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.

June 8, 2016
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note June 2016

Something of a bumper post this month, with lots of black and white covers for some reason. Perhaps it’s a thing…? Addlands by Tom Bullough; design by Jenny Grigg (Granta / June 2016) Barkskins by Annie Proulx; design Jaya Miceli … Continue reading

June 6, 2016
by Dan
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All the Books

At Literary Hub, Designer Oliver Munday discusses his design process and reading the whole text: As designers, we are forced to read quickly, and incisively, mining for the clues to the coveted iconic cover. It can feel careless at times, … Continue reading

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