The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

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

June 2, 2016
by Dan
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A Window onto a Window

In this profile of Peter Mendelsund in the June issue of Rhapsody Magazine, there is a lovely bit about the designer’s architect-artist father: In the living room of Knopf associate art director Peter Mendelsund’s Upper Manhattan apartment, inspiration is everywhere: a battered, sea-green … Continue reading

May 16, 2016
by Dan
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Rogue Bibliophile

Tom Gauld‘s cartoon on the future for book lovers for The Guardian this weekend. Tom also did the cover and interior illustration in this weekend’s Guardian Review for an article on plot by John Mullan.

May 5, 2016
by Dan
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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

March 21, 2016
by Dan
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David Pearson Found on the Shelves

At The Bookseller, designer David Pearson talks about his new cover designs for Pushkin Press’s ‘Found on the Shelves’ series celebrating 175 years of the London Library: At the heart of successful series design is motif – be it colour, type, … Continue reading

March 16, 2016
by Dan
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Making It Up: The Bookseller Interviews Mr Keenan and Gray318

I love this Bookseller interview with designers Jamie Keenan and Jon Gray, co-founders of the Academy of British Cover Design (among other things): ABCD tends to recognise and reward brave, striking and fresh approaches, rather than more “conventional” cover aesthetics. I … Continue reading

November 11, 2015
by Dan
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Christoph Niemann’s Coffee Break

Christoph Niemann for The New Yorker.

October 13, 2015
by Dan
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Recognition

Adrian Tomine’s latest cover for The New Yorker. Adrian’s new book, Killing and Dying, is out now.

August 12, 2015
by Dan
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Françoise Mouly: No House Style

It’s Nice That has a great interview with the remarkable Françoise Mouly, co-founder of comics anthology Raw, editorial director of TOON Books, and, of course, art editor at The New Yorker: “One of the things we had at Raw which I … Continue reading

August 10, 2015
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note August 2015

The entire book industry isn’t on vacation. It only seems that way. Here’s August’s book covers of note… The Aesthetics of Middlebrow Fiction by Tom Perrin; design Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave Macmillan / August 2016) Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes by … Continue reading

August 3, 2015
by Dan
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Joost Swarte’s “Summer Adventures”

“Cartooning has an edge on all other media. You don’t need anything else such as canvas and paint, or camera and actors: the road to expression is only a sheet of paper and a pencil away.” A new Joost Swarte … Continue reading

July 6, 2015
by Dan
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Books Covered by Stuart Bache

Designer Stuart Bache, art director of Oneworld Publications, has started a new vlog about book cover design. In his latest video, Stuart looks at the cover for A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell, designed by Jo Walker:   … Continue reading

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