The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

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

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

August 29, 2014
by Dan
1 Comment

Vol 459 Series Design by David Drummond

These stylish covers were designed by Canadian designer David Drummond for a series of new novels from Montreal-based publisher VLB éditeur. In the series, four different authors imagine the same plane journey on flight 459 from Paris. Planes on covers has spot UV:

August 14, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Book Cover Design is a Fine Art

It used to be enough for a book to idly stand out in a bookstore. Nowadays, however, new books must jostle for attention with everything. Thousands of distractions are just a click away. Is it any wonder that book-cover design … 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

March 12, 2014
by Dan
3 Comments

Recent Covers of Note March 2014

The Arsonist by Sue Miller; design by Greg Heinimann Barcelona Shadows by Marc Pastor; design by Clare Skeats Beauty by Frederick Dillen; design by Christopher Lin Dreams of the Good Life by Richard Mabey; illustration by Millie Marotta; design Samantha Johnson / … Continue reading

July 22, 2013
by Dan
15 Comments

50 Canadian Book Cover Designs

Lists are always problematic, but CBC Books longlist of Canada’s Most Iconic Book Covers seems strangely underwhelming somehow. Setting aside what counts as ‘Canadian’ (some of the books on the list were not designed by Canadians for example), ‘iconic’ covers are inevitably … Continue reading

January 25, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

The Many Lives of Donald Westlake — Michael Weinrab on the work of Donald Westlake, for Grantland: The Outfit is 213 pages, which is actually somewhat long by the standards of the early Parker novels. There are 24 Parker titles in all, … Continue reading

December 7, 2011
by Dan
3 Comments

My Favourite Covers of 2010

At the end of last year, Joseph Sullivan, curator of the late lamented The Book Design Review, asked me to write about my favourite covers of 2010. I’d always stayed away from such posts in the past because it was Joseph’s … Continue reading

October 31, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Stark’s Grofield Novels Designed by David Drummond

David Drummond designed the covers for the University of Chicago Press recent reissues of Richard Stark’s ‘Parker’ novels. Now David has designed great new covers for the reissues of Stark’s ‘Alan Grofield’ novels as well – The Dame, The Damsel, Blackbird … Continue reading

March 1, 2011
by Dan
1 Comment

Q & A with David Drummond, Salamander Hill Design

“I haven’t changed my mind about modernism from the first day I ever did it…. It means integrity; it means honesty; it means the absence of sentimentality and the absence of nostalgia; it means simplicity; it means clarity. That’s what … Continue reading

October 6, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

The Man With the Getaway Face — Cartoonist Darwyn Cooke talks The LA Times’ Hero Complex blog about his latest Richard Stark (AKA Donald Westlake) adaptation, The Outfit, released this month: With the first book, I was really trying to … Continue reading

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