The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

February 8, 2016
by Dan
5 Comments

Book Covers of Note February 2016

Adios, Cowboy by Olja Savicevic; design by Sunra Thompson (McSweeney’s / February 2016) The Encounter: Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu; design by David Pearson (Pushkin Press / February 2016) Empire of Things by Frank Trentmann; design by Coralie Bickford-Smith (Allen … Continue reading

December 22, 2015
by Dan
3 Comments

Series Design 2015

In my last post on the book covers of 2015, I thought I would take a look back at some of the series that caught my eye this this year… Stephen Baxter / Manifold; design by Mike Topping (Harper Voyager … 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

October 7, 2015
by Dan
0 comments

Book Covers of Note October 2015

A little bit later than scheduled, here is my October selection of book covers. There are three from Verso, and two by James Paul Jones, but I think it’s still another month of interesting, diverse, and eclectic work. I hope you agree… … Continue reading

September 2, 2015
by Dan
1 Comment

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

June 3, 2015
by Dan
0 comments

Book Covers of Note June 2015

I don’t know where last month went, but somehow it’s June already and it’s time for another selection of recent book covers: A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa; design by Julia Connolly (Harvill Secker / June 2015) The … Continue reading

April 6, 2015
by Dan
2 Comments

Book Covers of Note April 2015

Never mind that still feels like some crazy never-ending winter in Toronto, it’s (allegedly) April so here are a few new and recent covers that have caught my eye in the past month… American Warlord by Johnny Dwyer; design by Oliver Munday (Knopf … 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

December 5, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Catalogue Covers: A Request for Submissions

For the past few years, Quill & Quire (magazine to the stars) has asked Canadian books designers choose their favourite covers of the year. This year, however, instead of choosing a book cover like everybody else, David Gee picked out the McGill-Queen’s University Press Spring 2015 catalogue designed … Continue reading

September 25, 2014
by Dan
4 Comments

Beasts! Reptiles and Amphibians

As a Friday follow-up to Tuesday’s post on wild beasts, here’s a look at reptiles and amphibians on book covers: Alligator by Lisa Moore; design by Bill Douglas (House of Anansi Press / September 2005) The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Söderberg; … 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 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

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