The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

December 13, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

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

September 23, 2016
by Dan
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Cynan Jones Covers by Jenny Grigg

I’m a little late to work of Welsh novelist Cynan Jones, but I recently finished reading his award-winning 2014 novel The Dig, and it’s not hard to see what all the fuss is about. The writing is beautifully spare and intimate, and the … Continue reading

August 31, 2016
by Dan
1 Comment

Girlboss Isabel Urbina Peña

The smart and talented Isabel Urbina Peña talks to Girlboss about YES, EQUAL and her work as a book cover designer: you go to the editorial meeting and you hear the editors talk about the book. After that, you tell your … Continue reading

June 6, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

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 14, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

Roy Kuhlman Archive

Early this week I posted about the Robert Brownjohn online archive created by his daughter, Eliza. Today, a new website dedicated to the work of the graphic designer Roy Kuhlman curated by his daughter, Arden Kuhlman Riordan, has gone live. … Continue reading

April 30, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

Jason Booher Interviewed at The Perch

Jason Booher, designer and art director of Blue Rider Press and Plume, talks to Penguin Random House blog The Perch about the book cover design process: A design can be thought of as a set of constraints or parameters. In … Continue reading

March 16, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

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

March 8, 2016
by Dan
22 Comments

52 Women Book Cover Designers

If you follow the Casual Optimist on Twitter, you will know that a couple of weeks ago design studio Aishima asked people to tweet about inspiring women graphic designers using the hashtag #celebratewomen. As today is International Women’s Day, I thought … Continue reading

January 22, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

The Cycling Anthology Jersey Designs by James Paul Jones

James Paul Jones‘s unused covers for The Cycling Anthology (pictured above) were some of my favourite designs from 2015. Based on famous cycling jerseys, I liked that they were a nod to insiders, but that you that didn’t need to be a cycling fan … Continue reading

December 14, 2015
by Dan
3 Comments

52 YA Covers for 2015

As my 2014 post was such a hit, here is my second annual look at the past year’s young adult book covers. This isn’t my speciality, so this list is a lot more of a crowd-sourced effort than my very personal adult list. A special thank you to … 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

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