The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

April 12, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note April 2017

This edition of ‘book covers of note’ is brought to you entirely by Gray318 who designed the covers of all the books published this month. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but Jon did design FOUR of the covers on my list — all … Continue reading

March 3, 2017
by Dan
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ABCD Award Winners 2017

The winners of the annual Academy of British Cover Design (ABCD) Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony London in last night. The dashing Danny Arter has a posted a full report on the proceedings at The Bookseller. You can see all … Continue reading

January 27, 2017
by Dan
2 Comments

1984

The dystopia described in George Orwell’s nearly 70-year-old novel “1984” suddenly feels all too familiar. A world in which Big Brother (or maybe the National Security Agency) is always listening in, and high-tech devices can eavesdrop in people’s homes. (Hey, … Continue reading

November 27, 2016
by Dan
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Notable Book Covers of 2016

It is that wonderful/awful time of year. Wonderful because we get to look back at some of the amazing work people have done over the past 12 months. Awful because lists are arbitrary and someone always misses out. I’m not going … Continue reading

November 7, 2016
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note November 2016

I’m not sure anyone is paying too much attention to book design this week, but if you’re looking for a few minutes diversion from the awfulness of almost everything, here’s this month’s selection of quirky, beautiful, and otherwise interesting book covers… Black Water by Louise … Continue reading

October 13, 2016
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note October 2016

Busy, busy October… here are this month’s book covers of note… Aluta by Adwoa Badoe; design Michael Solomon; cover art Shonagh Rae (Groundwood / September 2016) American Ulysses by Ronald C. White; design Eric White; photograph © Colorized History, colorized by Mads Madsen … Continue reading

August 15, 2016
by Dan
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New Penguin Essentials

The latest additions to Penguin’s ‘Essentials’ series, released this month, have some rather splendid new covers, including Jon Gray‘s wonderful design for Embers by Sandor Márai, Julian House’s typographic design (with echoes of Robert Brownjohn) for The Spy Who Came … Continue reading

July 12, 2016
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note July 2016

I swear that these posts are taking me longer and longer to compile, but rest assured there are some wonderful covers this month: All the Time in the World by Caroline Angell; design by Lucy Kim (Henry Holt / July 2016) … 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

March 4, 2016
by Dan
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ABCD Award Winners 2016

Congratulations to all the winners and shortlisted covers at the third annual Academy of British Cover Design Awards! Make sure you read Daniel Benneworth-Gray‘s report on last night’s “shindig” at the Creative Review, but in the meantime, all the winning designs are below: Children’s The Fox and the Star, written, … 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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