The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

October 20, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note, October 2017

I have steadily fallen further and further behind with my cover posts this year. There is some cracking work in this month’s round-up. But I can’t help feeling that there are some covers missing. Somehow it almost November, and I … Continue reading

September 19, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note, September 2017

Here are September’s cover selections with a few extra covers from earlier in the year, just for good measure… The Aeneid by Virgil, translated by David Ferry; design by Matt Avery (University of Chicago Press / September 2017) The Age … 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

June 25, 2015
by Dan
4 Comments

Today in Micro-Trends: Post-it Notes

Sticking post-it notes to the front of books is a very real thing in the book industry — at least in the corners I’ve occupied — so perhaps it’s no surprise that they’ve made into cover designs too. The first … Continue reading

July 17, 2014
by Dan
Comments Off on Books on Book Covers

Books on Book Covers

It started, innocently enough, with a tweet from my friend Steven Beattie, book review editor of Canada’s Quill & Quire magazine, about the cover of The Most Dangerous Book, Kevin Birmingham’s new ‘biography’ of Ulysses by James Joyce, designed by Ben … 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

June 29, 2011
by Dan
4 Comments

Backlit | Ingrid Paulson

Toronto-based designer Ingrid Paulson has designed these four covers for a new paperback reprint series called ‘Backlit’ to be published by ECW Press this fall. Lovely stuff.

January 27, 2010
by Dan
3 Comments

Under the Covers: Reviewing the Covers of 2009

Tonight is the BPPA‘s annual review of the best and worst book covers of the year. Sadly Alan Jones, Senior Designer at HarperCollins Canada, had to drop out at the last minute and is being replaced by Boy Wonder David … Continue reading

August 11, 2009
by Dan
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Q & A with Ingrid Paulson, Ingrid Paulson Design

Before setting up her own design studio in Toronto, award-winning Canadian designer Ingrid Paulson was senior designer at McClelland & Stewart, and art director for Key Porter and Raincoast Books. Although Ingrid worked at Raincoast, we didn’t actually meet until … Continue reading

April 25, 2009
by Dan
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Something For The Weekend, April 25th,2009

Comic Shelves by Oscar Nunez for Fusca Design (via The Ephemerist) Goodnight Mechanical Dinosaur — Neil Gaiman on Batman in Wired (via LinkMachineGo): [T]he great thing about Batman and Superman, in truth, is that they are literally transcendent. They are … Continue reading

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