The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

January 6, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note January 2017

My first post of 2017 includes some cracking new book covers fresh this month, and a few handsome stragglers from the end of 2016… Happy New Year!  Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson; design by Erin Fitzsimmons (Katherine Tegen Books / January 2017) Always Happy … Continue reading

December 13, 2016
by Dan
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Series Design 2016

Some of the most interesting and innovative book covers in the last few years have been designed as part of a series — designers and art directors seem to have more leeway with backlist titles (especially so if the author … 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

May 3, 2016
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note May 2016

It’s the first week of May (whaaaat?), so it must be time for some new book covers… Barren Cove by Ariel S. Winter; design by Chelsea McGuckin (Atria / May 2016) Congratulations on Everything by Nathan Whitlock; cover art by Gary Taxali (ECW … 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

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 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

November 27, 2015
by Dan
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Pluto Press Wildcat Series Design by Jamie Keenan

When I posted included the cover for The Southern Insurgency by Immanuel Ness in my round-up earlier this month, I hadn’t realised it is in fact part of a fantastic series of covers by Jamie Keenan for Pluto Press designed … Continue reading

October 8, 2015
by Dan
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Jamie Keenan on Book Cover Design

Book designer Jamie Keenan talks to Shiny New Books about his design process and designing the covers for Pushkin Press’s Vertigo imprint: I think designers might have brains that are set up slightly differently to ‘normal’ people (there are always a … Continue reading

September 18, 2015
by Dan
2 Comments

Art Works For Aid

In response to the refugee crisis currently unfolding in Europe, designer and illustrator Nina Tara has set up Art Works For Aid. Nina is asking artists, illustrators, designers and photographers to donate small works of art to be sold at auction … 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

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