The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

January 16, 2018
by Dan
2 Comments

Book Covers of Note January 2018

I was sure that 2018 would be different from 2017, and yet here we are… Happy New Year!  The Age of Caesar by Plutarch; translation by Pamela Mensch; design by Catherine Casalino (W.W. Norton / January 2018) The Book of … Continue reading

December 20, 2017
by Dan
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Notable YA Covers of 2017

So here it is, Merry Xmas, everybody’s having fun, my YA (and middle-grade) covers round-up for 2017. This is far from my area of expertise (I mostly work on the adult trade side of things), but until someone else steps … Continue reading

December 8, 2017
by Dan
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Notable Book Covers of 2017

Since 2010, I’ve posted an annual survey of the year in book covers. The post has expanded and developed over the past 7 years, but essentially it is a collection of the covers published in the previous 12 months that … 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 11, 2016
by Dan
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The Angelus Trilogy Design by Jason Booher

These Jason Booher covers for the paperback editions of Jon Steele’s The Angelus Trilogy, published by Blue Rider Press in August, bring a whole new meaning to ‘side eye’ I love that they use Albrecht Dürer etchings as part of the design… … 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

September 2, 2016
by Dan
1 Comment

Ed Ruscha: Buildings and Words

Ed Ruscha: Buildings and Words is a short documentary, commissioned by MOCA in Los Angeles, exploring two of the recurring themes in the artist’s work. It was written and directed by Felipe Lima, and is narrated by Owen Wilson: Apparently Ruscha calls his font ‘Boy Scout … Continue reading

August 11, 2016
by Dan
3 Comments

Book Covers of Note August 2016

Back from vacation and back to the grind… August is traditionally a slow month in publishing, but that isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of great covers around at this time of year… Ashes of Fiery Weather by Kathleen Donohoe; … 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

June 8, 2016
by Dan
6 Comments

Book Covers of Note June 2016

Something of a bumper post this month, with lots of black and white covers for some reason. Perhaps it’s a thing…? Addlands by Tom Bullough; design by Jenny Grigg (Granta / June 2016) Barkskins by Annie Proulx; design Jaya Miceli … Continue reading

June 8, 2016
by Dan
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Beast

Creative Review talks to Mark Ecob about his cover design for Paul Kingnorth’s new book Beast (Faber & Faber, July 2016), which incorporates “a series of folkloric linocut illustrations” by Alan Rogerson. I love this cover.

March 11, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

Design Matters with Tobias Frere-Jones

On the subject of typography, I missed type designer Tobias Frere-Jones on Design Matters with Debbie Millman at the end of last year:

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