The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

March 3, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

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

December 7, 2016
by Dan
1 Comment

Notable YA Book Covers of 2016

Hot on the heels of my annual covers post, here is my look back at the year’s young adult book covers. As in previous years, this list is a somewhat crowd-sourced affair, so I must thank all the designers and Twitter-folk who … 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

February 2, 2015
by Dan
2 Comments

Book Covers of Note February 2015

Here is this month’s selection of new book covers that have caught my eye… Angry Youth Comix by Johnny Ryan; design by Keeli McCarthy (Fantagraphics / February 2015) Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis; design by Nathan Burton (Daunt Books … Continue reading

August 18, 2014
by Dan
10 Comments

Lost in the Plot: Maps on Book Covers

Who doesn’t like a good map? From sophisticated charts to intricate, idiosyncratic drawings to directions drawn on the back of napkin, maps explain the world two-dimensionally. They are flights of imagination anchored in our knowledge of the world — much like books … Continue reading

August 5, 2014
by Dan
5 Comments

Book Covers of Note August 2014

Here is this month’s selection of recently noted covers: 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino; design by Christopher Brand (Crown August 2014) The Bend of the World by Jacob Bacharach; design by Jamie Keenan (W. W. Norton … Continue reading

April 16, 2014
by Dan
1 Comment

Penguin Books Wallpapers

In a partnership with file-transfer service WeTransfer, Penguin Books (UK) has made a series of rather nice desktop wallpapers available. The photographs feature book covers from their Street Art series, as well as recent designs by Jon Gray and Nathan Burton. … Continue reading

March 10, 2014
by Dan
3 Comments

Alma Classics by Nathan Burton

Nathan Burton’s new covers for Alma Classics are rather nice. You can see a couple more at Nathan’s blog.

March 7, 2011
by Dan
1 Comment

The Breaking of Eggs: One Book, Three Covers

Books published in both the US and UK will often have different covers in each country. The UK and the US are, after all, two nations divided by a common language. Even so, I was still quite surprised by just … Continue reading

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