The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

August 16, 2016
by Dan
1 Comment

Paul Buckley Cover to Cover

At Observer, Penguin creative director Paul Buckley, talks about his new book Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover. I particularly enjoyed this epic rant on designing covers for new books: New books, this piece of writing, everything is riding on that new cover. … Continue reading

October 2, 2015
by Dan
3 Comments

The Pelican Shakespeare Series Design by Manuja Waldia

Continuing with the recent series design theme here on The Casual Optimist, creative director Paul Buckley let me know about new set of covers for the Pelican editions of Shakespeare. The covers were designed by newcomer Manuja Waldia, who studied Graphic Design at NIFT, New … Continue reading

February 10, 2015
by Dan
4 Comments

All Heart

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would share a few book covers that use hearts as part of their design… All About Love by Lisa Appignanesi; design by Jamie Keenan (W. W. Norton / July 2011) … Continue reading

September 23, 2014
by Dan
7 Comments

Beasts!

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! I’m kicking off a new series today on animal book covers. The first post is on ‘beasts’ — mostly ‘wild’ beasts, but one or two more domesticated (and dead) animals may have nosed … Continue reading

September 19, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

A design collaboration between Paul Buckley and Jessica Hische, Penguin Drop Caps is  a 26-book series of hardcover classics. The first six books go on sale November 27th. See the covers at Imprint. Plumbing — An interview with book designer John Gall at The Believer: … Continue reading

May 4, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

More Matt Taylor Le Carré

Under Paul Buckley’s art direction at Penguin US, UK-based illustrator Matt Taylor has produced two more stunning John le Carré covers. The type and design is by Gregg Kulick. You can see the previous covers in the series here, and, … Continue reading

March 6, 2012
by Dan
3 Comments

New Graphic Classics

Creative director Paul Buckley has posted the covers for the latest Penguin Graphic Classics to his Flickr. The new covers include Heart of Darkness by Hellboy creator (and Optimist hero) Mike Mignola (pictured above) and an absolute belter by Stuart … Continue reading

July 13, 2011
by Dan
7 Comments

Le Carré | Matt Taylor

Not long ago, I posted Stuart Bache’s wonderfully cinematic John Le Carré covers for Sceptre in the UK. Now (as mentioned earlier today) John Le Carré’s American publisher Penguin have reissued new editions of his books with amazing illustrations by Brighton-based … Continue reading

July 13, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

Comic Unease — Cartoonist Emily Carroll talks about comics, fairy tales, dreams, and her story His Face All Red with The Comics Journal: I think a lot of fairy tales have that sort of unease built into them, just because they … Continue reading

March 28, 2011
by Dan
1 Comment

Penguin Threads Deluxe Classics | Jillian Tamaki

Award-winning Canadian illustrator and cartoonist Jillian Tamaki (Gilded Lilies, Skim and Indoor Voice*) has embroidered (embroidered!) three beautiful cover designs for a new classics series Penguin Threads to be released this Fall. They are all breathtaking. There are more details … Continue reading

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

August 20, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Psycho Cover — Penguin art director Paul Buckley discusses his new book Penguin 75 with Imprint: I am very aware of how much product gets put out there that is completely unnecessary, be it music, movies, books, whatever—it seems that … Continue reading

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