The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

July 1, 2016
by Dan
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Penguin Random House Design Award Winners 2016

I’m a little bit late to this, but Penguin Random House UK recently announced the winners of their annual Design Award. The award, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, offers art and designs students first-hand experience real book cover … Continue reading

July 1, 2016
by Dan
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Elda Rotor: The Woman Who Runs Penguin Classics

CNN Philippines interviewsd Elda Rotor, vice president and publisher of Penguin Classics at the Penguin Random House in New York: The main joy is bringing an audience to a work that would otherwise lead a quiet life, not having the … Continue reading

April 30, 2016
by Dan
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Jason Booher Interviewed at The Perch

Jason Booher, designer and art director of Blue Rider Press and Plume, talks to Penguin Random House blog The Perch about the book cover design process: A design can be thought of as a set of constraints or parameters. In … Continue reading

January 22, 2016
by Dan
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The Cycling Anthology Jersey Designs by James Paul Jones

James Paul Jones‘s unused covers for The Cycling Anthology (pictured above) were some of my favourite designs from 2015. Based on famous cycling jerseys, I liked that they were a nod to insiders, but that you that didn’t need to be a cycling fan … Continue reading

April 13, 2015
by Dan
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There’s no one saying, “You can’t do this in a book for children.”

The New York Times profiles Julie Strauss-Gabel, the publisher of Dutton Children’s Books: She became publisher of Dutton in 2011, and right away, it was clear this was going to be a different sort of imprint. She whittled down the list … Continue reading

November 19, 2014
by Dan
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Hazlitt Interview with Peter Mendelsund

Book designer and author Peter Mendelsund discusses his books Cover and What We See When We Read with Christopher Frey for the Hazlitt podcast:

December 15, 2012
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Folklore — Mike Mignola talks about drawing Hellboy again, at ComicsAlliance: I do have a library. Very little of it is leather-bound. The folklore and mythology library, which is in my studio, is pretty tacky looking since it’s all picked … Continue reading

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