The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

September 29, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Q & A with Dan Mogford

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you will surely have a come across the work of London-based freelance designer Dan Mogford before. His work — including covers for 419 by Will Ferguson, All Over the Map by Michael Sorkin, and Filthy English by Peter Silverton (pictured … Continue reading

June 23, 2014
by Dan
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Q & A with Matt Roeser, Candlewick Press

If you follow book design on social media at all, chances are you’ve come already across Matt Roeser‘s  funny, if somewhat dinosaur-fixated, Twitter feed. But over the past couple of years as senior designer at independent children’s publisher Candlewick Press in Massachusetts, Matt has been quietly producing some bright, brilliant, and … Continue reading

April 24, 2014
by Dan
1 Comment

Q & A with Erin Fitzsimmons

In recent years, I doubt there’s been a greater publishing success story than Young Adult — or ‘YA’ —  fiction. Sometimes mistakenly described as a genre, YA is actually an age-category roughly ascribed to books across a range of subjects and … Continue reading

March 31, 2014
by Dan
4 Comments

Q & A with Isabel Urbina Peña

If you’ve walked into a North American bookstore recently, or you’ve been paying attention to the book reviews on this side of the Atlantic, you will have no doubt seen the stylish black cover for All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu … Continue reading

January 28, 2014
by Dan
1 Comment

Q & A with Steven Heller, Shadow Type

“Dimensional typefaces toy with human perception, challenging the limits of cognition. Whether framed by a subtle tint or a bold silhouette, in color or in black and white, a shadow adds bulk, enabling the words to rise voluminously from otherwise … Continue reading

January 22, 2014
by Dan
4 Comments

Q & A with Jessica Sullivan

If you saw my post on Canadian book covers last year, then you’ve already seen the work of Vancouver-based designer and art director Jessica Sullivan. I first came across Jessica’s name in 2009. I was trying to convince Peter Cocking, then art director at … Continue reading

November 7, 2013
by Dan
2 Comments

Q & A with Gene Luen Yang

I wouldn’t be surprised if you were feeling a little disillusioned with comics right now — frictionless superhero movies that deliver ever-diminishing emotional returns; ham-fisted editorial decisions; disputes over rights, compensation and artwork; violence; stupidity; institutional misogyny and racism; and generic … Continue reading

September 25, 2013
by Dan
2 Comments

Q & A with Luke Pearson

I’ve been a fan of Luke Pearson‘s work since picking up a copy of Hilda and the Midnight Giant from Nobrow Press a year or so ago. The beautiful illustrations, quality printing and oversize format gave it the exotic feel of … Continue reading

April 10, 2012
by Dan
2 Comments

Q & A with Jennifer Heuer

Jennifer Heuer is a book designer based in Brooklyn. Formerly a designer at HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, she now runs her own studio out of the Pencil Factory. Jen’s striking inkblot design for 1000 Black Umbrellas by Daniel McGinn, … Continue reading

October 27, 2011
by Dan
6 Comments

Q & A with Jason

I’ve written about Norwegian cartoonist Jason for The Casual Optimist before and his work appears here with unerring regularity — if you are a frequent reader you are no doubt already familiar with it. Like British cartoonist Tom Gauld who I interviewed early this year, … Continue reading

January 10, 2011
by Dan
3 Comments

Q & A with John Gall

John Gall is Vice President and Art Director for Vintage/Anchor Books, an instructor at the School of Visual Arts, and the author Sayonara Home Run! The Art of the Japanese Baseball Card. Previously Art Director at Grove/Atlantic, Gall has been … Continue reading

December 21, 2010
by Dan
4 Comments

Q & A’s of 2010

This week’s Q & A with The Heads of State is my last interview of 2010. There are more Q & A’s with book designers and other book folk planned for 2011, but in the meantime, here’s a round-up of … Continue reading

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