The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

October 24, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

Q & A with James Paul Jones, Oneworld

The work of Welsh designer James Paul Jones for has featured regularly here in the past few years. A versatile cover designer and one of the co-founders of Vintage UK’s design blog CMYK, James was recognised as a ‘Rising Star‘ by … Continue reading

December 8, 2014
by Dan
3 Comments

Series Book Covers 2014

In the past, I’ve often included a few series designs in with my favourite covers of the year. This year, I saw so many great covers that were part of a series, I thought a they deserved a post of their … Continue reading

October 20, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Aaron Draplin and the Art of the Side Hustle

I could listen to designer Aaron Draplin get all excited about stuff for hours. In these short films by Jared Eberhardt for Vans, Draplin talks about design, ephemera, Field Notes, and more:

January 2, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Society is Nix: The Quotidian Chaos of the Urban Scene

J. Hoberman reviews the oversize comics collection Society is Nix: Gleeful Anarchy at the Dawn of the American Comic Strip, 1895–1915, edited by Peter Maresca and published by Sunday Press Books, for the New York Review of Books: Society is … Continue reading

February 22, 2013
by Dan
9 Comments

You’ll Never Get Anywhere Like That

Or a Few Thoughts on the Cover Design of The Bell Jar (An Illustrated Essay of Sorts) In his recent essay ‘Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport’ designer Michael Bierut (author of 79 Short Essays on Design) suggested that … Continue reading

October 31, 2012
by Dan
2 Comments

Midweek Miscellany

A fantastic new cover for the Vintage (UK) edition of Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, designed by Matt Broughton (via the Vintage Books design Tumblr CMYK) CTRL+C; CTRL+P — Music critic Simon Reynolds, author of Retromania, on remix culture and … Continue reading

November 4, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Project Thirty-Three, one of my favourite mid-century modern design blogs, is now using Blogger’s “Dynamic Views” template. It looks great using the new ‘Flipcard’ feature. The Crash — Alan Hollinghurst talks about writing and his new novel The Stranger’s Child with the … Continue reading

March 31, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Kazuo Ishiguro | Jamie Keenan

The super-talented Jamie Keenan has done a beautiful redesign for Vintage’s Kazuo Ishiguro backlist. You can see them in their full glory at Art Director John Gall’s blog Spine Out.

March 10, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

50 Watts

Will Schofield’s wonderful blog A Journal Round My Skull has been relaunched as 50 Watts using the Cargo platform: The new name has something to do with Charlie Watts, Beckett’s Watt, Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, … Continue reading

February 22, 2010
by Dan
10 Comments

10+ Flickr Groups for Book Design and Inspiration

“10 Websites for Vintage Books, Covers and Inspiration” is one of the most popular posts on The Casual Optimist, and here, at long last, is the promised follow-up: “10 Flickr Groups for Book Design and Inspiration.” There are a lot … Continue reading

December 22, 2009
by Dan
5 Comments

New Vintage Foucault

Peter Mendelsund’s faultless redesigns for the Vintage editions of Foucault… Stunning.

December 16, 2009
by Dan
3 Comments

Midweek Miscellany

Eye, Eye! — The Creative Review looks at the vibrant work of printing studio/small press Nobrow. It’s an Anagram! — Indigo’s e-book initiative Shortcovers has become ‘Kobo’. Much fuss has been made about the name (and the slightly iffy redesign), … Continue reading

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