The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

December 13, 2016
by Dan

The Rest of the Best

When it comes to choosing the year’s best book covers, it seems that everyone is at it these days…

“These covers are challenging without being impenetrable and playful without being precious — none of which is an easy task for a designer. If good design might lure us into an experience that makes us smarter, then we’ve hit the jackpot when the book allows us to spend time within the head space of a stranger.”     

I always look forward to Matt Dorfmann’s selections for the New York Times Book Review. Matt is the NYTBR‘s art director and a cover designer in his own right so he knows what he’s talking about, and his choices are always interesting. If I am honest, I think this is the list the designers (American designers at least) really pay attention to. And it’s worth noting that half of Matt’s choices this year were designed by women. 

Slate’s list of Best Book Jackets of 2016 includes notes from the designers about each cover.  

Vyki Hendy and Eric Wilder have chosen  — with input from designers Erin Fitzsimmons and Stuart Bache — 25 of the year’s covers for SPINE Magazine

Jarry Lee chose 32 “of the most beautiful book covers of 2016” for BuzzFeed.

And last but not least, Paste’s selections includes “a few novelette and short story covers.

December 13, 2016
by Dan

Series Design 2016

Some of the most interesting and innovative book covers in the last few years have been designed as part of a series — designers and art directors seem to have more leeway with backlist titles (especially so if the author is no longer in the picture!) — and 2016 was no exception. Here are some of my favourite series designs from past year…


The Angelus Trilogy by John Steele; designed by Jason Booher (Blue Rider Press / 2016)

Inspector Littlejohn Mysteries by George Bellairs; design Stuart Bache (IPSO Books / 2016)

The Birds and the Bees; cover art by Timorous Beasties (Vintage / 2016)

Read more about the series on the Creative Review blog.


Virago Modern Classics Daphne Du Maurier; designs by Jamie Keenan, Neil Gower, Gray318, and Nico Taylor (Virago / 2016)

Vintage Eliot; cover art by Zeva Oelbaum (Vintage /2016)

Read more about the series on CMYK, Vintage book design tumblr.


Found on the Shelves / The London Library; design by David Pearson; illustration by Joe McLaren (Pushkin Press / 2016)

Read more about the design of the series at The Bookseller


Gollancz William Gibson ‘Sprawl Trilogy’ and Burning Chrome; design by Sinem Erkas; cover art by Daniel Brown (Gollancz / 2016-2017)

Read more about the books and the design on the Gollancz blog.

Patrick Hamilton reissues; design by Jack Smyth (Abacus 2016- 2017)

Sonya Harnett reissues; design by Marina Messiha; cover art by Maxim Shkret (Penguin Teen Australia / 2016)

New Directions Roger Lewinter; design by Erik Carter (New Directions / 2016)

Macmillan Classics; design by Neil Lang (Macmillan India / 2016) 

This is just a fraction of the covers designed by Neil and he is working on even more to complete the series.

Beck and Mal Peet reissues; design by Jack Noel; illustration by Telegramme (Walker Books / 2016)

Pelican Shakespeare; design by Manuja Waldia (Penguin US / 2016)

Mortal Engines by Stanislaw Lem (Modern Classics); series design by Jim Stoddart; cover art by Haley Warnham (Penguin / 2016)


The Great Science Fiction by H.G. Wells (Modern Classics); series design by Jim Stoddart; cover art by Evan Hecox (Penguin / September 2016) 


Penguin Essentials; designs by Kyler Martz, Gray318, David Foldavi, Julian House (Penguin / 2-16)

See more of the series at Design Week.

dune design Alex Trochut

Penguin Galaxy series; design by Alex Trochut (Penguin /2016)

No Man’s Land Trilogy by Andy Remic; design by Christine Foltzer; illustration by Jeffrey Alan Love (Tor / 2016)

Read more about Jeffrey Alan Love’s work on the series on


New Directions W.G. Sebald; design by Peter Mendelsund (New Directions / 2016)





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 made suggestions and helped in various others ways. I’ve tried my best to credit the designs as fully as possible, but please let me know if there are any errors or omissions.

Aluta by Adwoa Badoe; design Michael Solomon; cover art Shonagh Rae (Groundwood / September 2016)

American Girls by Alison Umminger; design by Philip Pascuzzo (Flat Iron / June 2016)
American Girls by Alison Umminger; design by Philip Pascuzzo (Flatiron / June 2016)

And I Darken by Kiersten White; cover art by Alessandro Taini (Corgi / July 2016)

As I Descended by Robin Talley; design by Michelle Taormina (HarperCollins / October 2016)

Beast by Brie Spangler; design by Leo Nickolls (Knopf / October 2016)

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh; design by Leo Nickolls (Delacorte / February 2016)

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Burdago; cover art by Thomas Walker and John Bartlett; design Thomas Walker and Richard Deas (Henry Holt / September 2016)

Cuckoo design Jack Smyth
Cuckoo by Keren David; design by Jack Smyth (Atom / August 2016)

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith; design Elizabeth H. Clark (Roaring Brook / October 2016)

Enter Title Here design Maria Elias
Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia; design by Maria Elias (Hyperion / August 2016)

Exit, Pursued by Bear by E. K. Johnston; design by Kristin Logsdon (Dutton / March 2016)

The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes; design by Sarah Nicole Kaufman (HarperTeen / May 2016)

A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry; design by Allison Colpoys (Algonquin / April 2016)

Frannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup; design by Ray Shappell (HarperCollins / June 2016)

Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / April 2016)

The Graces by Laure Eve; design by Maria T. Middleton; illustration by Spencer Charles (Amulet / September 2016)

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle; design by Krista Vossen (Simon & Schuster / March 2016)

The Haters by Jesse Andrews; design by Chad W. Beckerman and Will Staehle (Abrams / April 2016)

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo; design by Liz Dresner and Elaine C. Damasco; photograph by Michael Frost (Flatiron / May 2016)

Into White by Randi Pink; design by April Ward (Feiwel & Friends / September 2016)

The Island by Olivia Levez; design by Nathan Burton (Oneworld / November 2016)

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold; design Theresa Evangelista; illustration Yuschav Arly (Viking / September 2016)

It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / December 2016)

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig; design by Rich Deas (Feiwel & Friends / October 2016)

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge; design by Maria T. Middleton; cover by Vincent Chong (Amulet / April 2016)

The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / September 2016)

The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon; design by Will Steele; cover art by Olivia Lomenech Gill (Faber & Faber / October 2016)

The Nightwanders by C. J. Flood; design by Nic&Lou Studio (Simon & Schuster / June 2016)

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst; design by Michelle Taormina, art by Jacob Eisinger (Balzer + Bray / November 2016)

design Matt Roeser
Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / September 2016)

Replica by Lauren Oliver; design by Erin Fitzsimmons (HarperCollins / October 2016)

This really needs to be seen in person for the fancy acetate wrap as well the double covers:

Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer; design by M80 (Bantam / March 2016)

Scar design CS Neal
Scar by J. Albert Mann; design by Christopher Silas Neal (Calkins Creek / April 2016)

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate; design by Maria T. Middleton (Abrams / March 2016)

Shadow Queen design Sarah Nichole Kaufman
The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine; design Sarah Nichole Kaufman; lettering / apple carving Sean Freeman (Balzer + Bray / February 2016)

Shiver the Whole Night Through by Darragh McManus; design by Jet Purdie (Hot Key Books / April 2016)

Still Life with Tornado by A. S. King; design by Samira Iravani (Dutton / October 2016)

Study in Charlotte jacket art Dan Funderburgh design Katie Fitch
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro; jacket art Dan Funderburgh; design Katie Fitch (Katherine Tegen Books / March 2016)

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon; design Elaine C. Damasco; art Dominique Falla (Delacorte / November 2016)

Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan; design by Nathan Burton (Oneworld / November 2016)

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs; design by Lindsey Andrews; cover art Andrew Davidson (Dutton / September 2016)

Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin; cover art Jill de Haan (Simon & Schuster / September 2016)

 Thanks for the Trouble design by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach; design by Lucy Ruth Cummins; Photography by Keirnan Monaghan, styling by Theo Vamvounakis (Simon and Schuster / February 2016)

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp; design by N. C. Sousa (Sourcebooks / April 2016)

This Savage Song design Jenna Stempel
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab; design Jenna Stempel (GreenWillow / July 2016)

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee; design by Jenna Stempel; cover art by Sasha Vinogradova (HarperCollins / August 2016)

cover 100915.indd
A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison; design by Ray Shappell (Delacorte / May 2016)

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson; design by Lucy Ruth Cummins; photography by Meredith Jenks (Simon & Schuster / May 2016)

When Everything Feels Like the Movies design Ceara Elliot lettering Martina Flor
When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid; design Ceara Elliot; lettering and illustration Martina Flor (Atom / February 2016)

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke; design by Kristin Smith; cover art by Lisa Perrin (Dial / April 2016)

Wrecked by Maria Padian; design by Liz Casal (Algonquin Young Readers / October 2016)


November 27, 2016
by Dan

Notable Book Covers of 2016

It is that wonderful/awful time of year. Wonderful because we get to look back at some of the amazing work people have done over the past 12 months. Awful because lists are arbitrary and someone always misses out.

I’m not going to say these are the ‘best’ covers of year. I don’t think it’s fair, and I don’t feel qualified to make that kind of judgement. This post is more an attempt to reflect the year in covers as I saw it — the covers I liked; the covers I thought were well done; the covers I thought were interesting; the covers that I thought were a bit different. 

Like last year, I’ve clustered my selections around designers. Not only does this allow me to post more covers, it means I can show a greater diversity of work.

I am truly sorry to all the hardworking and talented designers (and art directors) whose work I have overlooked this year. I do my best. It is not enough. Bring on 2017.

Addlands design Jenny Grigg
Addlands by Tom Bullough; design by Jenny Grigg (Granta / June 2016)

Also designed by Jenny Grigg:

All Things Cease design Mario Hugo
All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage; design by Mario Hugo (Knopf / March 2016)

Association-Small-Bombs design Matt Vee
The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan; design by Matt Vee (Viking / March 2016)

Barkskins design by Anna Morrison
Barkskins by Annie Proulx; design Anna Morrison (Fourth Estate / June 2016)

Also designed by Anna Morrison:

Beast design Mark Ecob
Beast by Paul Kingsnorth; design Mark Ecob; illustration Alan Rogerson (Faber & Faber / July 2016)

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall; design by Alysia Shewchuck (House of Anansi / August 2016)

A burglar's guide_cvr_revised.indd
A Burglar’s Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh; design by Nayon Cho (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / April 2016)

But What if We're Wrong design Paul Sahre
But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman; design by Paul Sahre (Blue Rider Press / June 2016)

Also designed by Paul Sahre:

Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair; design by Nathan Putens; artwork by Wangechi Mutu (University of Nebraska Press / September 2016)

Cannibals in Love design Na Kim
Cannibals in Love by Mike Roberts; design by Na Kim (FSG Original / September 2016)

Also designed by Na Kim:

Childrens Home design Jaya Micelli; Art by Valerie Hegarty
The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert; design by Jaya Miceli (Scribner / January 2016)

Also designed by Jaya Miceli

Comet Seekers design Chloe Giordano
The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick; design by Chloe Giordano (Harvill Secker / August 2016)

congratulations on everything design Gary Taxali
Congratulations on Everything by Nathan Whitlock; cover art by Gary Taxali (ECW / May 2016)

The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble; design Rafi Romaya; cover illustration by Timorous Beasties (Canongate / November 2016)

Also designed by Rafi Romaya:

Dialogue design Catherine Casaline
Dialogue by Robert McKee; design by Catherine Casalino (Twelve Books / July 2016)

Also designed by Catherine Casalino:

don’t i know you? design Phil Pascuzzo
Don’t I Know You? by Marni Jackson; design by Phil Pascuzzo (Flatiron / September 2016)

Also designed by Phil Pascuzzo:

The Encounter design David Pearson
The Encounter: Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu; design by David Pearson (Pushkin Press / February 2016)

Also designed by David Pearson:

Essex Serpent design Peter Dyer
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry; design Peter Dyer (Serpent’s Tail / June 2016)

design Zoe Norvell
Faithful by Alice Hoffman; design by Zoe Norvell (Simon & Schuster / November 2016)

Also designed by Zoe Norvell:

A Gambler’s Anatomy by Jonathan Lethem; design by Gray318 (Doubleday / October 2016)

Also designed by Gray318:

Girls on Fire US design Robin Bilardello
Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman; design by Robin Bilardello (Harper / May 2016)

Also designed by Robin Bilardello:

The Good Immigrant design James Paul Jones
The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla; design by James Paul Jones (Unbound / September 2016)

Also designed by James Paul Jones:

The Guineveres by Sarah Domet; design by Lauren Harms (Flatiron Books / October 2016)

Also designed by Lauren Harms:

The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone; design by Chelsea McGuckin; art by David Wu (Atria Books / July 2016)

 How Propaganda Works design Chris Ferrante
How Propaganda Works by Jason Stanley; design by Chris Ferrante (Princeton University Press / May 2016)

Also designed by Chris Ferrante:

How To See design Peter Mendelsund
How to See by David Salle; design by Peter Mendelsund (W.W. Norton / October 2016)

Also designed by Peter Mendelsund:

Imagine Me Gone design Keith Hayes
Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett; design by Keith Hayes (Little, Brown & Co. / May 2016)

Also designed by Keith Hayes:

Is That Kafka design Erik Carter
Is That Kafka? 99 Finds by Reiner Stach; design by Erik Carter (New Directions / April 2016)

Also designed by Erik Carter:

Knockout design by Matt Dorfman
Knockout by John Jodzio; design by Matt Dorfman (Soft Skull / March 2016)

Legoland design by Justine Anweiler illo Axel Bizon
Legoland by Gerard Woodward; design by Justine Anweiler; illustration by Axel Bizon and Lena Sarrault (Picador / February 2016)

Also designed by Justine Anweiler:

Little Nothing by Marisa Silver; design by Rachel Willey (Blue Rider Press / September 2016)
Little Nothing by Marisa Silver; design by Rachel Willey (Blue Rider Press / September 2016)

Also designed by Rachel Willey:

Lonely City
The Lonely City by Olivia Laing; design Henry Sene Yee; photograph by Jerome Liebling (Picador USA / March 2016)

Looking for the Stranger by Alice Kaplan; design by Isaac Tobin (University of Chicago Press / September 2016)

Also designed by Isaac Tobin:

Lost Time Accidents design Pete Adlington
The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray; design by Peter Adlington (Canongate / June 2016)

Also designed by Pete Adlington:

Ministry of Nostalgia design Andy Pressman
The Ministry of Nostalgia by Owen Hatherley; design by Andy Pressman (Verso / January 2016)

Moonglow by Michael Chabon; design by Adalis Martinez (Harper / November 2016)

The Muse design Ami Smithson cover art Lisa Perrin
The Muse by Jessie Burton; design by Ami Smithson, cover art by Lisa Perrin (Picador / June 2016)

Also designed by Ami Smithson:

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose; design by Sandy Cull (Allen & Unwin / August 2016)

My Father the Pornographer-design by Jamie Keenan
My Father the Pornographer by Chris Offutt; design by Jamie Keenan (Atria / February 2016)

Also designed by Jamie Keenan:

The Nix by Nathan Hill; design by Oliver Munday (Knopf / August 2016)
The Nix by Nathan Hill; design by Oliver Munday (Knopf / August 2016)

Also designed by Oliver Munday:

Permanent Resident by Roanna Gonsalves; design Alissa Dinallo (UWA Publishing / November 2016)

pond design by Alex Merto
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett; design by Alex Merto;  cover art: detail from ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair’ Margriet Smulders (Riverhead / July 2016)

Also designed by Alex Merto:

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce; design by June Park (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / November 2016)

Reality is Not What it Seems by Carlo Rovelli; design by Coralie Bickford-Smith (Allen Lane / October 2016)
Reality is Not What it Seems by Carlo Rovelli; design by Coralie Bickford-Smith (Allen Lane / October 2016)

Also designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith:

Sex and Death design Luke Bird
Sex and Death edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs; design by Luke Bird (Faber & Faber / September 2016)

Smoke by Dan Vyleta; design by Mark Swan (Weidenfeld & Nicolson / July 2016)

The Start of Something by Stuart Dybek; design Suzanne Dean; cover art by Marion de Man (Jonathan Cape / November 2016) 

Also designed by Suzanne Dean:

The Story of Reason in Islam by Sari Nusseibeh; design by Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein (Stanford University Press / November 2016)

Also designed by Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein:

The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel; design by Allison Colpoys (Scribe / August 2016)

Also designed by Allison Colpoys:

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad; design by Ploy Siripant; lettering by Joel Holland (Penguin / February 2016)

Also designed by Ploy Siripant:

Trees design David Mann
The Trees by Ali Shaw; design by David Mann (Bloomsbury / March 2016)

Version Control by Dexter Palmer; design Janet Hansen (Pantheon / February 2016)

Also designed by Janet Hansen:

Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky; design by Richard Ljoenes (Restless Books / April 2016)

Wonder US design Kimberly Glyder
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue design by Kimberly Glyder (Little, Brown & Co. / September 2016)

Also designed by Kimberly Glyder:

Wonder UK
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue design by Jo Thompson (Picador / September 2016)

XX design Sara Wood
XX: Poems for the Twentieth Century by Campbell McGrath; design Sara Wood (Ecco / March 2016)

Also designed by Sara Wood:




November 27, 2016
by Dan

Robert Rauschenberg and the Subversive Language of Junk

Rauschenberg’s ‘muse wall’, a collection of objects and images that inspired him, in his print shop, Captiva, Florida, around 1979. Photograph: Emil Fray/Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Rauschenberg’s ‘muse wall’, a collection of objects and images that inspired him, in his print shop, Captiva, Florida, around 1979. Photograph: Emil Fray/Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

With a major Robert Rauschenberg retrospective opening at Tate Modern in December, Alex Needham, writing for The Guardian, visits the late artist’s island home of Captiva, Florida:

Rauschenberg started visiting in 1962, before moving to Captiva nine years later, describing it as “the foundation of my life and my work… the source and reserve of my energies”. His work by then had become ambitious and complicated; Captiva forced a return to simplicity, and the first things he produced were a selection of wall sculptures made from battered cardboard boxes.

For the world beyond Captiva’s white sands, however, a reacquaintance with Robert Rauschenberg is long overdue. In Britain, there has been no major retrospective of his work since 1981, while the last big US survey, at the Guggenheim in New York, took place in 1997. That will change next month, when Tate Modern opens a London retrospective; it will then move to Moma in New York next May, and after that to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Rauschenberg left a bold and indelible mark on the 20th century. His combines, which integrated the flotsam and trash of everyday life, including the artist’s own duvet in Bed (1955), were neither painting nor sculpture, and proved that anything could be the material of art. At Tate Modern, pride of place will be given to Monogram 1955–59, a horizontal canvas on which perches a stuffed goat with a tyre around its midriff; the work thrilled and scandalised when it was first shown at Castelli’s gallery in New York, and rapidly became synonymous with the artist’s iconoclasm. Since then, his relevance has only increased, says Leah Dickerman, co-curator of the new retrospective: “When you open a gallery and see the art that’s made out of the stuff of the real world, that’s coming off the walls, that’s interdisciplinary in its approach, all that is the legacy of Rauschenberg.”


Detail from Rauschenberg’s Mirthday Man (1997)

Detail from Rauschenberg’s Mirthday Man (1997)

Also at writing for The Guardian, Olivia Laing, author of The Lonely City and The Trip to Echo Spring, looks back over Rauschenberg’s career:    

Making the combines, Rauschenberg felt he was cracking “the secret language of junk”. They could be composed of anything: a goat corseted by a tire; a stuffed bald eagle. One of the very first, Untitled (Man with White Shoes), contained – deep breath – fabric, newspaper, a photograph of Jasper Johns, a handwritten letter from Rauschenberg’s son, a drawing by Twombly, glass, mirror, tin, cork, a pair of the artist’s socks and painted leather shoes, dried grass and a taxidermied Plymouth Rock hen.

All the same, there’s a limit to how much world you can cram into a sculpture, and as Rauschenberg’s success grew he became increasingly fascinated by replication. Back in 1952, he’d experimented with transfer drawing, and in 1958 he embarked on a grand project of illustrating Dante’s Inferno using lighter fluid to transfer images on to paper. In 1962, Andy Warhol introduced him to a far more sophisticated technique: the wizardry of using photographic images on silkscreen canvases.

Now he could reuse and resize his own photos and those he snipped from newspapers and magazines, giving him an unprecedented power of composition. Anything could be incorporated: John F Kennedy; a water tower; Bonnie and Clyde. As he gleefully observed of the silkscreen paintings: “It’s as much like Christmas to me as using objects I pick up on the street.” He was giddy for them, until in 1964 he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. Terrified of stasis, the next day he called his New York studio and asked his assistant to burn all the screens.

See also: Hal Foster on Rauschenberg retrospective for the London Review of Books,  

November 25, 2016
by Dan



Tom Gauld for The Guardian

(Tom has touched on this subject before…)

November 18, 2016
by Dan

Choose Your Own Memoir


Grant Snider for the New York Times Book Review.

November 11, 2016
by Dan

The Angelus Trilogy Design by Jason Booher


These Jason Booher covers for the paperback editions of Jon Steele’s The Angelus Trilogy, published by Blue Rider Press in August, bring a whole new meaning to ‘side eye’1 I love that they use Albrecht Dürer etchings as part of the design…




November 11, 2016
by Dan

The Wall


Bob Staake for The New Yorker

November 7, 2016
by Dan

Book Covers of Note November 2016

I’m not sure anyone is paying too much attention to book design this week, but if you’re looking for a few minutes diversion from the awfulness of almost everything, here’s this month’s selection of quirky, beautiful, and otherwise interesting book covers…

Black Water by Louise Doughty; design by Oliver Munday (Sarah Crichton Books / September 2016)

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford; design by Andy Allen (Orion / September 2016)

British Rail Designed 1944-1997 by David Lawrence; design by Theo Inglis (Ian Allan Publishing / November 2016)

Clearing the Air by Gregory Wood; design by Phil Pascuzzo (Cornell University Press / November 2016)

Cold Skin Albert Sánchez Piñol; design by Christopher Gale (Canongate / October 2016)

The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble; design Rafi Romaya; cover illustration by Timorous Beasties (Canongate / November 2016)

Defender by G X Todd; design by Mark Swan (Headline / December 20161)

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien; design Jaya Miceli (W.W. Norton / October 2016)

Dying by Cory Taylor; design by Pete Adlington (Canongate / November 2016)

Faithful by Alice Hoffman; design by Zoe Norvell (Simon & Schuster / November 2016)

Is this a new (old) thing…?

Guy by Jowita Bydlowska; design by Michel Vrana (Wolsak & Wynn / November 2016)

I like that this was a split run of coral and blue:

Knives & Ink by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton; design Katya Mezhibovskaya; cover art Wendy MacNaughton (Bloomsbury / October 2016)

This is a nice partner to 2014’s Pen & Ink which also featured cover art by MacNaughton:

London Lies Beneath by Stella Duffy; Art direction by Nico Taylor; illustration by Joe McLaren (Little, Brown / October 2016)

Midwinter by Fiona Melrose; Art Direction by Bekki Guyatt; illustration by Raquel Leis Allion (Little, Brown / November 2016)

Moonglow by Michael Chabon; design by Adalis Martinez (Harper / November 2016)

Music For Life by Fiona Maddocks; design by Alex Kirby (Faber & Faber / October 2016)

One with the Tiger by Steven Church; design by Faceout Studio (Soft Skull / November 2016)

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce; design Rodrigo Corral; cover art by June Park (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / November 2016)

The Revenge of Analog by David Sax; design Pete Garceau (Public Affairs / November 2016)

Sick Bag Song by Nick Cave; illustration by Nick Cave; art direction by Brian Moore (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / November 2016)

The Start of Something by Stuart Dybek; design Suzanne Dean; cover art by Marion de Man (Jonathan Cape / November 2016) 

(You can read more about the process of making this cover at the Creative Review blog)

The Story of Reason in Islam by Sari Nusseibeh; design by Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein (Stanford University Press / November 2016)

Swing Time by Zadie Smith; design by Gray318 (Hamish Hamilton / November 2016)

This goes rather nicely with Gray318’s earlier design for The Embassy of Cambodia by Zadie Smith:

Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marías; design by Peter Mendelsund (Knopf / November 2016)

Unmistakable by Srinivas Rao; design by Catherine Casalino (Portfolio / August 2016)

Violence as Generative Force by Max Bergholz; design by Scott Levine (Cornell University Press / November 2016)

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins; design by Allison Saltzman; cover art by Lorna Simpson (Ecco / November 2016)

Writing to Save a Life by John Edgar Wideman; design by Eric White (Scribner / November 2016)

You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris; design by Suzanne Dean (Harvill Secker / October 2016)

The US cover for You Will Not Have My Hate, designed by Darren Haggar (Penguin Press, October 2016), provides an interesting contrast in styles:



November 5, 2016
by Dan

The London Library Designs by David Pearson


I mentioned Pushkin Press‘s ‘Found on the Shelves’ series earlier this year. The books celebrate 175 years of The London Library, and four more are coming out this month. The entire series has covers designed by David Pearson and, I’m happy to say, three of the new ones — The Right to Fly, Through a Glass Lightly, and Hints on Etiquette — have wonderful cover illustrations by Joe McLaren as well David’s (brilliant) trademark typography:




McLaren also provided illustrations for the covers of On Corpulence and Life in a Bustletwo earlier books in the series (also designed by David needless to say):



October 27, 2016
by Dan

Herman Melville Considers A Title For His New Novel


Tom Gauld for The Guardian.

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