Munich ’72. The Visual Output of Otl Aicher’s Dept. XI, a book about the design team for the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, is currently on Kickstarter. The project is the result of three of years of research and it needs a little help to get it over the finish line, so maybe go take a look?
The cover of the US edition published by Ballantine (I couldn’t find an image without the book club sticker… sorry), was designed by Caroline Teagle Johnson. The book is getting a lot of buzz so I’ve seen both versions of the cover a lot online. It’s a pretty striking photo. I’m curious about where it came from…
I haven’t posted anything about books and technology here for a while, but I thought this recent Wired piece by Craig Mod on the “Future Book” was quite interesting:
Physical books today look like physical books of last century. And digital books of today look, feel, and function almost identically to digital books of 10 years ago, when the Kindle launched… Yet here’s the surprise: We were looking for the Future Book in the wrong place. It’s not the form, necessarily, that needed to evolve—I think we can agree that, in an age of infinite distraction, one of the strongest assets of a “book” as a book is its singular, sustained, distraction-free, blissfully immutable voice. Instead, technology changed everything that enables a book, fomenting a quiet revolution. Funding, printing, fulfillment, community-building—everything leading up to and supporting a book has shifted meaningfully, even if the containers haven’t. Perhaps the form and interactivity of what we consider a “standard book” will change in the future, as screens become as cheap and durable as paper. But the books made today, held in our hands, digital or print, are Future Books, unfuturistic and inert may they seem.
To mark the 100th birthday of J.D. Salinger, Amsterdam-based design studio Moker Ontwerp were asked by Dutch publisher De Bezige Bij to design brand new covers for four of Salinger’s most famous books.
There are longstanding requirements for J.D. Salinger covers. No photographs or illustrations can be used, and the title should always be above the author’s name and set in bigger type. To break the rigidity of these rules and bring more expressiveness to the design, the studio decided to write all the titles with a brush instead of using a font, while setting the author’s name “as seriously as possible” in stately Roman Capitals.
The results, I think, speak for themselves…
Thanks to Henk van het Nederend at Moker Ontwerp for letting me know about this project.
Before we move on to new books for 2019, here are some of the better end-of-year lists that looked back at book cover design in 2018…
Paste were out of the gate early with a list of the 18 best book covers of 2018.
The folks at Spine left it until right before Christmas to post their 2018 Book Covers We Loved, but they did do a nice video with designer Holly Dunn, highlighting a few of their favourites from the list:
Highlights from Book Covers We Love 2018 | SPINE - YouTube
In the most eagerly awaited list, Matt Dorfman chose his 12 covers of the year for the New York Times (although whoever wrote the “We think you can judge a year by its book covers” subhed owes Matt an apology).
The Literary Hub asked 27 designers to share their favorite book covers of the year and came up with a list of 75 “covers of note” (where have I heard that before?), including a couple of covers I didn’t see anywhere else, which is always a pleasant surprise.
Vulture posted a list of their 10 favourite covers with commentary from the designers.
I have to apologize even more than usual for this year’s YA post. I’ve been rushing to get it done before the holidays and I have finally run out of time. But even though this list is far from definitive, there are still lots of great young adult (and one or two middle-grade) covers for you to peruse. Enjoy!
This has been an exhausting year for oh so, so many reasons, but book covers remained a bright spot for me in 2018.
As always, my end-of-year list collects together the covers that I found interesting or noteworthy in some way or another in the past 12 months. It is organized alphabetically by title and grouped by designer (because that makes sense to me when I’m compiling the list).
In terms of trends, there were a lot of hot orange book covers this year. Stark black, white and red covers were popular for non-fiction. Stars and stripes featured heavily too (I refuse to do a post about this!). Snakes seemed to be a thing!
Typographically, big white sans serifs are still a go-to. And hand-lettering and handwriting are still going strong. But retro typefaces, particularly big serifs with swishy swashes, are making a comeback.
Thanks as always to everyone who has supported the blog this year, especially the folks who have taken the time to help with cover images and design credits. I’m sorry for the many, many the emails I have not replied to this year, and for all the covers, designers, and publishers I have overlooked.