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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?  

(via Under Consideration)

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It’s almost the first day of spring, the snow and ice have just about melted in Toronto (for now!), and everything is still awful, so it must be time for March’s book covers of note! 


Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad; design by Grace Han (Riverhead / February 2019)


The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson; design by Helen Crawford-White (Grove / March 2019)


The Bold World by Jodie Patterson; design by Jaya Miceli (Ballantine / January 2019)


Boşluktakiler by Tom McCarthy; design by David Drummond (Jaguar / February 2019)

This is the Turkish edition of Men in Space by Tom McCarthy. I like how the composition and colour palette echo the cover of the US edition published by Vintage, designed by John Gall:

It also reminds of the golden leaf cover for ‘True Faith’ by New Order designed by Peter Saville.  


The Cook by Maylis de Kerangal; design by Na Kim (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / March 2019)

(I feel like a Freudian could have a field day with this cover.)


Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid; design by Lauren Wakefield (Hutchinson / March 2019)  

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… 

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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.

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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. 

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Thanks to the weather cancelling everything, I’m not horrendously late with this month’s covers post!


All the Lives We Ever Lived by Katharine Smyth; design by Michael Morris (Crown / January 2019)


Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James; cover art by Pablo Gerardo Camacho (Riverhead / February 2019)


Consent by Leo Benedictus; design by Alex kirby (Faber & Faber / February 2019)


The Current by Tim Johnston; design by Pete Garceau (Algonquin / January 2019)

You can read about the icy process behind this cover at Spine Magazine


The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay; design by Kelly Winton (Grove / January 2019)


The Five by Hallie Rubenhold; design by Jo Thomson (Transworld / February 2019)

I like this jacket a lot, but it’s what’s under it that really caught my eye:

The whole package looks great:


Golden State by Ben H. Winters; design by Gregg Kulick (Mulholland Books / January 2019)

The cover of Ben H. Winters previous novel Underground Airlines, also published by Mulholland Books, was designed by Oliver Munday:

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Here are this month’s book covers of note. Better late than never I suppose! (And so much for that New Year’s Resolution to better at blogging in 2019!). I’ll be starting on February’s post next week…


Cusp by Josephine Wilson; design by Alissa Dinallo (UWA Publishing / August 2018)

Starting my first 2019 covers post with a book from 2018 is not ideal, is it? Ah well… Take a look at some of the rejected covers on Alissa’s Instagram.   


The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker; design by Anna Kochman (Random House / January 2019)


Holy Lands by Amanda Sthers; design by Tree Abraham (Bloomsbury / January 2019)


Joy Enough by Sarah McColl; design by Catherine Casalino (Liveright / January 2019)


Maid by Stephanie Land; design by Amanda Kain (Hachette / January 2019)

You guys are weird… 

The cover of the UK edition of Maid, published by Trapeze, also features rubber gloves FWIW. Sadly I don’t know who designed it.  


McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh; design by Ben Denzer (Penguin / January 2019)


Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin; design by Stephen Brayda (Riverhead / January 2019)


No! by Charles Nemeth; design by James Paul Jones (Atlantic Books / January 2019)

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Happy New Year!

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. 

And, drawing on the lists from LitHub and Paste (and some other guy), Jason Kottke posted a short but sweet list of book covers for the year that included a couple of my favourites, Cherry designed by Janet Hansen and Circe designed by Will Staehle

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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! 


Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi; design Erin Fitzsimmons (HarperTeen / June 2018)


And She Was by Jessica Verdi; design by Sara Wood (Scholastic / July 2018)


The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke; design by Will Staehle (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / October 2018)


The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke; design by Jack Noel (Simon and Schuster / October 2018)


Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi; design Richard Deas (Henry Holt / March 2018)


City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson; design by Dana Li (Speak / May 2018)


Clara Voyant by Rachelle Delaney; design by Jennifer Griffiths; illustration Christy Lundy (Puffin Canada / May 2018)


The Colors of the Rain by R. L. Toalson; cover art by C. S. Neal (Yellow Jacket / September 2018)


Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram; design by Samira Iravani; art by Adams Carvalho (Dial Books / September 2018)


Dread Nation by Justina Ireland; design by David Curtis; photography by Gustavo Marx (Balzer + Bray / July 2018)

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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. 


Aetherial Worlds by Tatyana Tolstaya; design by Stephanie Ross (Knopf / March 2018)

Stephanie Ross’s cover for Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Jane Sherron De Hart, published by Knopf in October, also caught my eye this year. 


Agrippina: Empress, Exile, Hustler, Whore by Emma Southon; design by Mark Ecob (Unbound / August 2018)


America is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo; design by Gray318 (Atlantic Books / May 2018)

Also designed by Gray318:

(I got to visit Jon in his studio this summer, which was nice.)


Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald; design David Pearson (Penguin / June 2018)

Also designed by David Pearson:

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