Thursday, August 21, 2014

Soup and Salad: Special "I've Got You Covered" Edition

On today's menu....I thought I'd depart from the usual potpourri of book-world news and bring you a special edition devoted to cover designs.  Because everyone likes a menu with lots of pictures, right?

1.  The consistently-wonderful Causal Optimist blog has rounded up some recent book cover designs from the U.S. and other countries which feature maps (and a couple of floor plans).  My favorites from the collection include The Coat Route by Meg Lukens Noonan (designed by Allison Colpoys), The Norfolk Mystery by Ian Sansom (designed by Jo Walker), and The Snow Tourist: A Search for the World's Purest, Deepest Snowfall by Charlie English (cover art by Mike Topping).  The latter is a 2009 book I'd never heard of, but would probably pick up regardless of the cover design because, frankly, I love snow.

2.  Earlier this month, The Casual Optimist rounded up "Book Covers of Note" for August.  My raves and faves included H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald (cover art by Christopher Wormell) and A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor (design by Richard Ljoenes).

3.  At The Huffington Post, designer Charlotte Strick describes the many rejected cover designs for Lydia Davis' new collection of short stories Can't and Won't.  Early in the process, Strick fixated on the longest story, "The Cows."  At first, she and illustrator Ariana Nehmad tried several different bovine-heavy designs, including these two (which I rather like, actually):

"These early sketches look so fussy to me now," she writes, "though Ariana’s painting style is simple and sophisticated and the color would be just as limited in the final jacket design.  That 'final' design was actually one of my very first ideas, scribbled in a notepad, but instead of working it out I’d been seduced by Davis’s bovine neighbors and lost my way.  Often you need to build a jacket design till it’s dense with ideas–then find the time, will and clarity to strip, strip, strip away.  Lydia’s writing is that stripped down too, and to get a design right for her work I need to remind myself of this."  In the end, nothing but words were left on the cover:

4.  At Amazon's Omnivoracious blog, designer Chip Kidd talks about how he was influenced by these sentences from Haruki Murakami's new novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: “You know, in a sense we were the perfect combination, the five of us.  Like five fingers.”  And so Kidd came up with this colorful design using "finger windows" cut into the jacket.  I've got Colorless Tsukuru on order at Books and Books here in Butte and hope to have it, ahem, in hand tomorrow.

5.  When I posted Penguin's cover for a re-issue of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on my Facebook page, the response was pretty strong: howls of protest and vomiting in the aisles.  My social media followers weren't the only ones with a violent reaction ("You're destroying my childhood!").

I was under the mistaken impression that this apparent depiction of Violet Beauregarde would be one of a series of designs highlighting different characters from the book (which is, admittedly, darker and creepier than our golden-nostalgia memories want us to believe).  Knowing this is the only cover for the re-issue, however, I too am vomiting and howling.  The wrong-headed cover led The Guardian to post its candidates for "Worst Book Covers Ever."  Do you agree with their lineup of five design criminals?

6.  I leave you with Flavorwire's "20 YA Book Covers That Are Actually Gorgeous."  I'm in lurve with The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumire (cover art by Fernando Juarez), The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma (cover photograph by Elena Kalis; art direction & design by Linda McCarthy), Hourglass by Myra McEntire and Jackaby by William Ritter (design by jdrift designs).

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