The Designer's Process

Cover Reveal! The Meaning of Blood by Chuck Caruso

Cloud Lodge Books (CLB) are delighted to have Spine Magazine exclusively reveal the cover for The Meaning of Blood and Other Tales of Perversity, the latest offering by award-winning crime author Chuck Caruso. The evocative cover is courtesy of design studio LaBoca.

Cover Reveal! The Meaning of Blood by Chuck Caruso

Take Cover: Alice Marwick on Creative Process

Here is the thing about Alice Marwick: she refuses to apply only one philosophy to cover design. So far, her open mind and portfolio have served her (and the authors for whom she designs) well. Marwick has designed for publishers like Bloomsbury, Zed Books, I. B. Tauris, Simon & Schuster, Little, Brown, Atlantic Books, and John Murray. She has also worked in-house at a small independent press. Now, Marwick works for herself and the books in which she believes. Her latest cover design for Sweet Thames is yet another testament to her versatility as a designer.

Take Cover: Alice Marwick on Creative Process

Kimberly Glyder on Designing Dear Mrs. Bird

Back in early 2017, Jaya Miceli, art director at Scribner, asked me to work on the jacket for Dear Mrs. Bird, a novel by AJ Pearce. The book takes place during World War II in England and centers on a young woman who answers letters at a newspaper as an advice columnist. These letters are addressed to “Mrs. Bird.” Given a great deal of creative freedom on this title, one of the challenges I had was to differentiate my design from the UK edition, which is a beautiful package featuring a bird.

Kimberly Glyder on Designing Dear Mrs. Bird

Glenn O'Neill Gets His Hands Dirty For The Possible World

The Possible World is a novel featuring three seemingly disconnected characters who each, in different ways, need saving. They are brought together to change one another for the better. Ben is a six-year-old boy who witnesses a horrific crime that claims the life of his mother; Lucy is the doctor who tends to Ben in the aftermath; and lastly Clare, an elderly lady, who harbours a long lifetime of secrets.

In considering a jacket approach it was suggested, in our monthly briefing meeting at Penguin, that we think of the possibility of a simple iconic image that radiated a sense of hope.

Glenn O'Neill Gets His Hands Dirty For The Possible World

Sarahmay Wilkinson, Using Textiles for Woman of the Ashes

Working with Laird Gallagher, editor at FSG, on Woman of the Ashes was an absolute pleasure. Mia Cuoto’s writing has the depth, detail, and precision of a journalist, with an added layer of magic and wonder -- it is most captivating.

Woman of the Ashes takes place in Southern Mozambique in 1894. The story explores  two sides of an empire, as well as two sides of a divided family. At the center of the story is a young woman named Imani. Fifteen years of age, Imani is a member of the VaChopi tribe. She is hired as the translator for the Portuguese Sergeant German de Melo, it is their relationship that becomes the primary backdrop for the unfolding of Woman of the Ashes.

Sarahmay Wilkinson, Using Textiles for Woman of the Ashes

Nathan Burton Serves Up the Cover for Sophia of Silicon Valley

I was briefed by Siripant Ploy at Harper Collins to come up with a cover for Anna Yen’s Sophia of Silicon Valley, a comic novel whose protagonist is finding her way through a male/geek dominated industry. They didn’t want it to look too chick lit and wanted something iconic and eye-catching.

Nathan Burton Serves Up the Cover for Sophia of Silicon Valley

Suzanne Dean collaborates with Bryn Perrott for There There

Fierce, funny and groundbreaking, There There is a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power. I wanted something simple, strident and bold that used type and image in a stark combination. There There was such a commanding title, I instinctively knew it would look incredibly graphic, filling the cover dimensions perfectly.  I thought the US woodcut artist, Bryn Perrott, would be particularly good for the cover. She had a raw energy about her work that, in my mind, perfectly matched the tone of the novel.

Suzanne Dean collaborates with Bryn Perrott for There There

Sukutangan on Designing Rahasia Salinem

Rahasia Salinem is a novel inspired by a true story, about the life of a woman called Mbah Salinem, a maid who has helped many families and tended many households throughout her lifetime, including the authors’. Set in the 1940s and modern times, this book also explores the fight for independence by young Indonesian soldiers and the aftermath of war, and poverty.

We explored many concepts for the cover of this book. At one time we were focusing on Salinem herself, illustrating her figure and making her the prominent focus of the cover, but we realized that it would be too easy and predictable, especially because her name is on the title.

Sukutangan on Designing Rahasia Salinem

Colin Webber on Designing Little Disasters

Little Disasters is the story of two couples brought together by chance and changed forever by an affair. Michael and Paul meet in a hospital waiting room while their significant others are giving birth. It alternates between the two men's perspectives as well as between past and present day. The details unfold amid a mysterious disaster that's wreaking havoc on NYC in the present day.

I explored a few directions before landing on the final. One idea was an ice cream cone that’s tumbling over. The couple that has the affair is out one day getting ice cream together and they decide to make that their code word in case either one of their partners finds out. So at face value a ruined ice cream seems pretty innocuous, but once you find out the connotations it symbolizes that ‘oh shit’ moment.

Colin Webber on Designing Little Disasters

Dominic Forbes on Designing Mrs Whistler

Mrs Whistler is the story of American painter James Abbot McNeill Whistler, Jimmy to his friends, as told through the eyes of his long-suffering muse, Maud Franklin.

I was really excited to get this brief as I’ve been intrigued by Whistler’s work since learning about him in Art History lessons at college. As well as being notorious for his witticisms in social circles many of his works and his art philosophy were quite radical for the time.

Dominic Forbes on Designing Mrs Whistler

Designers with Moxie: Cherie Chapman Talks Cover Design

Have you ever wanted to follow a successful designer around for a day, in the hopes of discovering their magic secrets to success? Cover Designer Cherie Chapman chalks her success up to three key elements: preparation, communication, and an openness to change. In design as in life, no?

Designers with Moxie: Cherie Chapman Talks Cover Design

Matthew Revert on Designing How to Set Yourself on Fire

Head editor, Michelle Dotter from Dzanc and I enjoy an easy working relationship. It’s always a pleasure working with her, so when I was given the opportunity to design the cover for How To Set Yourself On Fire by Julia Dixon Evans, I jumped at the chance. The book sounded fantastic and offered a lot of design opportunities. I don't tend to take titles too literally when approaching a book's design as it is often far too obvious, but when I first approached it I couldn't resist the evocative image of a burning book. As you'll see, an element of this idea survived to the final draft, but early on, I was far more overt.

Matthew Revert on Designing How to Set Yourself on Fire

Ambiguous Animation: Michael Salu Talks The Garbage Times/White Ibis

What do you do when a book cover design demands movement, dynamism, and mystery? If you are Soft Skull Press, you call designer Michael Salu, a writer himself, who approaches the uncanny with his kinetic designs. For Sam Pink’s The Garbage Times/White Ibis, a combination of two novellas, Salu filled a tall order by designing a cover that solicits curiosity both in motion and at rest.

Ambiguous Animation: Michael Salu Talks The Garbage Times/White Ibis

Zoe Norvell: Designing Book Covers On The Go

To be a great designer, I believe one must live an enriched life. Designers find inspiration everywhere we look—from famous museums to dusty junk shops to the colorful currencies of other countries. In order to express the world visually, it’s important to me to digest as much of it as possible. This is one of the many reasons why travel has always loomed large in my life. Going to a new city or a national park is a feast for my eyes and a shot of adrenaline to my creative muscles! Traveling forces me to look beyond my desk, beyond Pinterest or Tumblr, and go to straight to the source. 
After living in Brooklyn, NY for ten years, I packed up and moved out at the end of 2017. For the last four months I’ve been a “digital nomad,” living in and visiting eight countries in Central and South America: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia. In late December, I flew south with my MacbookPro, drawing tablet, notebook, a large bag, and a loose itinerary. During this time away, I upheld my usual work load—working on over 30 book covers.

Zoe Norvell: Designing Book Covers On The Go

Katie Everson on Designing Boy 87

A gripping, uplifting tale of one boy’s struggle for survival, Boy 87 echoes the stories of young people all over the world today.

Shif is an ordinary boy who likes chess, maths, and racing his best friend home from school.

But one day soldiers with guns come to his door, and he knows he’s no longer safe. He must leave his mother and younger sister, to embark on a dangerous journey. Separated from the people he loves, Shif will encounter new nations and strange voices, cruelty and kindness, imprisonment and escape, on a hazardous voyage by land and sea.

Katie Everson on Designing Boy 87

Emily Mahon on designing Sociable

Sociable is a hilarious novel of one young woman’s search for happiness and an inside look at life in the wild world of digital media. As I was reading this book, I couldn’t help but picture current open office space plans with hundreds of people on computers and limited personal space. Everyone inhabits their own little universe while on headphones, listening to podcasts and music. Yet within these workspaces there is a physical closeness that creates a communal world.

Emily Mahon on designing Sociable

Katya Mezhibovskaya on designing Here Is Real Magic

What happens when a magician, whose job is to elicit astonishment in others, loses his sense of wonder? Here is Real Magic is a book about celebrated professional magician, Nate Staniforth’s hero’s journey from fascination and success to disillusionment and searching and eventual rekindling of his connection with magic. After years of transforming audiences from rational, tax-paying adults into wide-eyed children, Staniforth was near burn out. He decided to seek out the source of his vocation and travel to India where magic is ever-present, acknowledged and revered.

Katya Mezhibovskaya on designing Here Is Real Magic

Words from the Weiss: Amanda Weiss Talks Cover Design, Part 2

I was recently approached by Katrina Noble, art director at the University of Washington Press, to work on an upcoming book cover called Woke Gaming: Digital Challenges to Oppression and Social Injustice. Edited by Kishonna L. Gray and David J. Leonard, Woke Gaming consists of essays exploring the ways gamers are using current technologies to challenge inequities within and beyond virtual reality. Not just focusing on #Gamergate and the common discussion of violence within video games, Woke Gaming discusses the future of gaming, identifying strategies for detoxing video game culture and turning it into a positive catalyst for social justice. The book discusses a broad range of social issues from gender dynamics and misogyny to racial and queer positions in gaming practices. 

Words from the Weiss: Amanda Weiss Talks Cover Design, Part 2

Shine On: Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein Shed Light on the Cover of M. Joy’s The Unnaturals

For designers Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein, a book’s insides should always dictate its cover design. Design begins from within, after all, in the guts of the thing. For the cover of M. Joy’s young adult dystopian novel The Unnaturals, new from inclusive indie publisher Wellington Square Media, Jordan and Goldstein got not only creative but downright kinetic with blue light, a driving a motif throughout the novel.

Shine On: Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein Shed Light on the Cover of M. Joy’s The Unnaturals

Jenna Stempel-Lobell, Collaborating with T.S. Abe & Billelis for Ibi Zoboi’s Pride

HarperCollins cover designer Jenna Stempel-Lobell looked to both old covers and modern art to create the cover for one of her latest projects, American Street author Ibi Zoboi’s second novel Pride, a novel “especially suited” to her “typical design process.” 

Jenna Stempel-Lobell, Collaborating with T.S. Abe & Billelis for  Ibi Zoboi’s Pride

Matt Broughton on Designing Dead Men’s Trousers

Dead Men’s Trousers is essentially the next chapter in the Trainspotting story, dragging our favourite characters into the Brexit era. Renton is the jaded manager of a number of Internationally acclaimed DJs. Sick-Boy, as usual, has his hands in whatever sordid deal he can find. Spud is still Spud. And bizarrely, Begbie has reinvented himself as a celebrated artist.

Each character has an agenda – the friends stalk each other, deceive each other, use each other, corrupt each other. It’s an often hilarious, painful, yet surprisingly moving ‘dance of death’. An idea that lead us to our cover – a re-enactment of Michael Wolgemut’s 1493 woodcut ‘Danse Macabre’. With added trousers.

Matt Broughton on Designing Dead Men’s Trousers

Cover Reveal! Disbanded Kingdom by Polis Loizou

We here at Spine are delighted to reveal the cover for Disbanded Kingdom. It is the first novel by Polis Loizou, co-founder of London's Off-Off-Off Broadway Company, published by Cloud Lodge Books. The stunning cover is courtesy of design studio LaBoca.

Cover Reveal! Disbanded Kingdom by Polis Loizou

Snap, Grackle, Pop: Nicole Caputo Talks Cover Design for The Gunners

On shelves now is the beautifully jacketed novel, Rebecca Kauffman’s The Gunners. The bold, minimalist font asserts itself without descending to typographical aggression. Two grackles grapple (or perhaps share) an earthworm beneath the title and author credits. The balance between graphic and white space hovers near perfection. And how, you might ask, does a designer create such a gorgeous cover? Simple. According to Nicole Caputo, all you need is love. For the story itself, that is.

Snap, Grackle, Pop: Nicole Caputo Talks Cover Design for The Gunners