Design

The Covers of Devangana Dash: a Delightful Blend of Graphic Design and Deeply Human Illustration

New Delhi-based visual artist and designer Devangana Dash knows daring color and deviant lines. Just look at her covers for works like Goodbye, Freddie Mercury, Auroville, and Heart: A History, and you will find that oft-coveted balance between crisp, modern design and the gorgeous singularity of the human hand. Dash works as an in-house book designer for Penguin Random House India, where a constant influx of creative projects requires her to design, illustrate, and correspond with clients daily. 

The Covers of Devangana Dash: a Delightful Blend of Graphic Design and Deeply Human Illustration

A Look at Interior Book Design with Jordan Wannemacher

We all know that cover design matters, but the visual elements of a book don’t stop at the jacket. Interior book design involves an artistic and logistical eye, a mind for both page layout as well as the music of the prose. Enter Jordan Wannemacher, a book designer who has taken her zeal for cover design straight to the pages themselves in her work for the interior of David J. Helfand’s A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age.

A Look at Interior Book Design with Jordan Wannemacher

The Illustrator's Practice: M. S. Corley

M.S. Corley designs, illustrates, and dabbles in all stories dark. Along with his friends Nashotobi and Alejandro Mirabal, Corley recently founded Hollow Owl, a small press comic book company with a penchant for the creepy. We recently squared up with Corley to learn more about his life as an illustrator, graphic designer, comic book purveyor, and patron of pancake art.

The Illustrator's Practice: M. S. Corley

Spine Podcast, Episode 6: Alissa Dinallo

For the final episode of Spine Season 1 we speak with Australian Book Cover Designer, Alissa Dinallo. Alissa has won many design awards including The Australian Book Design Association (ABDA) Award for Young Designer of the Year in 2015. Alissa discusses with us the catalog she created for ABDA, her illustration technique, and her lifelong love for William Morris.

Spine Podcast, Episode 6: Alissa Dinallo

Our Other Whitman: The Subversive Minimalism of a Boston Renaissance Woman

The spare, often floral, book cover designs of 19th Century Boston artist Sarah Wyman Whitman might conjure memories of piles of forgotten books at garage and estate sales. Think thin gold lettering on quiet green cloth. Think precious leaves and hearts. In a bookstore today, where slick, pyrotechnic covers compete for buyers’ attention, you might overlook Whitman’s designs for their antiquated simplicity. And you might regret it. Whitman, whose artistic career and social influence made her one of Boston’s most prolific and intriguing artists, may easily be considered the mother of modern book cover design. At a time when cover design was dominated by ornate flourish and, well, men, she ushered in a new minimalism that continues to speak for itself.

Our Other Whitman: The Subversive Minimalism of a Boston Renaissance Woman

Spine Podcast, Episode 2: Anne Jordan & Mitch Goldstein

For this episode we talk to Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein, cover designers for such titles as Humankind by Timothy Morton and Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez. The couple are also responsible for many incredible book covers for academic publishers. Their award winning designs have been highlighted by AIGA and Design Observer, as well as Print Magazine.

Spine Podcast, Episode 2: Anne Jordan & Mitch Goldstein

Some Things Covered: What Fight?

One morning Eric Wilder sent me an email at 9:00 am. He asked if I had seen a new Guardian article about UK book cover design. Did I mention it was at 9:00 am? I'm not a rational person at 9:00 am, so I knew he had to be serious.

He sent the article, but I was mystified by his urgency, till I read the thing. It was extremely familiar. Some version of this article comes around every so often. To make a long story short, it claimed UK cover design was the envy of the world, and had always been better than US design. And Eric wanted me to pen a rebuttal. I read the piece and sent him my response. I wasn’t interested in getting in the middle of the old rehashed nationalistic argument.

Some Things Covered: What Fight?

Designer Lisa Horton Talks Process for Flight of a Starling

Lisa Horton is a London-based designer and illustrator. Horton was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule and answer a few questions about her life as a freelancer, and share her creative process behind the cover design of Lisa Heathfield’s young-adult novel, Flight of a Starling

Designer Lisa Horton Talks Process for Flight of a Starling

Ask Polly's Heather Havrilesky Gives Us Creative Advice

Men avoiding you? Getting axed by your employer? Married friends driving you crazy? Polly has the advice you need! Rather, Heather Havrilesky does. Offering insightful help for readers since 2001, Havrilesky currently writes her popular column Ask Polly for New York Magazine. Her book based on the column, How to Be a Person in the World, will be available in paperback Later this month. Havrilesky spoke with Spine about the book, her long and varied history as a writer, and gave us advice for surviving a career as an artist.

Ask Polly's Heather Havrilesky Gives Us Creative Advice

Q & A with Designer Aurora Parlagreco

"I think children's books are special because they often communicate big, complicated ideas in the simplest way. The challenge in designing covers for these books is similar in that you want to create something relatable but also aspirational; something that is age-appropriate but also speaks to who readers want to be. I love being able to create covers for a range of ages and genres because I have the opportunity to work with many different artists and there is always room for experimentation."

Q & A with Designer Aurora Parlagreco

Catherine Casalino, Designing an Unmistakable Cover

The most enjoyable part of cover design for me is coming up with something concrete and visual to illustrate an idea. If the idea is straightforward, the solution is usually pretty simple— if you want to say "love" in a visual way, you draw a heart— but when the idea is complex, like the idea behind Unmistakable (Portfolio Penguin 2016), you need an image that hits several notes at once.

Catherine Casalino, Designing an Unmistakable Cover

Erin Fitzsimmons on Replica, Process & Typography

"While in school I had dreams of being an artist or a photographer, but I didn’t quite have the skill or talent to make those dreams a reality. I did love photo editing, however, and my first couple jobs out of school involved photo editing and research. One day, my art director asked if I wanted to try designing a book cover and I figured I’d give it a try. I was instantly hooked.'

Erin Fitzsimmons on Replica, Process & Typography

Interview with Designer Sarah J. Coleman

"I drew and drew as a little girl and have never stopped - at school I would trade little drawings of pretty ladies for 50p pieces, or sweets, and then would sew or paint different logos onto people’s bags and jackets in exchange for cassette tapes or coins, so the art of commerce (or the commerce of art) was installed in me early on!"

Interview with Designer Sarah J. Coleman

Jo Thomson on The Wonder

"Designing the cover for The Wonder was a slightly daunting prospect. To begin with I received the brief just as Emma’s best-selling novel Room hit the cinemas, raising hopes ever higher for her newest book. In addition the hardback cover of her previous book, Frog Music designed by Katie Tooke and illustrated by Emma Farrarons, is one of my personal favourites.

So no pressure then…"

Jo Thomson on The Wonder

Justine Anweiler, We'll Always Have Paris, and A Manual For Cleaning Women

"I tend to think I’m more of a curator and that the true talent of many of my favourite covers (both one’s I’ve been involved in and one’s that I admire) lie in the hand of the illustrator behind it. As a visual consumer I prefer to feel the human that created the work of art and I apply this to the covers I create. Although I love slick traditional Swiss type that’s adhering to the strictest of grids, I much prefer an opinion confidently expressed through imperfect mark making."

Justine Anweiler, We'll Always Have Paris, and A Manual For Cleaning Women