We welcome you to another in our ongoing feature in which notable book cover designer Jordan Wannemacher periodically highlights a selection of recent university press cover designs. Please enjoy this celebration of amazing work.
This list is in no particular order. Credits are listed below.
If you are a book cover creative and want your work or the work of your department reviewed by Jordan be sure to get in touch with us!
As with any cover design we feature in our publications, we encourage you to head to your local library and/or bookstore to view the work in its full splendor when possible.
University Press of Colorado/Weatherspoon Art Museum
Designer: Thomas Eykemans
This painting (All Fur III by Natalie Frank) used for this cover made me physically gasp. It is so eery and perfect for this subject. It is truly an amazing piece of fine art and a perfect choice. I also love the very German ampersand, a thoughtful pairing for this subject matter. As a German-American, I can attest we make the most anxious fairy tales! I've been a fan of Thomas' work since he was at U Washington Press so was pleased to see him giving sprinkling his beautiful aesthetic touch all over the UP-verse.
University Press of Kentucky
Art Direction and Design: Hayward Wilkirson
The different textures in this design add so much to this cover. I love the visual of a split cover, showing how much can lie beneath the surface, a perfect symbol for a historical archeology text. I love when great UP design is a nod to the subject matter in a way that is both visually interesting and intellectually accurate. This subject was probably a tough one to illustrate so a textured conceptual design was the perfect way to go.
Stanford University Press
Art Director: Rob Ehle
Designer: David Drummond
These colors are SO vibrant and come together perfectly to illustrate this topic without stereotype or improper specificity. I love how the use of color and shape, the most basica design elements, become symbols for the many different races, genders, and ethnicities who are subjected to human trafficking. A perfect marriage of content and aesthetics.
Ohio State University Press
Art Director: Juliet Williams
Designer: Susan Zucker
At one of my previous jobs, we used to joke that people love requesting "maps, globes, hands, and brains" on academic covers so we tried to avoid all of the above when we could to try to keep things fresh. That being said, Susan and the author approached this concept in a really fresh and visually interesting way that is a perfect visual translation of the content of this book. I also love this muted tone of yellow, it's unexpected but works nicely to make this simple color palette pop.
University of Minnesota Press
Art Director: Daniel Ochsner
Designer: Anders Hanson
I am a sucker for thoughtful vintage-style designs! The hop vectors on here perfectly frame a gorgeous type treatment and typeface combination. The designer clearly has a masterful grasp of typography as well as a thoughtful and well-researched homage to the visual practices at the turn of the century when brewing practices really erupted in America. My favorite UP designs are when the designer's knowledge of graphic design history shines through to match the subject matter in a way that feels fresh and contemporary.
University of North Carolina Press
Designer: Kim Bryant
As someone who has designed MANY religion books (it was my unofficial specialty when I worked in-house at a University Press), I know firsthand how difficult it can be to design them without looking stale or repetitive or resorting to cliches. The artwork for this is absolutely stunning and pairs well with the simple type (it's an informal series design so the others in the series feature the same versatile type treatment). The designer provided this interesting bit about the painting: "At its center is a receding repetition of haʾ (the Arabic letter “h”), framed by angular and wavy elements. Haʾ elides with huwa (the pronoun “he”); when written alone, haʾ/huwa connotes Allah as its inner meaning."(Mohamed Melehi [Haʾ 2, 1984])
Northwestern University Press
Art Director: Anne Gendler
Designer: Greta Polo
This book has an irresistibly lovely color palette. I love the subtle blending of peach oranges and Turkish blues creates a perfect atmosphere that really tells the reader the mood of the novel they're about to read. The building illustration creates a nice texture and the harsh angles that really gives this cover depth and dynamism. Thet type is so well integrated into these angles and textures. I want to see this one in person!
McGill-Queen's University Press
Art Director: Elena Goranescu
Designer: David Drummond
I promise it wasn't intentional to include David Drummond twice on this list, I chose both covers independent of the other before asking for the designer credit, but it's no surprise since David is truly a master of academic design. He was one of the first designers in the UP field that I could name and identify for his strong concept-driven designs and beautiful image-making. It's hard to talk about great UP design without bowing to him for dominating the field and inspiring many of the visual trends in UP design over the past 20+ years. This cover is so vibrant and gorgeous! In the digital age where we see books more on #bookstagram than in book stores, this one jumped off my timeline and caused me to zoom and scroll in to look at all the lovely details of this cover. Bravo David!
Jordan Wannemacher is a book designer based in the NYC area. She was born and art school educated in the Southeast at the Savannah College of Art and Design where she focused on graphic design and creative writing. Currently, she is running Studio Jordan Wannemacher, a boutique book design studio based out of her home in Montclair, New Jersey.