University Press Cover Round-Up

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.


Penn State University Press

Designer: Regina Starace

Art Director: Jennifer Norton

I first saw the full package of this book on Regina's instagram when the samples came in and my jaw literally dropped at how beautiful this is. The entire package, from the cover design, the die-cut, tied together with the printed case, not to mention the beautiful endpapers, is just stunning. It's so refreshing to see a package so carefully considered and coordinated. This is a book that you proudly keep and display on your shelves!


University of California Press

Designer/Art Director: Lia Tjandra

I love the anatomical and scientific approach the designer took to this cover. I've been reading a lot about the future of beef and the artificial meat industry (e.g. Impossible Burger) in the context of climate change and it's truly a fascinating topic. This cover perfectly illustrates these discussions since there is really so much science and engineering involved in thinking about our future with meat. I'm also a sucker for condensed sans serifs!


John Hopkins University Press

Designer: Kathleen Lynch/Black Kat Design

Art Director: Martha Sewall

This is such a lovely image choice, and as someone who has seen countless images of Gertrude Stein (through research when I designed a volume of her letters years ago), this is such a unique expression for her. I love the choice of the pointillist typeface pairing, it gives the often used Neutraface a fresh twist.

Cornell University Press

Designer: Phil Pascuzzo

Art Director: Scott Levine

Full Disclosure: Phill Pascuzzo is one of my all-time favorite book designers. I can confidently say I've never seen a cover of his that I didn't immediately love. He has such a unique range, from conceptual to illustrative, and has a perfect handle on spacial relationships and typography. This cover displays all of these strengths, paired with a mastery of visual economy and command of negative space for a result that is just stunning.


University of Nebraska Press

Designer/Art Director: Nathan Putens

One of the biggest challenges academic designers face is having to incorporate So. Much. Copy. The subtitles are long, the blurbs are numerous and lengthy, and authors/editors/marketing teams are always wanting to add one more tagline or blurb to the cover. It can be so challenging to incorporate all of this in a way that is clear, doesn't appear crowded, and at the same time, aesthetically pleasing. Nathan truly nailed all of the above on this one. Not only is this a very clever "all-type" design using punctuation as a design element, but he also managed to fit all of those contributors on the cover in a way that doesn't feel crowded.

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The University of Chicago Press

Designer: Brian Chartier

Art Director: Jill Shimabukuro

Hmmm I'm noticing a pattern! I didn't intentionally choose so many covers in the same color palette but it seems black, red, and cream are popular this season. I love how Americana this cover feels! All of the type choices are so carefully arranged and are culturally and historically a perfect fit for this subject matter. I love how the textures an negative space interact for a suggestion of a guitar to maintain a bold, graphic, abstracted look.


MIT Press

Designer: Alex Camlin

Art Director: Erin Hasley

Alex Camlin always does such an amazing job of creating dynamic all-type covers that somehow feel like they're moving off the page and this is a perfect example of that! Between the subtle manipulation of the typography and the choice of yellow, this color vibrates with electricity.


West Virginia University Press

Designer/Art Director: Than Saffel

On the same note of successful all-type covers, I love how Than combines vectors and type. I've featured his work successfully showing off these same elements before. I would love to watch a live video of his process of how he decides to piece all these various parts together in a way that is so perfectly balanced. Like great vintage-style designs, he always does such a fantastic job of combining different typefaces to make something so harmonious. I also think the more subdued color palette for this helps marry all of these different elements.


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.

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