Tag Archives: bokomslag

Bokomslag: USA-UK

Jag tycker att det är roligt att jämföra bokomslag från olika länder till en och samma bok. Skillnaden beror naturligtvis på att olika formgivare gör sina personliga tolkningar av böckerna, så att säga, men jag tycker även att man (fortfarande) kan identifiera nationella stilar.

Det här är några amerikanska och brittiska omslag, + ett svenskt av Sara R. Acedo, från den senaste tiden, som jag tycker är intressanta för att konstrasterna mellan dem är ganska stora. Eller intressanta.

Jag tycker att fyra av de amerikanska omslagen och fyra av de brittiska omslagen är bäst. Jämnt skägg. Och jag tycker att Sara R. Acedos Gyasi-omslag står sig väldigt bra i konkurrensen med det som Peter Mendelsund respektive Nathan Burton designat.

Den största kontrasten tycker jag är den mellan omslagen till A Separation. Det ena associerar till eld och hetta, låt vara att vissa av eldslågorna är blå, medan det andra ger ett tydligt svalt och coolt intryck. Jag gillar båda, men tycker att de utlovar olika läsupplevelser.

Mest intressanta tycker jag att de två sista uppsättningen omslag är. De visar, tycker jag, hur svårt det är att bryta associationsmönster vad gäller länder (Ryssland) och världsdelar (Afrika) som vi uppfattar som annorlunda och exotiska.

Omslagen till The Patriot prickar nästan på ett komiskt vis in två standardbilder av det ryska. Å ena sidan en Dr. Zhivago-romantisk bild, å andra sidan en bild som direkt och förutsägbart associerar till Sovjeteran. Men omslaget blir ändå intressant, tycker jag, eftersom mannen och kvinnan på omslaget ser genuint lyckliga ut, kanske till och med lyckliga och fria. Det passar illa samman med vår vedertagna bild av livet i Sovjet.

Gyasi-omslagen visar hur svårt det är att göra omslag till böcker skrivna av afrikaner eller författare med afrikanska rötter, eller böcker som utspelar sig i Afrika, utan att välja färger som förväntas väcka associationer till den brännande hettan på den afrikanska savannen: gult, brunt, rött, orange. Någon slags etniska vibbar måste väckas. Det är ytterst sällsynt att en ”afrikansk” roman får ett rent typografiskt omslag.

Jag tycker mycket om Mendelsunds omslag, men jag tycker att Acedos omslag är mest visuellt intressant och originellt. Samtidigt ska ju, i alla fall oftast, omslag vara bärare av inform som gör att böckerna som de marknadsför, ofta på väldigt kort tid, ska kunna identifieras av de läsare som böckerna är ämnade för.

När jag delade blogginlägget på Facebook skrev Acedo en kommentar, som jag tycker är värd att citera eftersom den modifierar min, kanske lite romantiska, syn på hur produktionen av omslag går till: ”… att bli jämförd med Mendelsund! Tack för det! Jag känner mig hedrad. Sen så styrs omslagen, särskilt de med kommersiell potential, kanske inte lika mycket av formgivarns personliga tolkningar som av förlagens brief… även om det så klart inte fråntar oss vårt personliga ansvar för det vi gör.”

Ola Wihlke

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Filed under Artiklar, Bokomslag bilder och foto

Några av de bästa svenska bokomslagen 2016

Varje år gör vi listor med de bokomslag vi tycker är bäst. Med ett bra omslag menar vi, bland annat, ett omslag som står ut i mängden, triggar fantasin och väcker en reaktion: Känna. Bläddra. Låna. Köpa. Läsa. Ge bort. Det här är årets lista — sammanställning kanske är ett bättre uttryck — omslagen är inte rangordnade.

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Förlag: Tranan. Omslag: Håkan Liljemärker

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Förlag: Albert Bonniers. Omslag: Elina Grandin

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Förlag: Albert Bonniers. Omslag: Lotta Kühlhorn

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Förlag: Wahlström & Widstrand. Omslag: Annika Lyth

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Förlag: Modernista. Omslag: Lars Sundh

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Förlag: Modernista. Omslag: Lars Sundh

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Förlag: Albert Bonniers. Omslag: Nina Ulmaja

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Förlag: Natur & Kultur. Omslag: Sara R. Acedo

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Förlag: Tranan. Omslag: Håkan Liljemärker

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Förlag: Tranan. Omslag: Håkan Liljemärker

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Förlag: Tranan. Omslag: Håkan Liljemärker

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Förlag: Tranan. Omslag: Lars Sundh

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Förlag: Atlantis. Omslag: Annika Lyth

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Förlag: Modernista. Omslag: Lars Sundh

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Förlag: Modernista. Omslag: Lars Sundh

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Förlag: Natur & Kultur. Omslag: Håkan Liljemärker

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Förlag: Galago. Omslag: Sepidar Hosseini

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Förlag: Natur & Kultur. Omslag: Martin Farran-Lee

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Förlag: Norstedts. Omslag: Håkan Liljemärker

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Förlag: Norstedts. Omslag: Håkan Liljemärker

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Förlag: Norstedts. Omslag: Sara R. Acedo

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Förlag: Albert Bonniers. Omslag: Miroslav Sokcic

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Förlag: Norstedts. Omslag: Johan Petterson

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Förlag: Tranan. Omslag: My Hellsten

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Förlag: Albert Bonniers. Omslag: Nina Ulmaja

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Förlag: Wahlström & Widstrand. Omslag: Lotta Kühlhorn

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Förlag: Norstedts. Omslag: Kamilla Andersson

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Förlag: Weyler. Omslag: Terese Leiner/BLÆST

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Förlag: Weyler. Omslag: Rudolf Linn

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Förlag: Albert Bonniers. Omslag: Gueorgui Pinkhassov

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Förlag: Natur & Kultur. Omslag: Håkan Liljemärker

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Förlag: Albert Bonniers. Omslag: Annika Lyth

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Förlag: Albert Bonniers. Omslag: Johan Melbi

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Förlag: Albert Bonniers. Omslag: Johan Melbi

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Förlag: Atlas. Omslag: Lotta Kühlhorn

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Förlag: Modernista. Omslag: Lars Sundh. Foto: Martin Schoeller

Skriv gärna en kommentar och berätta vad du tycker. Vilka omslag missade vi?

Ola Wihlke

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Filed under Bokomslag bilder och foto, Listor

Brief interview: Jeff Clark + 20 of his covers

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(Wave Books)

We are not supposed to judge books by their covers, but I do whenever I see a book. If I have to choose between two similar books, I always go for the one with the most appealing cover. And if a cover is appealing enough, I might get the book without knowing much else about it. Jeff Clark, poet and graphic designer, makes covers that grabs my attention in this way – they make me want to hold the book and leaf through its pages. Some of them would be brilliant as posters.

Clark designs covers for several publishers, among them Farrar, Straus & Giroux, University of Minnesota Press, Wave Books and he design all the covers for Ahsahta Press. For this blog post I have selected 20 covers that Clark has designed for Wave Books and Ahsahta Press, two cool independent publishers specialized in poetry.

Juxtaposing covers made for these two publishers shows that Clark can move effortlessly between minimalism with beautiful type and more extravagant and colorful designs. Clark has, I think, contributed immensely to the visual identity of both Wave Books and Ahsahta Press. I had the opportunity to ask him a few brief questions.

You are a poet and you design covers mostly for poetry books. What’s the difference between designing covers for poetry books and, let’s say, academic studies from University of Minnesota Press?

– It turns out that—usually—I have more design autonomy when I work on a book for Minnesota than I do on the average poetry book. I think this has something to do with the fact that the average poet believes they have a good visual sense, so that when they submit their manuscript to the publisher, they will often submit their artwork ideas. In my experience, it’s not often that these design ideas are strong. A publisher like Minnesota, however, has a staff of design and production people who understand that all a designer needs are:
1) the manuscript
2) a general, non-restrictive design brief

Do you have a relatively large artistic freedom when you design for Wave Books and Ahsahta Press? Is your approach different when you design their respective covers?

– I do. Wave’s house style for book covers is black ink and type only, on uncoated, natural cover stock. Beyond that, I’m free to do anything.

– With Ahsahta I’m also fairly unfettered. Roughly half the time, though, manuscripts come to me with specific design/artwork ideas from authors. I need to either try and use them, or demonstrate by way of alternative concepts, why these directives aren’t worth exploring.

Could you please describe your work – how you work, the environment, if you listen to music – when it’s most fun and rewarding?

– Once my daughter is off to school, circa 7:00 a.m., I hit the decks. I work in the main room of my studio, and in the studio I’ve also built out rooms for photography and screenprinting, as well as a woodshop with a spray booth. Most of the art I use for book covers is made here. I listen to music when I’m typesetting pages, but not much when I’m trying to design.

– The work is most rewarding when I get to witness an author’s pleasure in my design—I live for that. It’s funnest when a client’s attitude is like: fuck everything we know about normative book design; just go for it. In those situations, I tend to work very minimally, or sometimes very messily.

– But where things get really fulfilling for me is when I’m designing for free for activist groups like RAW or Keep Ypsi Black or when I’m cutting stencils and spray painting signs for the street. My grounding is in the design of printed literary books, but it turns out that working with type for 20 years has really just been preparation for doing pro bono work for the people.

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Garments cover
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Forty-one Jane Doe's

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Filed under Bokomslag bilder och foto, Intervjuer

Alex Trochut – Penguin Galaxy Book Covers

ALL_FRONT_WHITE-1274x1200 (1)The world is overflowing with images that are competing for our attention. Nevertheless, sometimes you come across an image, in print or on screen, that feels truly exciting and fresh. The creative output of Alex Trochut, illustrator and graphic designer from Barcelona, is abundant with bold, striking and yet intricate images and type. His style is expressive, even flamboyant, yet controlled and clean.

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Toyota. Poster

A few years ago Trochut relocated to New York City, and his work is sought after. When he lists his work, music comes first. He has made album covers and gig posters for Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire, Four Tet, Vampire Weekend, Caribou among others. Editorials: New York Times, The Guardian and Creative Review. Advertising: Absolut, Converse and Adidas. Fashion: Camper, Patagonia and Ecko Enterprises.

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Arcade Fire. Gig Poster

Trochut has also written a book, with a design invisible during daylight, aptly titled, More Is More. And he recently designed six hardcover science fiction and fantasy classics, published by Penguin US as a series last fall. These typographic covers are mesmerizing and they reveal, I think, something essential about Trochut’s aesthetics. I had the opportunity to ask him a few brief questions.

How would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen it before?

– I love to play with the fine line between abstract and figurative. Letters are often my sweet spot.

You seem to have a Spanish side, a little bit of Salvador Dali, and an American side, a little bit of Saul Bass for instance. Could you please tell us a little bit about your background and how your work has developed?

– I started to work as a graphic designer around 2003, since then I’ve always loved to dive into styles, let those carry the idea throughout. I don’t have a particular method when i work, i look forward to get lost into the process, i believe it is in that state you start figuring things out and create something interesting.

 

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What are the main themes of More Is More?

More is more is a monograph book that compiles the work done from 2003 to 2011. Dani Navarro was the one who came up with the idea, and together we divided the book in 3 parts: Inspiration, Gallery of works, and Process.

Binary Prints is a truly fascinating project. Please tell us a little bit about it.

– Following the publication of More is More, I became interested in the duality that could be represented in one two-dimensional work on paper. After some experimentation I came out with a process through which two completely separate images could be shown on one surface – one which appears in light, and one which appears only in the dark.

– What followed was a collaboration with some of the premiere electronic musicians of our time. I contacted James Murphy, Caribou, Four Tet, Damian Lazarus, Acid Pauli, John Talabot, Lucy and others to create a series of portraits that explore the people behind the music. Discussing themes of both visual and auditory natures.

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Sufjan Stevens. Gig Poster

I get the impression that you really enjoy creating intricate type, almost like a graffiti writer. What makes type so fascinating?

– Text is malleable matter in constant change, always adapting to time and places. I find it fascinating that you can communicate so much just with form, without even reading the text. letter design is like non-verbal communication.

Please tell us about the Penguin Galaxy Series. It would be brilliant if you could say something both about details and the main ideas.

– The brief consisted on a strictly typographical approach, creating a consistent style throughout the whole series, from the shortest title Dune to the longest The Left Hand of Darkness. Although this wasn’t a system per se, it demanded that decisions were not made on a full custom context on each book, but thinking of them as a series.

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Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

– The concept is based on the crash of perceptions based on behaviors, traditions, religions etc. that the book expresses in the differences between Mars and Earth. The words “Stranger in a” appear facing an opposite direction as “Strange Land”, confronting the subject and the context.

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Neuromancer by William Gibson

– William Gibson created the concept of “Cyberpunk”. The future that Neuromancer pictures isn’t clean or sleek, its low key and obscure, mutated into a hybridization of all kinds. The glitch aesthetics is a good way to capture this mix between human and machine, physical and digital, humanizing the machines and mechanizing humans. Making a hybrid of both. The typography has a technology nostalgia approach using the colors of an old screen.

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The Left Hand of Darkness
 by Ursula K. Le Guin

– Focused on Gethen (the frozen planet) and its androgynous society, these letters are duplicated and transparent, inducing to interpret as ice and the duplication of the same type of gender. On the back-cover we see the androgynous symbol.

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2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

– 2001: A Space Odyssey is a timeless enigma that raises questions that escape the human comprehension, therefore the front cover plays with the idea of the reader solving a game. The back-cover teases the reader even more to decipher an impossible group of modular pieces that belong to the front cover. This lettering forces the reader to solve a 2 seconds solving game, who needs to turn around the cover 90 degrees in order to read it. VVideo of sketch

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Dune by Frank Herbert

– An intricate political story of emperors, dukes and barons. Futuristic but with the same ingredients of a medieval epic story. The lettering has a hint of Egyptian jewelry designs inspired by the desert. Dune is, as a word, a quite special puzzling structure of letters that allow to read 4 different characters by simply rotating 90 degrees the “D” shape. I thought this logo, in some way, speaks of the strategic nature of Arrakis, a planet where different parts intersect from different points of view and interests. This design is going to be used in the back-cover. Video of sketch.

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The Once and Future King by T. H. White
– Following up with the line style, this book cover is the result of merging the line style of the collection with a medieval style lettering. The icon of the sword is on the back, appearing half of it hidden, referencing the sword in the stone.

Alex Trochut always listens to music while working. These are two of his playlists: 1 & 2.

Ola Wihlke

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Filed under Bokomslag bilder och foto, Intervjuer, Recensioner

Varje omslag till Lars Noréns ”Stoft” är unikt

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Nina Ulmaja arbetar som formgivare och designansvarig på Albert Bonniers förlag (läs intervju). Hon har formgivit rader av böcker av Lars Norén, omslagen har hållt väl samman i vitt, grått och svart. Böckerna är estetiska objekt i sig. Formgivningen av dem tillhör också Ulmajas mest kända och prisade.

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Men när Ulmaja skulle formge Lars Noréns Stoft, hans första diktsamling sedan Hjärta i hjärta (1980), tänkte hon nytt. Vi bad Ulmaja berätta helt kort om tankarna och tekniken bakom det nya omslaget.

– Som alltid med Lars Norén så utgår böckerna från honom och formen hittar jag efter läsning och samtal med Lars. Den här gången var det han som ville göra en bok med guld på något sätt. Jag läste, och tänkte på lättflyktigt guldstoft som jag ville skulle landa lite slumpartat på omslaget. Kände till iristryck sedan tidigare och tänkte att det nog är en omöjlig idé att genomföra, men Aare screen möjliggjorde att guldstoftet fick landa slumpartat där det landade på varje omslag. Det var också helt rätt att frångå det svartvitgrå då det här skulle vara en markering av något annat. Lars Noréns återkomst till poesin efter nästan 40 år.

Ett varmt tack till Nina Ulmaja som dessutom bifogade en kort filmsekvens från Aare screen, som visar hur man får den slumpvisa effekten.

   

Ola Wihlke

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Filed under Bokomslag bilder och foto, Notiser

Interview: Emily Mahon on designing book covers

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Doubleday, Illustration: Rizon Parein

 
I have made interviews with several great Swedish and American graphic designers specialized in book covers. I have asked them rather similar questions, but the answers have varied considerably. This suggests, I think, that designing book covers is a craft. You can learn how to create great and captivating covers, but above all you have to make covers, over and over again. The final covers that we get to see, are only a fraction of those that are made.

I had the privilege to ask graphic designer Emily Mahon a few questions. She has worked for some of the most well known American publishers, and she has made covers for books of literary fiction as well as for books of non-fiction, contemporary as well as classics. She has made several stunning covers; one of my favorites is the cover she has made for Heidi Julavits The Vanishers. Further below you can see both the final cover, lush and irresistible, as well as two killed covers.

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Doubleday. Photo: Mike Lambert

 
Could you please tell us a little about your background and how and why you became a designer of book covers?

I studied Graphic Design at Penn State University. I needed to apply for the program which only accepted 22 students a year; it’s a very small program in a school of over 35 thousand students. After graduating, I focused on landing a job at a book publishing house in New York. To me, designing book covers is the most creative job I could have. Every book tells a different story, and reading has become a crucial part of my life. And I love that each cover is like a poster—there are no guidelines in terms of imagery or type that I use—it’s all based on what feels right for the audience.

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Doubleday. Tactile Typography: Dominique Falla

 
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Vintage. AD: John Gall, Photo: Holly Lindem

 
What purposes are book covers supposed to fill?

Designing covers is not about making art. We need to sell books at the end of the day. Covers should market a specific audience for every book and they should give enough of a visual impact needed to inspire someone to pick up the book and read it!

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Random House, Photo: Bob Croslin

 

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Penguin. AD: Paul Buckley, Photo: Rich Evenhouse

 
How would you describe your style(es)?

I try never to have a style. I always try new approaches to how I look at a problem and to how I design. The content should dictate the style. It’s hard to stay fresh and current all the time but I think it’s important not to try and emulate trends, and stay true to the content.

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Doubleday. Photo: Andrew Purcell

 
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Doubleday

 
Do you have a philosophy, rules of thumb or rituals that you follow during the creative process? Please tell us a little bit about the creative process.

As I’m reading a book, I usually jot down visuals or notes from the text that could help in defining the direction the cover will take. I usually make lists and sketch ideas before every turning to the computer to guide me. Sometimes I find it helpful to go to museums or look through magazines or books as I brainstorm, and I try to find inspiration in looking at other current book covers. There is so much great work out there, and seeing recent book covers inspires me to keep pushing my work and make myself a better designer.

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Flatiron Books. Killed

 
Can you please tell us a little bit about the cover you made for The Guineveres and explain how it came about and how you intended it to work?

Well, as of this moment, the cover has been killed! This happens all the time, albeit a bit disappointing. I loved this novel and tried several different iterations before coming to this solution. The book takes place in the 1950s in a convent where four girls named Guinevere have been abandoned to be raised by nuns. I wanted to set this cover apart from what’s out there and felt that because the catholic theme was so strong, showing the cross in an abstract kind of way made for an interesting visual.

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Killed version

 

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Killed version

 
I’m also very fond of the cover you made for Heidi Julavits The Vanishers. Do you have any shelved versions of it, that we might take a look at?

This cover started in a very different place from the final version. Initially I took an interest in photographing the Barcelona chair, and projecting the title on it to create a dimensional feel.

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Doubleday. Final version

 
After many iterations of this cover the author decided she wanted to focus on more of a feeling rather than a depiction of the story. I decided it would be fun and energetic to work on a layered floral collage, that better represented the multi-layered emotional impact of the novel. It was really fun to create this cover. I originally preferred the type knocking out in white from the art, but the publisher felt that using a color would have more impact so that’s how the final cover was printed.

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AD: Emily Mahon. Design: Ben Wiseman

 
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 Nan A Talese/Doubleday, Photo of cut paper lettering: Geoff Spear

 
What are your favorite graphic designers, specialized in book covers, and why?

Gabriele Wilson, Keith Hayes, Kelly Blair, Peter Mendelsund, Oliver Munday… the list goes on! They are all extraordinarily creative and ambitious with their approaches and I’m very lucky to work around such talent in my office in the Knopf Doubleday Art Department every day.

If you have cravings for more beautiful covers, visit Emily Mahon’s homepage. Don’t miss the designs she has made for The Modern Library Classics.

Ola Wihlke

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Filed under Bokomslag bilder och foto, Intervjuer

Bokomslag: USA vs. England

 

Grief is the Thing With Feathers (Greywolf Press + Faber & Faber)

10:04 (Picador + Granta Books)

Fated and Furies (Riverhead Books + William Heinemann)

Dept. of Speculation (Knopf + Granta Books)

NW (Penguin Press + Hamish Hamilton)

The Pale King ( Little, Brown & Company + Viking UK)

Book of Numbers (Random House + Harvill Secker)

Complete Stories (New Directions + Penguin Classics)

The Wallcreeper (Dorothy, a publishing project + 4th Estate)

Mislaid (Harper Collins + 4th Estate)

Jag tycker att det är ganska lätt att urskilja nationella särdrag när det gäller bokomslag. Exempelvis omslag från typografiskt starka länder som Schweiz och Holland, eller ganska konservativa omslag från Frankrike och Spanien, där man ofta låter omslagen i högre utsträckning vara bärare av förlagets identitet. Trots att nationsgränserna spelar en allt mindre roll, åtminstone när det gäller kulturell konsumtion, upprätthålls nationella identiteter som påverkar hur bokomslagen ser ut.

Men när jag tittar på de här omslagen är jag inte lika tvärsäker på att jag skulle kunna identifiera särskilt många amerikanska respektive brittiska. De amerikanska omslagen har ju haft rykte om sig att vara färgglada eller grälla, ostentativa, och för att omslagets hela yta utnyttjas maximalt.

Brittiska omslag har i motsvarande grad ansetts mer nedtonade och sobra, och det kan finnas rester kvar av de här traditionerna, men jag tycker att den här synen till ganska stora delar är föråldrad. När jag gjorde det här blogginlägget försökte jag komma på ett omslag jag tyckte om, och så sökte jag reda på motsvarande amerikanska eller brittiska omslag. Det är kul att se hur grafiska formgivare gör sina tolkningar av en bok och ofta kommer fram till mycket olika lösningar.

Ola Wihlke

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Filed under Bokomslag bilder och foto