Objects of Desire

Last August, I wrote enthusiastically about the experience of reading Niall Williams History of the Rain, and a second encounter with this book over Christmas made me particularly receptive to a tweet from Dan Franklin this lunchtime

Having read History of the Rain as an eBook in August, I had bought and had delivered direct (from you know who) the hardback as a Christmas gift to my mother. So the first time I actually saw a physical copy was in her house a couple of days ago. I was thrilled to discover that not only is this a great read, but the hardback cover is a work of design ingenuity that no photo can do justice to (all I can say is go and find one in a bookshop and you’ll see what I mean).

Also on twitter this morning I noticed tweets about increased print sales in 2014 (although I can’t recall from whom and unfortunately I don’t have the time to retrace). Substantiated evidence or not, I can’t help thinking that 2014 was the year that the book industry rediscovered its faith in print books as beautiful, desirable and saleable objects, and this is in no small part down to the endeavours of book and cover designers.

Last year I had a great experience of commissioning cover design, courtesy of Kristen Harrison and her colleagues at The Curved House, who created our cover template for the Newsweek Insights eBook imprint. And Newsweek Europe’s in house designer Jess Landon keeps coming up with better and better images to use within this template. Her covers for books on subjects as diverse as the civil war in Ukraine and lower league football are among my favourites:

The Radio 4 programme on book cover design is (at the time of posting) still available on the BBC web site. If you love books, and everything that goes into making and marketing them, you will find this 30 minutes well spent. The programme features Dan’s colleague Suzanne Dean, who has designed more Booker Prize winning covers than any other designer. And as I mentioned back on Twitter to Dan


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off