Welcome to February, a little late once again, but luckily this colourful round-up is, we reckon, worth the wait. I was asked recently about the book-design trends to look out for in 2018, and two that I mentioned were an increasing tendency to use ‘analogue’ methods (drawing, collaging, painting, linocutting etc) as a reaction to an increasingly slick, high-definition digital world. There’s plenty of it in evidence here, from the alluring oiliness of the artwork for Tom Rachman’s The Italian Teacher (unfortunately uncredited at this writing), through Luke Bird’s rough-edged illustration on Oneworld’s book Weird Maths, onto Suzanne Dean’s scrawl on Julian Barnes’ new jacket. (Ms Dean also leads the way this month, with three designs featured here.)
Another trend I pointed to was an increasing tendency for stark and direct typography, almost in the vein of protest posters. No prizes for guessing why that may have gained traction since the Brexit vote and Mr Trump's election. It may have started in publishing with the billboard-ish cover for The Good Immigrant or the gasp/laugh-inducingly brilliant I Love Dick, but it certainly took root late last year with the success of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – all three are titles from a marginalised and discriminated-against perspective; in effect, protest books. Pleasingly Atlantic has backed me up on this (Anna Morrison and Richard Evans, cheque's in the post...) this month with its cover for Jo Swindon’s Equal Power, and in January we had Anything but Mexican by Rodolfo F Acuna, in similar vein. Another, rather more glowing type trend continues too: that of neon-tube lettering. Two instances here; Dan Mogford’s for a Verso issue of a Tariq Ali book is among them.
We’re hoping to be on track for the rest of the year now so keep your blinkers peeled for March, when our friends over at ABCD will be hosting their annual awards for cover design on the 15th. Do check them out and get along to the evening if you can and, as ever, let us know your favourites from February's tranche.
First up we have Directorate S by Steve Coll, which was designed by Tom Etherington for Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books. It’s alongside Beat Sterchi’s The Cow, published by Head of Zeus list Apollo, and designed by Daniel Benneworth-Gray. Incidentally Daniel is the architect of an always interesting weekly newsletter about all things design, Meanwhile, which comes highly recommended.
Next up is Anna Morrison’s cover design for Atlantic Books publication Equal Power, written by Jo Swinson. This one was art-directed by Richard Evans. It’s next to Folk by Zoe Gilbert, designed by David Mann using illustration from Shutterstock. It’s published by Bloomsbury.
A Suzanne Dean one-two is next up: both are Jonathan Cape publications, both were designed by Dean, and they are titled The Largesse of the Sea Maiden and The Only Story. The former was written by Denis Johnson, the latter by Julian Barnes. Incidentally, if you have a spare £175 burning a hole in your pocket you can purchase a quarter-bound London Review Bookshop collector’s edition of The Only Story, which looks very nice indeed. The full-leather-bound limited-edition signed-and-numbered version (£375) has sold out, so if you were to settle for the £175 edition, you’re basically £200 up.
Helen Crawford-White’s design for Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni (Chicken House) had echoes of another Dean design, we reckoned, in the shape of Bluets and its sister, The Red Parts. It’s pictured on the left of Michael Chabon’s The Escapist, published by Dark Horse, and designed by someone we have as yet been unable to identify. Answers on a postcard, please.
We were, however, able to identify the designers of two Granta Books: Dans Stiles (left) and Mogford (right) created The Earlie King & The Kid in Yellow by Danny Denton and The Minister and the Murderer by Stuart Kelly respectively. Stiles also illustrated the former.
Richard Bravery designed the livery for The Adulterants by Joe Dunthorne, which is published by Hamish Hamilton, while Rachel Vale art-directed the illustrator Aitch to rejacket Frances Hardinge’s Fly by Night - and some of her other backlist titles, too. That’s published by Macmillan Children’s Books.
Mildreds Vegan Cookbook by Dan Acevedo (apostrophe tbc) was designed by Grade Design Consultants under the tutelage of art director Yasia Williams-Leedham, and the book is being brought into the world by Mitchell Beasley. Nosy Crow’s Nicola Theobald designed The Phantom Lollipop Man! by Pamela Butchart, which was illustrated by Thomas Flintham.
Luke Bird designed Weird Maths by David Darling and Agnijo Banerjee (Oneworld), with the art direction coming from James Jones. And Jim Stoddart designed Penguin release Calling a Wolf a Wolf, written by Kaveh Akbar.
A second Penguin, The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry, was designed by Matthew Young using photography by Ralph Eugene, while Justine Anweiler created the cover for I Love You Too Much by Alicia Drake for Picador.
The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman is published by riverrun and, as yet, we have been unable to ID the designer in question. As before, do let us know if you know. Juliette Forrest’s Twister (Scholastic) was designed by Sean Williams using illustration by Alexis Snell.
Ruby Tandoh’s Eat Up! was illustrated by another Ruby, Ruby Taylor, and published by Serpent’s Tail. The design and art direction was from Peter Dyer. And another mention for Dan Mogford, who designed The Extreme Centre by Tariq Ali. That is published by Verso.
A couple of Vintage inclusions next, and another nod to Suzanne Dean, who worked with illustrator Noma Bar on the artwork for Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and other titles in similar livery. Oliver Hibbert illustrated Go Ask Alice, the anonymously penned Vintage Children’s Classics series title; the series was curated by Kris Potter.
Young, Gifted and Black by Jamia Wilson (Wide Eyed Editions) was illustrated by Andrea Pippins and edited by Katy Flint and art-directed by Karissa Santos. And Tim Walker’s Smoke over Malibu, published by Windmill Books, was designed by Glenn O'Neill.
Lastly we have an optically acrobatic Peter Mendelsund cover for David Salle’s How to See (W W Norton), alongside a Yale University Press/Pevsner series design that caught our eye: Houses by Charles O’Brien is joined by other architectural guides (Churches, etc), although as of yet we’ve been unable to identify the designer in question.
Until next time…