With the publishing sector’s big guns mostly rolled out to capture some pre-Christmas hype, November is something of a quieter month in terms of notable book cover design. Not that there aren’t some highlights: there are a couple of excellently jacketed books from Penguin (authored by Nina Stibbe and Penelope Lively, yet sadly uncredited at the time of publication), a striking cover from newcomer Route Publishing for a Manchester music memoir, and some beautiful illustration on show from Romanian draughtsman Aitch for Two Roads, and its The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night.
In terms of the fabric of this month’s preview, there are two titles apiece for publishers 4th Estate, Bloomsbury, Faber, Penguin and Vintage, with the individual credits led by Jo Walker, Head of Zeus art director Jessie Price and, perhaps in a first for us, an illustrator: James Nunn. Each of them are responsible for two of the cover designs featured below.
Looking ahead, December is something of a sparse month for new publications, so we’ll likely mix it up and do a best-of for this year. We would love to hear your favourite covers of this year, as well as your ideas and suggestions for the column for 2018 and beyond, and, as ever, you can share your favourite picks from this month through our Instagram page, where these will be uploaded throughout the month.
First up we have two 4th Estate issues, designed by Jonathan Pelham (left) and Jo Walker (right). The titles in question are Dava Sobel’s The Glass Universe and Marcel Proust’s Letters to the Lady Upstairs.
Two indie lists, next: And Other Stories, which you may recall launched with a string of distinctive letterpress covers, is to publish Worlds From the Word’s End by Joanna Walsh. It was art-directed by Tara Tobler, and designed and illustrated by Roman Muradov. Next to it is Head of Zeus imprint Apollo’s design for Brian Moore’s Black Robe, which was designed by HoZ’s Matt Bray using illustration by John Clementson. The series' look was instigated by the publisher's art director Jessie Price.
How to Love Brutalism by John Grindrod has been moved back to April 2018 by publisher Batsford, we found when we enquired about the credits. (The publisher says it is in search of the perfect foiling option—polished concrete, perhaps?) The cover was designed by Ana Teodoro. It’s next to the first of two Bloomsbury titles, Jesmyn Ward’s Sing Unburied, Sing, which was designed by David Mann.
A second Bloomsbury title, Eliza Robertson’s DemiGods, was a buy-in from the US; the cover was created by Katya Mezhibovskaya, and art directed by Patti Ratchford. Matthew Weiner’s Heather, The Totality was designed and art-directed by Rafi Romaya for Canongate, and apparently has a foiled and screen printed acetate cover. (Head over to its sassy Instagram page to see the results in digital-real life.)
Dora Carrington’s Carrington’s Letters, edited by Anne Chisholm, was designed by Matthew Broughton for Chatto, while Faber’s Alex Kirby created the livery for An English Murder by Cyril Hare.
Another Faber title, The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club (written by Alex Bell and illustrated by Tomislav Tomic), was designed by Emma Eldridge, while Gollancz issue The Smoke, by Simon Ings, was designed by Nick May using illustration by James Nunn.
Ali Smith’s Winter (Hamish Hamilton) was designed by Richard Bravery using a young, up-and-coming illustrator by the name of David Hockney. One to keep an eye on. Not to be outdone, HarperCollins Children’s Books’ Here We Are was designed and illustrated throughout by illustration supremo Oliver Jeffers, who also wrote the thing.
Head of Zeus and its art director Jessie Price feature again: this time it’s overseeing designer Andy Allen’s creation for Adam Lebor’s District VIII. It’s alongside Hodder’s Here We Are Now, by Jasmine Wanga, which was designed by Jenna Stempel and illustrated by Monica Ramos.
Hutchinson’s streamline edition of The Nutcracker by E T A Hoffmann was illustrated by Sanna Annukka, while Oneworld’s title Little Nothing, by Marisa Silver, was designed by Jo Thomson under the art direction of James Jones.
Two Penguins up next—unfortunately at the time of publication we’ve been unable to identify the designers, illustrators, creators, art directors responsible: should you know, please do reach out and let us know. The titles are An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe, and Penelope Lively’s lively livery for Life in the Garden.
Portobello’s cover for Han Kang’s The White Book was designed by Lindsey Nash, using photography by Choi Jinhyuk, under the art direction of Sarah Wasley. It’s next to a newcomer to our lists: Route Publishing, which is issuing Paul Hanley’s Leave the Capital in October. Lots to recommend this interesting cover, which was created by design agency Golden. We’ll be keeping an eye on the output of both.
Seven Dials cookbook Weligama, by Emily Hobbs, was art directed by Lucie Stericker and illustrated by James Nunn, who also illustrated the Gollancz cover above. It’s next to another illustrated gem, conjured by Aitch (she of Frances Hardinge fame and Rosie Garland fame in previous round-ups—definitely in vogue in 2017), and designed by Natalie Chen for Two Roads. The book it covers is The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell.
Eric White designed the jacket for Revolutionary Yiddishland, by Alain Brossat and Sylvie Klingberg, for Verso, while Vintage Classics’ A Christmas Carol, from Mr Charles Dickens, was designed in-house by Suzanne Dean.
Another Vintage Classic title, Elias Lonrott’s Kalevala, was illustrated by Linda Linko, while Walker’s cover for a 10th anniversary edition of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones was a buy-in from S&S US, with the designer unknown at the time of publication. (Again, answers on a postcard.)
Catrine Clay’s Labyrinths was designed, once again, by Jo Walker for William Collins, while this month’s selection is rounded out by a Yellow Jersey publication, Fear and Loathing on the Oche, by King Adz, which was illustrated by Peter Strain.
Until next month…