Dyer debriefs design

Dyer debriefs design

<p>With a career in book design spanning two decades and a bulging portfolio to his name&mdash;ranging from the launch of Vintage paperbacks to the rebrand of Rough Guides&mdash;you might expect Peter Dyer to have an ego. </p><p>Yet, on meeting him at his new Profile offices, the anticipated arrogance is nowhere to be seen; you might even call him shy. &quot;I hate talking about myself,&quot; he admits. &quot;I find it really dull to hear designers discussing their work because it is very hard to put your design into words. Editors are much more eloquent than designers.&quot;</p><p>This reluctance is no reflection of his talent. On viewing his portfolio, a distinct Dyer look emerges&mdash;uncluttered design, bold images, iconic photography and simple typography. </p><p>&quot;I try to avoid doing clich&eacute; covers&mdash;the covers people think are bestsellers,&quot; he says. &quot;Big gold type doesn&#39;t always make for bestselling design. The more individual you can make it, the more attention it will get in bookshops. I aim for beautiful, alluring and arresting.&quot;</p><p>Inspired by contemporary art, Dyer&#39;s strategy is to find an image that will quickly communicate the message of the book. To get the exact look he has built up a loyal pool of photographers and illustrators.</p><p>For the past 14 years Dyer has been working independently, having left his job as art director for Jonathan Cape and Vintage with colleague Conor Brady to set up React Design Partnership in 1994. They took on projects for the likes of Sadler&#39;s Wells, the Royal Opera House, Sony and Miramax. </p><p>But Dyer could not escape the publishing world: &quot;Because I&#39;d been doing publishing for such a long time I pretty much got pigeonholed. I didn&#39;t mind though because I love it; I&#39;ve never got bored with designing book jackets because each brief sets you a new challenge. There is huge creative scope.&quot;</p><p>In 1998 he set off on his own as a graphic design consultant. Projects have included branding Granta Books in 1997, work for Vintage in the US, and assignments alongside Mark Ellingham, now a good friend, for Rough Guides, Sort of Books and now Profile.</p><p>He&#39;s excited by this latest opportunity as Profile&#39;s first ever inhouse art director: &quot;The role is perfect; I am here half the week, which enables me to carry on working with other clients. There is a great mix of books with the fiction at Serpent&rsquo;s Tail and the non-fiction at Profile and the team is really open-minded about what we can do on the covers.&quot;</p><p>Dyer is upfront about the fact that his new company has produced some weak covers in the past; his main aim is to stop jackets being designed by committee. &quot;As a freelance you send in four or five designs which get examined at a jacket meeting. Once people start choosing an aspect from one design to [be incorporated in] another, it is going to look a mess. The appeal of coming here is that I am going to be in jacket meetings again and for designs that I think are strong, I am going to argue for them.&quot; </p>