Book Jacket Design — The Forgotten Blog Post

Sooooo I accidentally forgot to read and respond to an article for the book jacket project.  My apologies for breaking the perfect chronology of postings for each project.

Here we go.  I read a few articles from Under the Covers, and not only did I learn a little more about book jacket design, but also got a greater “behind-the-scenes” look at the interaction between designer, editor, and writer.   I read “Five Questions with Paul Buckley, Penguin Art Director” and “Five Questions for Vintage Art Director/Designer, Megan Wilson.”  To start, Wilson openly admits that, “the one thing better than dead authors is living authors who one admires.”  She is referring to designing a book jacket for a memoir and final book for writer Deborah Mitford (who was 90 when Wilson designed the cover).  I think she brings up a great point, here.  Does it make a designers job easier when he/she doesn’t have to please the author?  I think to some extent it must be easier, perhaps for a classic, but maybe not all novels.  And it’s not like the designer has complete freedom to design whatever he/she feels is best for the novel; there is still the fact that the editor and sales market team.  But, Paul Buckley offers a different insight about the delicate relationships between parties.

“Some [editors] truly get the creative process and respect that a great cover can be the first impulse, whereas I have one editor who cannot be satisfied till every angle has been explored, every stone turned over, and until you hate every project you do together. On the author side, you can have authors whose work you just love, but they just don’t enjoy your aesthetic and force you into a cover you are not proud of. And then there are those that love everything you do, so at the end of the day, it all balances out.”

I can’t help but feel as though this is the case more often than not.  I appreciate Buckley (Art Director for Pengiun Books) for stating the unhappy truth and the author for running this in his article.  I think as artists we are given so much power that we forget it comes with a price — trying to make other people like your work as much as you do, and that can be challenging.  Collaboration among artists is hard.  Buckley explains that in some instances “when you see a book where the designer left his or her credit off, that is an example of where the compromises spun out of control.”  That.  Is.  Devastating.

(I realize that this post is somewhat depressing, but I think there is a lot of valuable insight these comments really stuck with me after reading several articles and making them connect.)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s