Making a Book by Its Cover

I'm not going to make any promises, but one goal I have for Blowing & Drifting is posting at least one item each week on some sort of occupation or avocation. Out there on the internet are hundreds of great articles, interviews, essays, or other pieces of writing by or at least about someone who has some sort of interesting job that's off to one side of the occupations which are either frequently written about (lawyers, politicians, pro athletes) or best-known to me (academics, teachers, other logophilic "knowledge workers," as well as shipbuilders). I blogged one such piece, by a book designer, a while back on After School Snack.

Coincidentally enough, today I came across another piece about another book designer, Paul Buckley, who runs the design shop at Penguin. A beautiful complement to the post by the book designer (who handles everything between the covers), the two-part interview with Buckley outlines the process of book cover design.

In part one of the interview, Buckley expounds on the differences (which are perhaps obvious to an insider, but exotic to me) between art and design and rips on the use of giant type on book covers - a trend that as annoying as in-store commercials at Target. In part two, Buckley talks about the ongoing redesign of the Penguin Classics Deluxe editions - beautiful and even edgy new versions of the old yellow-and-black books I always liked - and tells a great story about the cover of the new edition of Lady Chatterly's Lover. Buckley also talks about his work "process" (a shudder-inducing word), which is both as straightforward and weird as you might expect. All in all, the interview is a wonderful sample of how people go about finding work that won't make them nuts.

email: christopher at tassava dot com