Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog

Archives filed under "book cover"

Recent Work

Ray Drainville

I’ve been quiet here because I’ve been rather busy with rather a lot of graphic design. Longtime readers will know that I love book cover & poster design—really, I can’t get enough of it.

Above are two book titles forthcoming from OUP, Lying, Misleading and What is Said & The Pragmatic Maxim. I’m honoured to have designed the covers. The photo for Lying is from iStockphoto, with some significant alteration.

The cover for Lying was surprisingly difficult. I turned towards Pinocchio rather early on in the process, but found that other covers used the same idea. I switched for a while to very abstract covers: a number of phrases that were deceptive or outright lies, including notorious examples from Clinton & Bush, first as a mosaic of words (too busy) and then as a cloud consisting of these sentences, since the distinctions between lying & leading turn out to become somewhat nebulous upon closer examination. The “cloud” idea was appealing and made the design semi-abstract. However, the word clouds I drew ended up looking like masses of hair, which was kind of disturbing. My wife suggested the cloud could be red, but then it looked like a patch of blood smeared on a white floor. Not exactly what I was looking for! So I returned to Pinocchio, with the notion of altering the image: bending the nose to signify not simply outright lying, but the foggier notion of deception.

At the same time, I’ve been designing posters, often using the same, or similar themes, since the posters are rather intimately related to the books:

Recently, a number of the posters I designed for the University of Sheffield, and even some book covers, were collected & are on display in the foyer of Jessop West. It’s probably the closest I’ll get to an exhibition of my work!

Update: I pulled the trigger on the Peirce cover far too soon. It was initially rejected because of the font (Giza) & because of the diagram, the placement of which actually runs contrary to Peirce’s work on how we develop our ideas. Since we were pulling away from the poster (the original inspiration for the design), this gave me further opportunity to change the look.

I’m pushing for the version on the left, but the client is leaning towards the safer version on the right. Undesign!

Best Book Cover Design 2008

Ray Drainville

Book cover design means a lot to me. They say you’re not to judge one by its cover, but what do they know? A good book cover will attract your interest & help pick one out of thousands others. And as a visual essay on the title’s subject, the cover design can be a fantastic addendum to the book itself.

This year’s New York Times Best Book Cover Design covers some of the best examples of the year. My favourites: