The various people in a publishing house consider books in a lot of different ways. The people in the editorial department talk and think about projects one way, the people in production another, the people in sales and marketing yet another, and so on.
Of all of these people talking about books in all of these different ways, my favorite crowd to listen to is the book designers. When designing the jacket for a new book, they have to figure out how to graphically represent ideas and arguments that are often pretty complex, or even abstract. They sometimes have to create a design that does the heavy lifting for books whose titles are maybe a bit vague. They have to think about how a design would look face-out on a shelf, but also how it would look as a little rectangle on the Amazon page on your computer or even your phone. They have to treat books that cover similar material in ways distinctive enough to keep them from feeling like the same thing over and over. And they have to do all of that (and more) while still satisfying the author and all of those competing “ways of talking” in editorial, sales, production, etc.
It’s amazing that they make it out of bed in the morning. But, they do, and they come to work, and at HUP they design some pretty great jackets. We wanted to provide you all with a little window into how they work, so we’ve put together an audio slideshow. Look for these to show up occasionally in the future. This first one features HUP Art Director Tim Jones explaining his design for Roosevelt’s Purge, a new book by Susan Dunn.