Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Demolition Writers

A first for Shelved Books, I'm showing my hardcover and paperback designs for the same makes it...and one doesn't.

A few years back I worked on a cover for Random House called The Secret Society of Demolition Writers. Here is the summary from Amazon:

"In the spirit of the demolition derby, where drivers take heedless risks with reckless abandon, welcome to the first convocation of the Secret Society of Demolition Writers. Here is a one-of-a-kind collection by famous authors writing anonymously–and dangerously. With the usual concerns about reputations and renown cast aside, these twelve daredevils have each contributed an extreme, no-holds-barred unsigned story, each shining as brightly and urgently as hazard lights."

The hardcover jacket I designed is above. The process went relatively smoothly. When the paperback came up, my art director asked me to revisit the original comps and work with them since there might be something there. Originally, I had gone the route of demolition cars. I loved the idea of featuring one on a cover and so along those lines came up with these comps (some trim changes are shown). The subtitle needed to be very prominent:

Playing off the bursts I used, the designs were streamlined so that the type became the focus, (and losing the car reference):

These bold colored variations went through several rounds (really...a lot) before we added in the hand drawn bursts:

This is where it was approved, but alas, the paperback never went to press, so this cover was officially shelved.

HOW Top Ten Sites

This month How magazine has named Shelved Books as one of their Top Ten Sites. Check out the other listings:

ALSO: To see the complete listing of Top Ten's (including Zach from below) go here:,category,Top%2010%20Websites%20For%20Designers.aspx

Monday, September 14, 2009

Radiant Days

A book for Shoemaker & Hoard from several years ago.

A good quote:

"Radiant Days is the darkly funny and deeply unsettling story of a young man who falls down a Central European rabbit hole. It made me squirm, and I loved it." -- Vestal McIntyre, author of You Are Not The One

And a (tiny) summary:
Moving from the tattered romanticism of Budapest, through the sparkling Dalmatian coast, and into the brutalized landscape of inland Croatia during the last days of the Balkan War, the novel takes a shocking turn of irreversible consequence.

Interesting how uncomfortable the writing was...well written, but uncomfortable human behavior. "Young" and "disturbing" are other words I would use to describe the tone of the book.

For the first round I used imagery of a European car (the one the main character travels in) on the cover. It seems liked a good metaphor for the journey taken. Also, rays, of course:

I guess I keep trying for that wine bottle to work:

My favorite:

After this round the publisher found an image he wanted me to try. It's almost difficult when you have such a great image to get out of the way and give it it's due:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Alex Camlin at Casual Optimist

nice interview with Alex up at Casual Optimist:

Alex gave me my start in cover design at Da Capo & Perseus Books (despite having no experience with books and a bad faux pas on my job application...thanks Alex). While at Da Capo, I would walk into his office and be pretty blown over by his use of type and general design skills. Glad to see he is getting the recognition he deserves...