Tag Archives: NeWest Press

Shallow Enough to Walk Through

The narrative of Marissa Reaume’s forthcoming novel incorporates some typographic styling: the main character, an aspiring writer, uses strikethroughs to eliminate events and parts of her life that she doesn’t like. I wanted to work with this same idea on a type-dominant cover.

During my read-through, I found the perpetual grey skies and struggling characters to be pretty bleak, and was having trouble reconciling my interpretation with the colourful chick-lit presentation the publisher requested. So, stubbornly, I failed with my first three attempts, which were deemed too drab and muted. I was asked to try again, to incorporate a photographic image of a woman somehow, and to shoot for something more arresting, urban, and whimsical. So I re-read the MS and focused less on the puddles and more on the lively, energetic scenes: dancing and hot pink toe nails are featured prominently in the plot.

A fun fact: when you paint letters on paper with nail polish, it basically never dries. Seriously, 5 days and counting, and it’s still tacky.

 

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In Flux

Another book in NeWest’s Writer as Critic Series. In this collection of essays edited by the University of Guelph’s Smaro Kambourelli, Roy Miki investigates the shifting currents of citizenship, globalization, and cultural practices facing Asian Canadians today through the connections of place and identity that have been forged through our developing national literature.

At first, I wasn’t thrilled with the imagery provided by the author: an aerial view of the coastline with the Fraser River taken from a seaplane. But it’s the landscape that would form the conditions of early settlement for Asian Canadians, so, conceptually, it’s a strong match for Miki’s work.

I then turned to idea #3 on my “I’m totally stumped and can’t deal with this dull photo you gave me” list: turn it upside down and crop it so it’s barely recognizable.

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Open Pit

Open Pit is a political thriller dealing with two clashing cultures and the costs of doing business in the era of globalization. A group of Canadian human-rights activists visiting Central America are taken hostage by a former revolutionary fighter demanding the closure of a newly-minted open-pit gold mine.

The client asked for a cover that hints at international intrigue and adventure without looking too much like a Tom Clancy novel. Matt Taylor’s intimidatingly good illustrations for the latest John Le Carré novels were cited. Ideas tossed around included Salvadorian soldier portraits, Castro-esque figures attired in fatigues, AK-47 memorabilia, and a mock twentieth-century advertisement for South American tourism. The retro poster seemed like a good way to portray the action-packed foreign setting without showing scenes of violence or environmental devastation caused by mining. Because the publisher is located in Alberta, an ecological approach could cause the book to be incorrectly lumped in with diatribes against the oilsands.

I mocked-up a sunny Cuban travel brochure trying to attract visitors (or, in this case, readers) oblivious to the unrest of the region. The image started out at Post-it sketch. Most covers are inaugurated on 3 x 5″ sticky notes, which then end up attached to various pieces of office furniture and sometimes socks. (The plane morphed into a more plot-relevant helicopter and the dynamite just didn’t make the cut.)

 

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Restless White Fields

Barbara Langhorst’s unsentimental collection of poetry revisits a violent personal tragedy. Over the course of the book, we learn that the author’s father shot and killed her mother, then committed suicide.

Treading lightly around such difficult emotional territory, it was a challenge to determine the right marketing approach for the book and how much information to reveal about the traumatic subject matter. 

My initial idea, a few wispy pieces of Kleenex, was fuelled by a line from the collection: “your steps corner the bed your living death fades forgotten in tissue paper slips.” It was considered too amorphous, not drawing a strong enough connection to grasses in a pasture like I intended.

The gunsight concept went too far the other direction: overly aggressive and emphatic. The author wanted to focus on the themes of healing and rebuilding, rather than the brutal event itself. The final cover removed the weapon reference, leaving just the cold, blanched field and some translucent type.

The typeface is Goudy’s lyrical Deepdene, with some very sexy ligatures.

 

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Geographies of a Lover

Finally, an occasion to work with erotic prose poetry.

This cover was taken out of my hands somewhat when I was supplied with a photo commissioned by the author. The client felt that the skin textures in Briar Craig’s photography evoked landscape. While in fact this is the cover we went with, I still think it communicates a different message. There is the visceral that conveys sensuality, deep emotion, and animal instincts (i.e., sex) and then there is visceral in terms of things looking like internal body organs. The image speaks to the latter for me.

I wanted to find a means to link wayfinding and sexuality without showing skin. I fought for this concept (below), pinpointing erogenous areas on a hand-drawn body, sketched like a map. But ultimately it was deemed too cold and flat.

The text-dominant back cover combines promotional blurbs with poetry from the interior and the contents page upholds the navigational theme with latitude and longitude references.

 

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The Shore Girl

The Shore Girl follows Rebee from her toddler to her teen years as she grapples with her mother’s fears and addictions, and her own desire for a normal life. Through a series of narrators — family, friends, teachers, strangers, and Rebee herself — her family’s dark past, and the core of her mother’s despair, are slowly revealed.

Rebee and her mother usually escape their problems at night, ricocheting around rural Alberta in a busted white van.

Another concept I presented was derived from the preliminary title “The Shore Girl Clippings” which refers to the nail trimmings that Rebee saves in a jar and carries around from place to place. She also has a slightly mangled hand from when her mother refused treatment for a broken finger. These character traits were just begging for a collage of some sort.

 

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Martini With a Twist

This project came with a title pun of sorts and a too-good-to-be-true brief: “just do some kind of bold, colourful, perhaps Art Deco-style all-text cover.” I went straight to the typeface Bifur, originally designed by Cassandre in 1929 and recreated by P22 in the 90s. The ‘Y’ letterform already looks a bit like a martini glass, it only needed minor adjustments.

About the plays: Absurdity reigns in multiple award-winning author and playwright Clem Martini’s newest collection of work: five plays spanning two decades, from 1989 to 2009. A lonely elephant handler befriends the half-blind woman who drove through his yard, a severed head in a suitcase life support system is given a second chance at life, a quiet shut-in wrestles with the jealous ghost of his wife, a young woman with the ability to smell lies struggles to make new friends, and a mismatched pod of whales in the Pacific Ocean struggle with identity, love, and interspecies dating. With a sharp tongue and impeccable comedic timing, Martini’s characters resonate beyond their impossible situations, their fears and hesitations all too human.

The other concept I was asked to mock up is a whale swimming inside a martini glass. I gave it a go, I really did, but it somehow evolved into a martini-fuelled photo shoot using the glass I was drinking from to obscure the title.

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Swallow

Theanna Bischoff‘s new novel pieces together the childhood memories of Darcy Nolan and the moments leading up to and following her nineteen-year-old sister’s suicide. Each section of the book begins with a verse of the rhyme, There was an old lady who swallowed a fly, which influenced the cover imagery.

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Dance, Gladys, Dance

Five Steps to an Ordinary Life:

1. Get a real job.
2. Stop seeing the world as a series of potential paintings.
3. Learn how to talk about the weather.
4. Do the things that normal people do.
5. Figure out what normal people actually do.

The synopsis for the 2012 NeWest Press release: 27-year-old Frieda Zweig is at an impasse. Behind her is a string of failed relationships and half-forgotten ambitions of being a painter; in front of her lies the dreary task of finding a real job and figuring out what “normal” people do with their lives. Then, a classified ad for a ’78 phonograph in the local paper introduces Frieda to Gladys, an elderly woman who long ago gave up on her dreams of being a dancer.

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Business As Usual

The “Nick and Nora Charles” of academia.

Two amateur detectives are pulled into a web of deceit and violence involving corrupt politicians and the illegal cross-border dumping of toxic waste. There’s some Mafia talk too.

The author suggested using barrels somehow, and instead of going photographic, I turned to a simple graphic.

I always find it interesting how titles come to be. Here is the passage that explains the phrase and how it applies to the plot: When you see something you don’t want to see, just pretend you didn’t see it. It was part of some kind of law. David called it the Law of Ontological Inertia. Lives in motion along certain paths tend to stay in motion along precisely those paths. Unless some terrific force intervenes. Also known, he said, as business as usual.

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Queen’s Park

Ebooks need covers too.

I just gave Garry Ryan‘s first two Detective Lane Mysteries fresh faces in time for their Kobo debuts. I hope the books will be reprinted one day too, if only for the deep designerly satisfaction that will come from lining up the matching spines on my shelf.

The aesthetic for the series is being pieced together book by book, keeping with the same greyscale photographic approach and hairline type as the latest instalments, SMOKED and MALABARISTA.

(See the original Queen’s Park cover that was published by NeWest Press in 2004.)

(See the 2006 cover here.)

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Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa: A Californian county, the Portuguese name for Saint Rose, an extinct community in Edmonton, and more recently, a book.

Taking full advantage of that fantastic Fall light, I set out to replicate the sense of otherworldliness and subtle nostalgia in Wendy McGrath’s new novel. The young narrator seeks the answers to these questions as she tries to make sense of the disintegration of her parents’ marriage — a process echoed by the slow disintegration of their neighbourhood.

The excerpt that sent me outside, looking for a chain link fence:
“The picture of the family as they walked the parking lot pavement was overexposed. Taken into the sun. Too bright. Too hot in some spots. The girl could feel the bottoms of her feet begin to warm. She had to squint against the sunlight shining on the chain link fence on either side of the entrance against carnival rides that roiled against the sky against the Ferris wheel an aperture perpetually open on her adventure.”

From Jamie Hall’s review in the Edmonton Journal on 04/17/11:

“And I thought there are many streets and houses and families and kids who have this sense of dreamlike attachment to a time that has passed.” In the book, which McGrath describes a “poetic narrative,” the narrator knows something is wrong but has no insight into what that is and has no way of articulating it. It’s not unlike any child observing the adult world, says McGrath, which to young minds can often be baffling, sad and at times frightening.

Looking for a place to live for just $10 per month?

(Courtesy of the City of Edmonton Archives.)

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Malabarista

Award-winning mystery writer, Garry Ryan follows up SMOKED with another Detective Lane adventure. Malabarista is the Spanish word for street performer or juggler, and an appropriate metaphor for Lane’s latest role handling the new obstacles thrown his way.

And so, another comical photo shoot involving myself as the only available/willing model, a tripod, a timer, a ring cut out of black cardboard, and the realization that juggling is rather difficult.

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Witness to a Conga

“You really can’t say no to a conga. Ever.”

Witness to a Conga, The Oculist’s Holiday, and Happy Toes — three plays originally written for the Edmonton Fringe Festival by Stewart Lemoine — soon to be coexisting between covers. Proficiently described by the publisher as “unexpectedly emotional explorations of marriage, love, and family.” Look for copies of the book at the Fringe this summer.

In the title play, Martin Lowell’s impending wedding, and his indecisiveness on the subject of including a conga at the reception, stirs up memories of his parents’ divorce and the great, unattainable love of his life. I set out to make a simple, linear dance seem more confusing and complicated than it actually is. The footsteps give the sensation of being on the outside of the fun, observing/discerning/learning from a distance.

I considered this next sketch rejected when the playwright admitted to not seeing a pair of glasses in the set of conga drums like I intended.

 

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Strange Days

Ted Ferguson revisits dozens of stories from the ’20s — accounts of frivolous fads, shocking crimes, and the political and social changes that yanked Canada out of the 19th century and into the modern age. Subject matter includes: a British war hero who becomes a religious cult leader and turns his enclave in British Columbia into a hotbed of sadomasochistic orgies, a national baby derby, and some futile train/bank robberies.

The cover image hopefully relays the zany spirit permeating our so-called Jazz-age: hip flasks, the fox trot, and knee-high skirts, oh my. (Courtesy of the William James Collection, City of Toronto Archives.) And if you are still wondering, she is getting a perm.

The jacket was printed on 80-lb Mohawk Via Vellum in Ivory. It’s a very yellow paper that really intensified the colours.

With the era in mind, I used Frederic Goudy’s Kennerley, some old 84 pt. letraset for Algerian.

This was my first attempt at setting something in this lyrical but very quirky typeface, supplied unedited by the Lanston foundry. Let’s just say it was an elaborate exercise in kerning. Bringhurst describes this face as Goudy’s first successful attempt at type design, with the “flavour” and “homey unpretentiousness” of Caslon. I chose it because it exemplifies the era, especially when paired with my dry transferrable cover letterin’ companion.

(I also designed Ted’s last book, Back Roads.)

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Grayling Cross

The best way to describe the challenge associated with this project is to quote the knowledgeable Paul Buckley from Penguin’s latest stunning, narcissistic book design endeavour: Penguin 75 Designers, Authors, Commentary (the good, the bad…). Buckley observes that “multiple parties wanting different things often lead to covers with rather literal visual interpretations… a scene from the story – this is not always a bad thing, but can lead to imagery that is a bit predictable.”

Which is what my first attempt at a paranormal mystery cover was. Unfamiliar genre territory. I made a mess first, just to get it out of my system.

Then I set out to make an eerie image that suggests a supernatural presence without employing any of the usual SPACE channel platitudes. The Press expressed an interest in taking a different direction from Froese’s first novel on the same theme, which has an off-puttingly dark and murky cover. The drawback of this quirky, light approach is that it doesn’t convey the genre with sufficient clarity.

I ended up photographing a jar of bath salts by request of the author, basically re-creating one particular unnerving scene from the book. I abstracted the object as much as possible with the camera angle, framing, and focus, in an attempt to gain fictitious approval from Buckley at Penguin.

At the very least, I think it successfully avoids pushing the fantasy element too explicitly. (Oddly enough, this is the second photo shoot that I’ve coordinated in my bathtub in the last year.)

My favourite detail in all three sketches is the title block. I nudged a printout of the title on a scanner bed as the bulb passed over, creating a slight blur in the text.

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Gangson

An examination of New York’s distant/not-so-distant history of violence.

The poems in Andy Weaver’s collection were composed somewhat mechanically, by cutting up, warping, and adapting existing texts. The title piece is chance-generated poetry inspired by the classic turn-of-the-century criminal study, The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury. Weaver took the first and last line of each page, typed them out as a series of couplets, and then whittled the poem down to its current state. I emulated Weaver’s writing technique on the cover — piecing together touristy photos from my visits to NYC, some burlap, and an old Draft Riot illustration — until I ended up with this

 

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Arrhythmia

A rapid, irregular heartbeat rhythm.

And a good way to describe the central relationships in Arrhythmia, which is full of scandalous love affairs, conflicting cultural values, and betrayal.

Near the beginning of my process, Alice’s best writing buddy, Mark, a Kansanian who lives in Denmark, mentioned that if the title is in upper-case, then the R’s will look like Finnish-language gargoyles. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make that work with Hoefler’s Requiem.

Nevertheless, my fabric cardiographies.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this novel since I finished Alice’s 2009 collection of short stories, Ruins & Relics.

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Butterflies in Bucaramanga

On the scanner bed: one tangled net + a photo of blue sky + the long and unpronounceable name of a municipality in South America.

A suspenseful thriller about a mining executive who is kidnapped by Colombian renegades, caught in a collision between Western corporate imperatives and revolutionary politics. I used a tangled net to link the insect-related title to the idea of captivity. I was originally working with the preliminary title, The Butterfly Effect, but there are already at least a dozen novels, numerous self-help books, and one really bad Ashton Kutcher movie that are already unsuitably referencing chaos theory.

For those of you who are astute, it is indeed a fish net, not a butterfly net. But the story is about capturing human beings, not insects, so it could potentially work.

And, a similar notion for a very different kind of book from Jason Booher. (Both books have the same release date, so no need to play the “who did it first” game.)

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Extensions

Don’t ask how, but I convinced the amazing Dan Estabrook to let me use one of his pieces on the cover of Myrna Dey’s first novel. Dan is based out of Brooklyn and exhibits in real cities like New York, Chicago and… Atlanta. He uses nineteenth-century photographic techniques to make contemporary art, working with hand-altered calotypes and salt prints. The piece I’ve absconded with is a mounted toned silver print called “Untitled Twins, 1992”.

Extensions tells the story of a woman who is uncovering information about her ancestors, and the impact that these bits of lost history have on her life. She makes the chance discovery of a sepia photograph of her grandmother and twin sister, in the hands of a stranger. So she decides to find out how a picture taken in 1914 in the mining town of Extension, BC ended up at a garage sale in small-town Saskatchewan almost 100 years later.

This artwork resonates perfectly with Myrna’s words, from the scissors right down to the teardrop stains on the green matte board.

I continued the scissor motif from Dan’s image throughout the book on the chapter title pages, losing count after about chapter 30:

I was originally hoping to employ an image by local photographer Eleanor Lazare, from her series My Aunt Molly’s Shoes. She projected old photos of her mother and grandmother on the wall, and then took a photo of herself standing in front of the screen. The construction of the series compliments the concept of the book perfectly by showing three generations of women and — quite literally — a reflection of the past onto the present:

Both artists are using historic photos in a contemporary way. Unfortunately, Eleanor’s images don’t accurately represent the genre. They suggest memoir or non-fiction by fixing the people in photos as characters in the book. The author requested that readers be free to invent their own visions of the characters. (I’m hoping to find a better literary fit for Eleanor’s work because I’m just in love with the series.)

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Murder in the Chilcotin

For the third book in Roy Innes’ mystery series, I etched the cover image and title into an inked board using various pointy objects:

The interior chapter numbers are also carved by hand, based on FF Quadraat by Fred Smeijers.

I designed the last installment in 2007 using the same illustration technique. The setting is important in both books, so I found a way to describe two contrasting environments in a similar visual rhetoric: Downtown Vancouver and the cattle ranching district of West Caribou, British Columbia.

 

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Drift Child

Cover proposal for an upcoming NeWest Press release that develops around a boating incident. The lifejacket alludes to water without actually showing it. (I feel like ominous coastline imagery is a little stale for aquatic-fiction.) The vest will either come to someone’s rescue or share in their demise: Dramatic + poetic at the same time.

There is friction surrounding whether this cover suites the story and author’s tone of voice. This cover design is a grand departure from Rosella’s first novel along the same theme. No question that it would jump off the shelf, but is it a misleading sell?

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Harvest

Playing with dirt for a collection of plays by Ken CameronHarvest, My Morocco, and My One and Only.

This cover concept is my “anti-blue-sky-prairie-scene” approach: I raked loose dirt around to generate two victorian-style silhouettes. The suggested dialogue between the figures reflects the relationship between Cameron’s mother and father in the title play. All three plays have central male-female relationships actually, so it represents the collection nicely. (But unfortunately leaves Cameron’s reinvention of Marilyn Monroe out…)

Just two days before we go to print, it is decided that a pot leaf needs to make an appearance on the cover. Marijuana = shock appeal and marketability, apparently. Design briefs work much better at the beginning of the process, not at the end. Nevertheless, I went digging through the garden for art supplies, again.

I prefer my original concept, but author trumps designer on this one.

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Aphelion

This past weekend, the author of Aphelion and NeWest’s GM joined me with glue-sticks in hand to make bands which will wrap around review copies of the book. The line “cross the pond” playfully obscures the title and reinforces the continental drift scene I tried to orchestrate with the stones:

“Aphelion” is the point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid, or comet at which it is furthest from the sun. The poems encompass the idea of physical/emotional distance and contrast the human and natural world. Each poem is grounded in the landscape of either Europe or Canada, depending on where she was writing at the time.

To achieve the high contrast lighting in the photo, I placed the stones in their groups on blue tissue paper inside my bathtub, using the contained area and white fiberglass walls to control the depth and direction of the shadow.

The stones in my cover photo was inspired in particular by two consecutive poems in the collection called “Petroglyph Trail” and “Letter to Nancy”:

“light catches the stone
just     so
revealing hairline fractures
small imperfections

dusk breaking
across marble
reconfiguring
your absence”

I paired Gill’s Joanna with Barnbrook’s Priori sans and serif.

 

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Crisp

Blazers & Boleros:

another phase in my ongoing mission to make the backs of books more interesting. Bookstore frequenters should be drawn to the back side as much as the front side because while a nice smile is great, a nice backside closes the deal. A slightly inappropriate analogy, but you get the point. (Click for jacket for detail.)

The artwork is by Canadian photographer Nathalie Daoust (very envious that she gets to spell her name with an ‘h’). It’s called “Pilatus” and is part of her “Frozen in Time, Switzerland” series. Amazing work. The photo captures the themes of nostalgia, landscape and absurdity that are apparent in Robert’s magic realist-ish tales.

The off-kilter title amplifies the sense of awkwardness and absurdity in the cover image and Gray’s stories. I continued this shifted-baseline motif throughout the interior.

Crisp took part in some hearty Atlantic-themed cover rivalry, provoked by Salty Ink blogger Chad Pelley. The jacket came in second place in the 2010 Judge-a-book-by-its-cover competition.

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14 Tractors

John Deere inspired.

Low bow to Gerry Hill and NeWest Press for snaring the Poetry Award at the Saskatchewan Book Awards last night.

The word “tractors” in the title block was hand-drawn. The rest of the 14 tractors appear on the back of the jacket.

The interior is full of visual material pilfered from vintage tractor manuals and photographs taken by Shelley Sopher.

I was originally aiming for an understated prairie poetry feel with the cover, but playing with the visual aesthetic of the retro John Deere manuals was so much more fun. The end result is unavoidable on the shelf.

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The Frog Lake Reader

Myrna Kostash offers a startlingly objective perspective on the tragic events surrounding the Frog Lake Massacre of 1885. My type-dominant cover design stems from Kostash’s comprehensive chronology of events that accompanies her text.

The jacket has a gloss lamination with a spot matte varnish overtop of select areas. The result is a subtle luster in the numbers and names of the timeline on the front and back cover.

An interior chapter title page with an 1885 illustration from the Glenbow archives and my proudest typographic accomplishment to date: the use of “outdents” instead of indents at paragraph starts.

A hand-drawn map of the Alberta-Saskatchewan area that tracks the journeys of several main characters.

The display typeface is Albertan, designed and cut in metal at the 16 pt. size by Jim Rimmer in 1982. The text face is ITC Kaatskill, which was originally designed by Frederic Goudy and later completed by Jim Rimmer for the Lanston Type Company. And the sans serif is Robert Slimbach’s Cronos Pro.

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My Beloved Wager

A collection of essays by Erín Moure, a poet and translator from Montreal. In her linguistic-sculptural interventions on what poetry makes possible, Moure reveals why she has placed her bets on poetry as a way of life. The red shoes are from an installation by Vida Simon called “Walking to Russia” in Moure’s hometown Montreal.

 

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From Ice to Ashes

I just came across one of my discarded cover mockups for this thriller novel. I never presented it to the publisher because of the questionable readability in the title. But I like the texture (created by scanning in crumpled saran wrap over top of the type)

 

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The Collected Works of Pat Lowther

NeWest Press is publishing a comprehensive collection of poetry by the late Pat Lowther (1935–1975). Compiled by Chris Wiesenthal, the book revives Lowther’s out-of-print pieces and unveils never before collected and unpublished ones.

Featuring: a cerlox-inspired spine, some dated floral wallpaper, a little Paul Renner, and 2 spot colours on green paper. (Click for more detail.)

For the design, it was a struggle to capture the strictly mediated way that Lowther and her lifetime of work can be known by us now so many years later. The style of the cover stems from archived photos of Lowther’s notepads from the 1960/70’s. The imagery promotes both her natural and urban perspectives with retro floral wallpaper and black & white slide film shots of old office buildings. The composition strives for a balance between a dated and progressive aesthetic, as Pat Lowther was definitely forward-thinking for her time.

Printed with much care and attention by Transcon, this piece couldn’t have turned out better. The jacket stock is 80# Mohawk Via Smooth in Willow, an uncoated paper. The fly leaf is 80# Rainbow from Coast paper in Maroon, embossed with a texture. Following the fly leaf is a full bleed photo of Pat Lowther.

The text face is Trump Mediäval designed by Georg Trump in ’54. The sans is the anachronistic Futura, a geometric sans serif designed by Paul Renner in ’24-ish. The typewritten letters that appear on the section title pages and the typographic ornaments in “The Age of the Bird” are scans from P.L.’s original manuscripts.

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Smoked

No blood, weapons, or other cliche imagery allowed.

The cover mocks take different visual approaches to the same concept, using matches to tie in with the title and suggest a potentially precarious situation.

The cover of Smoked was recently acknowledged as one of Lambda Literary’s best book covers of 2010. (Residing humbly in the list among some really impressive work by Rodrigo Corral Design, Jason Booher, Eric Hanson, and Chip Kidd.)

We came up with a fun but potentially perilous marketing strategy: matchbooks.

More matchbooks here!

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Canadian Literature at the Crossroads

“One more time, with panache,” the editor requested after rejecting my first two ideas.

This is the first book to gather essays by Barbara Godard, one of the leading figures in the field of Canadian studies. Her work has been instrumental in interrogating the normative ways in which we think about Canadian culture.

Below are two initial mockups for the cover design followed by a photo of the final product. It was a challenge to make use of the prominent Canadian art piece while achieving the “panache” (client’s expression, not mine) that the editor was looking for.

[ art = “Sans titre.” Marian Dale Scott, Acrylique sur toile, 213 x 101cm, Printed with permission: Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec]

The sans serif is Priori Sans designed by Jonathan Barnbrook in ’03.

 

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A Magpie’s Smile

I recently designed the jacket and interior for a chronological police thriller written by Eugene Meese that takes place in Calgary in the 1970s. I shot the cover photo using a magpie feather I found in my backyard, bending it to create the concave shape. The word “smile” in the title block was sculpted out of floss (a little facetious maybe) and is accompanied by the typeface Galliard, which was designed by Matthew Carter in 1978 and later licensed by ITC.

It’s always a challenge to make a mystery cover that evokes a sense of suspense without falling into that conventional clichéridden thriller category. (No blood, bullet holes or all caps necessary.)

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Metastasis

just off the press: a book containing three plays by Gordon Pengilly on the theme of human tragedy, paranoia, and violence. I created a web-like illustration that embodies the concept of metastasis as it spreads across the jacket and appears several times throughout the interior.

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Gerbil Mother

A sardonic look at motherhood and the family dynamic through the eyes of an unborn baby narrating from inside her mother’s womb. The one client stipulation for this cover was “no fetuses on the front, please.”

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Seal Intestine Raincoat

My cover illustration for a cautionary tale with a bleak portrayal of socio-economic collapse resulting from an unsustainable way of life.

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