Two Gold Stars for Good Design

Alison Morris -- June 25th, 2008

I’ve got TWO gold stars to hand out this week, both for excellence in design. The first goes to a book cover.

As may have become apparent in my recent post about silhouettes and boring stock photos, I’m picky about my book covers — both because I like to see books get their just deserts, design-wise, and because a good cover makes my job INFINITELY easier. (It’s so painful to have to say to a customer, "No, really! It’s great! Ignore the terrible cover and just listen to what I’m telling you….") I am constantly, then, judging book covers and expressing my opinions on them to my poor unfortunate sales reps, for whom I frequently have less than positive cover feedback. My beloved Simon and Schuster rep, Katie McGarry, though, was no doubt pleased that I said nothing but great things about one particular cover on the S&S fall list.



Chains
by Laurie Halse Anderson will be featuring this beautiful and intriguing design when it lands on bookstore and library shelves this October. I love the power of this seemingly simple image, the subtle hints it provides about the plot of this book (look closely at those birds) and the way the fonts, which appear to be hand-drawn, play beautifully with the image itself. The front of the jacket is arresting and so is the spine, making it likely that customers will pick up this book even when it isn’t turned face-out on the shelf (though in most stores in most stores it probably will be for quite some time).

This week’s second gold star goes to a logo, though I’m a bit surprised to be giving it to such. It’s not often that a publisher or imprint logo elicits a particularly strong reaction from me, but the logo for Featherproof Books is a different matter.

To quote from their website, Featherproof Books "is a young indie publisher based in Chicago, dedicated to the small-press ideals of finding fresh, urban voices. We publish perfect-bound, full-length works of fiction and downloadable mini-books." One of these full-length works of fiction is  This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record, a young adult novel by Susannah Felts published this past March that is being distributed by PGW.

I haven’t read this book, so I can’t yet comment on its quality, but I will say that when I picked up my galley and the cuter-than-cute sticker that’s pictured here fell out of it, I sat up and took notice. To me this logo says "smart, quirky and fun" — three qualities I appreciate both in a book and in a publisher. I look forward to eventually reading some of Featherproof Books’ fare to see if the books they produce are half as appealing as the drawing they’re using to promote them.

Have you seen any gold-star-worthy designs of late (covers, logos, or otherwise)? If so, why not rave about them here, with the hopes that their designers’ might catch wind and whip up more of that same fabulousness.

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