Tag Archives: book jacket designer

All the Sonnets of Shakespeare

It’s about time I started updating this blog with new projects I’ve been working on, and as I’ve been lucky to have some lovely creative jobs in the last 12 months, I now have some designs and illustrations that I’m proud to share.

I’m starting with ‘All the Sonnets of Shakespeare’ by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells, which was commissioned to me at the end of 2019.

This really was a dream job for me. The brief stated it was to be a ‘gift edition’ book, basically meaning that no expense would be spared on lovely coloured endpapers, ribbon and gold foil embossing on the cover in order to make it a special book worthy of buying for the beauty of the book itself, which is always a plus for a designer to start with, and a rare thing in academic publishing these days.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, the brief went on to request an illustrated botanical theme (a subject close to my heart) and they referenced a book cover done by one of my current favourite illustrators. If I could have written a brief to myself for my dream job, this would probably be it. No pressure.

After lots of research into which plants or flowers actually get a mention in Shakespeare’s sonnets, and deciding to dismiss roses as being way too obvious and a little too romantic (which was something the publisher requested I should avoid), I ended up with violets and lilies on my list.

The first two visuals covered aspects requested specifically in the brief for some generic foliage in gold and a background pattern which I did with the violets. However, for the third and final visual, using the lilies, I decided to go with a more symmetrical design, working the flowers and the twirly gold strands (another aspect requested) around the typography to frame it in an elegant, classical way. This is a style used on cover designs a lot, and one that I always like. It allows you to fill the space, perfectly balance the visual weight of type to illustration, and blend the two together in a harmonious design.

I’m happy with the end result, and so happy that this design was chosen. It seems to have gone down well with everyone too, which is an added bonus. I hope I have done justice to what should be a real treasure of a book.

PS: once I can get my mitts on an actual copy, I’ll show some photos of more of the book. Some further projects to share with you soon.


Recent work samples

Some more recent cover designs:

978052171653612 9780521716536I designed the cover for the second edition of this textbook (shown on the left) back when I worked in-house at CUP, so it was really nice to have the opportunity to update it to the third edition. The grumpy gorilla on edition 2 was very popular, so it was always going to be a challenge to match up to him, but I think cuteness has won out, and I like the simplicity of this image. He has a mischievous look in his eyes.

Another textbook cover:


And a random selection of some other titles:

Covers July13


New cover designs

A cover to be designed typographically with no image, can sometimes pose a challenge. On this, they specifically wanted the colours to be black, red and white, using the following logo as a basis for the design.

Not the most inspirational design in the world, but Mondrian initially came to mind, and then as I worked on it, it became more Bauhaus / Jan Tschichold inspired, mainly because of the colours I think. I’ve always been a fan of Avant-Garde graphics from the 1920’s and 30’s, so it’s probably no surprise that when asked to design something in a blocky, typographic way in this colour range, it ends up going down this route.

It’s a simple design, but so unlike most of the covers I usually work on, it’s really nice to have the opportunity to do something more graphic and stylised. Phenomenological – new favourite word.

A couple of new textbook designs next. Above left shows the authors suggestion for a new astronomy title (us book designers see a lot of photoshop savvy authors who want to design their own covers, this being one of the better and less bizarre ones) and on the right my final approved design. A bit of photoshop work was needed to combine the two images and create an outer glow around the planet, and I get to add a photoshop lens flare effect, a tool I don’t get to play with often.

And finally another bioinformatics book. Nature combined with technical computer stuff. Here’s how we arrived at this …

The first 9 covers were initially submitted. The design middle row, left, was selected for revision, and the bottom 3 were the revised options, of which the bottom right cover was approved. Not all textbook covers get through as easily as this, but then the image selection and brief were more concise. Nice job!

New work samples

A small poster for the bookshop window, and a smaller version for posting out.

Below are recent cover designs for CUP. A mixture of topics and markets, though the first three prove anything ‘eco’ is hot right now.

Below are examples of new series or multi-volume books.


New covers

A few recent cover designs for Cambridge University Press: