Tag Archives: Shakespeare sonnets cover design

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.