Design & Art Direction

Book Design Heroines

Book Design Heroines Blog, Why?

So . . . I'm not a writer. It takes me many revisions to clearly communicate something in words.  But I love other people's writing, so I love books. And I like to design things, connect dots, and brainstorm ideas. And I've managed to do these things for a living. I design books. I am deeply fortunate.

Having said that, it's not often an easy job. You want to do good work; you want the book to be loved and to make sense. You also want it to seem fresh and interesting and have a good shot at selling enough copies. You want people to remember it. Have it stick in their head. All these things are tall orders. So when it succeeds it's like magic, every time. And when I see something smart and perfect, it makes me truly happy. A designer's high, even if it's not my work.

Some designers seem to have a knack for reading the book, finding the heart of it, and pulling it forward for the world to see in one image, a brilliant cover or a complete book inside and out. For many years now, I've looked for those people. I've looked on flaps or found names on cover blogs. A few names were often repeated. But for some reason it made me happiest when it was a woman's name. It made me hope that it could be my name someday on brilliant jacket, if I worked really hard. It inspired me and pushed me.

In 2013, I ventured onto Pinterest. I was immediately enthralled. Here was a place I could store all these inspiring covers together, the covers of brilliant women, along with their names. I called it Book Design Heroines, because simply put, these women were my heroes. visit it, please.  I started collecting it for myself, just to keep track. Unlike with covers, sadly I have a terrible memory for names. So this seemed like a godsend. And found that other people like looking at my board and that made even happier.

I've always felt shy about actually saying anything about the covers. I felt that would be really hard to do, to put my admiration into words. It's not enough to say "Hey, that looks great" or "Damn, that cover works". These books deserve well thought out sentences and some maybe even paragraphs. I felt unprepared to be the writer of these thoughts, just as I felt unable to stop collecting. 

All this is a long way of saying, I am going to start trying to do it, saying things about each cover and forget that my grammar sucks and that my thoughts may be hard to follow. Why you ask, do this? I guess it's because it scares me, and everything good that I've ever done has scared me. So here goes . . .

Maria EliasComment