Before you read this, you should watch one of the best TED Talks on graphic design that I have ever seen: Chip Kidd’s Designing books is no laughing matter. OK, It is. Kidd, a graphic designer for Alfred A. Knopf, creates book covers that “embody the book”; that are both eye-catching and thought-provoking; that make us want to stop at the bookshop, buy a book, take it home to leaf through the pages and get to know the story.
In the world of plenty and information buzz, well-designed book covers are windows through which we can look into the heart of the book and decide instantly whether it is going to appeal to us or not.
When Julian Barnes (b.1946), an English writer, was accepting Man Booker Prize for The Sense of an Ending (2011), one of the people he thanked was Suzanne Dean (Random House), a woman who is one of the most influential book cover designers in the industry and who has been working with Barnes for years. Before deciding on the final version – with blurred ink letters, shades of grey and a blown dandelion – Dean had created about 20 different jackets. She played on the book’s main themes: time and memory (to which I would also add “loss” and “causality”), trying to find the best representation of the time that passed and of distorted memories we often cling to.
This is the effect of her work:
I also like this version:
This book cover is my inspiration for today. After having read the book I had a feeling that we spend too much time struggling to find the answer to the question: “What if…?” We often live in alternative worlds of denial, forgetting that there is only here and now and that reality is what it is. The sooner we accept it, the better.