Designer Peter Mendelsund, who has two new books out next week, What We See When We Read and Cover,is profiled in today’s New York Times:

Mr. Mendelsund has long been regarded as one of the top book designers at work today, taking his place alongside design luminaries like Chip Kidd, Alvin Lustig and George Salter. Now, he’s making his debut as a writer, with two books coming out next week. Both explore the peculiar challenges of transforming words into images, and blend illustrations with philosophy, literary criticism and design theory.

In “What We See When We Read,” which is being published by Vintage Books next Tuesday, Mr. Mendelsund tackles the mysterious way text yields vivid mental pictures, even when the author supplies very little visual detail. Most readers, for instance, feel as if they can perfectly describe Anna Karenina, even though Tolstoy gives us little more than gray eyes, thick lashes and curly brown hair. In short, illustrated chapters, Mr. Mendelsund argues that reading is an act of co-creation, and that our impressions of characters and places owe as much to our own memory and experience as to the descriptive powers of authors.

On the same day, PowerHouse Books is releasing “Cover,” a 267-page coffee-table book with more than 300 of Mr. Mendelsund’s most arresting book jackets, and dozens of rejected drafts. The images are interspersed with notes on his process, along with essays by authors of some of the featured books, including the best-selling Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbo and James Gleick, author of the nonfiction books “Chaos” and “The Information.”

If you are New York next week, there is a launch party for both books on August 5th, 7:00-9:00 pm at the PowerHouse Arena, 37 Main St, Brooklyn. Peter will be in conversation with Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club, followed by a brief Q & A.

Peter Mendelsund, Book Designer, Debuts as a Writer Designer Peter Mendelsund, who has two new books out next week, What We See When We Read…

Australian Book Design Awards 2014 Shortlist

Australian Book Design Awards 2014 Shortlist

Peter Long, Senior Designer at Black Inc. Books, has kindly let me know that the shortlist for the Australian Book Design Awards has been announced.

The Book Design Awards are Australia’s longest running  graphic design awards, but in 2013 the Australian Publishing Association decided to discontinue them. To keep the awards running for a 62nd consecutive year, a group of Australian designers…

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Tags: book covers

The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman; design by Pablo Delcán (Pantheon January 2014)

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi; design by Jo Thompson (Picador March 2014)

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi; design by Helen Yentus (Riverhead March 2014)


Chop Chop by Simon Wroe; design by Ben Wiseman (Penguin April 2014)

Danish Dynamite: The Story of Football’s Greatest Cult Team by Rob Smyth, Lars Eriksen & Mike Gibbons; design by Steve Leard (Bloomsbury April 2014)

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill; design by Gray318 (Granta March 2014)

The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison; design by Kimberly Glyder (Graywolf April 2014)


L’Exception by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir; design by David Pearson (Éditions Zulma April 2014)

David’s cover design for Rosa Candida by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (Éditions Zulma March 2011) is also stunning.

Mistakes I Made at Work edited by Jessica Bacal; design by Jaya Miceli (Plume April 2014)

Quand j’étais l’Amérique by Elsa Pépin; design by David Drummond (Les Éditions XYZ April 2014)

Resurrection by Wolf Haas; design by Christopher Brian King (Melville House January 2014)

The cover for next book in the series, Come, Sweet Death! (Melville House July 2014), is great too.

There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll by Lisa Robinson; design by Alex Merto (Riverhead April 2014)

Is it really April already? Recent Book Covers of Note April 2014 The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman; design by Pablo Delcán (Pantheon January 2014) Boy, Snow, Bird…