And Andrew Kelly has commented on the shift in design sensibility shown in Cath Crowley’s young adult fiction.
Des Cowley, rare books curator at the State Library, recently asked my opinion of the new series design from Penguin UK for their European Classics
and David Pearson’s re-branding of Cormac McCarthy's entire list.
So, some thoughts about series design.
Everyone loves a series design and to be briefed to do one is likely to have any designer punching the air. I punched the air when Rob Cullinan from UQP called me a few years back to re-brand their poetry series. I really had to stop myself from offering to do it for free. What I loved most about the brief was that it had a very tight budget. These books had to become more financially viable to be publishable. Having steadfast limitations, particularly at a time when publishing was going through an embellishment juggernaut, was incredibly refreshing.
I am also currently working on the Australian city series for UNSW press. Hobart was the first release, followed by Brisbane, published last week, with Sydney and Melbourne in the pipeline. What I love most about working on this series is the opportunity to source images for each cover that are a little unusual. It's been really inspiring to not be asked to design something that looks like something else. And any opportunity to avoid using the ubiquitous stock libraries has to be encouraged.
There's must be a huge publicity benefit with any series. Each book in the series points to the others in the series and collectively, the series creates a bigger impression on the general public. The plethora of serialised literature is a perfect example of how successful this can prove to be. Think Steig Laarsen, Stephanie Meyer. It makes one wonder if being part of a series can be a books' brightest selling point? And if so, is this a recent phenomenon and what are the pitfalls if any? And is there such a thing as a dream job when all is said and done, and would you do it for free?