Jackets off exhibition
Contemporary book covers design
The cover as we know it is a recent invention. Its purpose was to protect the book from wear and tear. Giving the reader their initial impression of the book, the cover is the book’s first clue of what is inside, all based on the insights of professional readers and designers from the publishing house. The English term “jacket” sums it up well, which is a dust jacket for Italians, but also literally indicates the jacket of a suit. While not seeking to represent the text in its entirety, the cover aims to capture its spirit. Like a well-cut suit, the cover identifies and positions the book, in a style or genre.
The cover is an integral element to the entire book; inviting the reader in and giving a tantalising glimpse of what is to come.
A good cover creates intimacy between the reader and the book. When closed, the book leaves behind a familiar image but the cover is also competitive, its job is to capture our attention. Good covers will ensure that no matter how many editions of classics in the same language exist a particular edition will stand out on the shelves leading the reader to choose one edition over the other.
A well-designed cover that fulfils the brief, is sympathetic to the market and follows great design principles can tilt the choice in favour of one edition, putting the competition at a disadvantage. An ill-conceived cover – no matter how well designed – can consign a book to remainging in the warehouse. Even the best known authors use covers to expand their readership. For the publisher, it is a gamble. A bet that involves the designer, the illustrator, the photographer and the author.
The “Jackets Off” exhibition emanates from five editorial design leaders: Alice Beniero, Paul Buckley, Cecilia Flegenheimer, Jon Gray, Steven Heller. Each proposed excellent designers with whom they have collaborated and worked previously. The exhibition looks at the creative journey from start to finish with the cover as its destination. This runway of jackets will showcase new designs, original creations and reworked classics but you can be assured of quality, inspiration and the cutting edge of contemporary design.