This one required a lot of tweaking to make sure people got the idea readily. One of the last 08 covers - what a year!

Opening Doors Wider

Edited by Sylvia Bashevkin

This is another one of those covers where the title drives the design.

Maisonneuve magazine

The Alcoholhic Monkeys of St. Kitts

I found this in my files when I was cleaning out my office. Maisonneuve is a Montreal based magazine - New Yorker with edge. It was kind of a dream job for a designer. I redesigned the entire magazine from front cover to back including the masthead. It is still going strong today. Check it out.

A Fragile Social Fabric?

Raymond Breton et al.

This cover must have taken an entire day to produce. I literally had to thread each of those needles in photoshop.

Culture and Consumption

Grant McCracken

Book cover as disposable piece of packaging.

Interview with Christopher Tobias

I just did an interview with Christopher Tobias that you can check out here. He is a very talented cover designer and you can check out his own covers here


White and Wilbert, editors

This cover plays off another cover I did recently. I find this happens quite frequently where cover solutions build and play off each other.

The Jugger

Richard Stark

Number 4 in this series. A jugger is a safecracker.

In the Shadow of the Giant

Joseph Contreras

Gay Male Pornography

Christopher N. Kendall

I would put this cover into the "type only with a twist" category.

From the brief: "The mother, Isabel, pays the rent with an all-night job delivering newspapers out of her van. And the climactic section involves a kind of quest road trip in which Isabel, now 20, and her grandmother set out in a Volvo on a quest to find Isabel’s mother. Eventually they do find her and her van alongside a prairie road. She’s burning papers from her life alongside the road."

My first idea which really intrigued me was to use the open doors of the black van referred to in the novel as symbolic open arms. I spent a lot of time trying to find an image of a van shot from above with the doors open to no avail. I finally found a site that had diecast models of cars for sale with doors that opened and I ordered a Ford Econoline black van. I had to pick it up from my U.S. postal box and when declaring it on the way back over the border, I got involved in a conversation with the custom guy who was really into cars. For about 30 seconds there I actually felt like I was one of the guys, talking about cars. In the end he had a hard time understanding what the hell it was, that I was planning to do with it. I think he is still trying to figure it out.

The publisher in the end wanted this novel to tie into another novel by the same author that had just been shortlisted for a literary prize so we went in another direction, still using the van though. Prairie landscapes with blue skies always seem kind of corny to me. The final version has a blackened sky which works.

Final cover

This catalogue cover concept owes a debt to Woody Pirtle's great 1989 poster for the UCLA summer studies program. He crafted a palm tree out of an open book. This is book as flower for MQUP's spring 2009 catalogue. The photographs of Cara Barer also served as inspiration for this cover as well.

This is one of my recent covers. It gets my vote for the best subtitle of all time.

Suburban Legends

Joan Crate

From the brief: "the book makes an analogy between a suburban wife who is dealing with loneliness, divorce, aging, and copious amounts of winter (tons of winter imagery in this book, which I'd love for the cover to pick up on), and the character of Snow White, who sacrificed everything for the dwarves and was replaced by newer, flashier, fantasy figures.

This is the first sketch I presented.

In the end we opted for a more simplified approach with a more modern feel.

An Irish History of Civilization

Don Akenson

This is a two volume series. There is nothing that original about having an image go over two covers in a series but in this case it seemed a nice way of using the image of the man in a boat on an Irish river. The boat in this case is called a 'coracle' and is specific to Ireland and Wales.

I had sort of given up on using references to constructivism on a book cover design mainly because it has been done so many times. However in this case the authors asked for a Canadiana version of Soviet constructivist graphics so I went for it.

I just got asked to submit cover designs to a design competition where the entries only use classic fonts and I was reminded of this quote by Vignelli. I only use about 4 or 5 different fonts on most of my cover designs. They are, in no particular order:

New Baskerville (will go with me to the grave)
Trade Gothic
New Century School Book


Christopher Willard

From the brief:
Sundre is a town in Alberta. The cover for this novel is challenging because we don’t want Prairies and grain elevators, the big sky, etc, even though they figure in the story, because the book is really about a husband and wife talking about the past—but they are both dead.

In a nutshell the concept is headboard as tombstone.

Hugh MacLennan Series

Here are the final two in this series. Each Man's Son is a novel set in Cape Breton in a coal mining community. It features a violent death near the end of the novel. The son's father, a failed boxer, kills his mother. The image of the coal cart underground evokes a coffin

The Return of Sphinx is a novel about a prominent Canadian politician whose career is destroyed when his son gets involved in the separatist movement in Quebec and is arrested for making a bomb. The revolt of youth against parental authority. The crushed smoking pipe seems like the right image to suggest this.

I couldn't put my finger on why the image of the canoe viewed from above on the cover of The Watch That End's the Night resonated so strongly for me. Then I realized that it reminded me of what was probably the seminal book of my childhood, Paddle to the Sea. An indian boy carves a wooden canoe and leaves in on a mountain top in the spring. The book follows its journey to the sea.

Pedaling Revolution

Jeff Mapes

A straight up solution for this cover seemed to be what was called for. The tricky part was finding the right cyclist. I must have gone through about 800 Royalty Free stock images to find a cyclist that didn't look like a Tour de France wannabe.

I think this approach is interesting because the two pairings are not how they originally seem to appear.

Bush’s Law

Eric Lichtblau

Very simple idea but it seemed perfect for this cover.

Just got approved. This is a poetry cover and this is the part of the poem that inspired it:

...It’s the doorstopper-
ability of phonebooks,
the necessary tubing
that defines
the nothing blowing
thru ducts.
It’s the word “through”
spelled with “u.”
It’s all such
pure products.
This one just went through. That is a book on the cover believe it or not.

The Art of Living Series

Two more in this ongoing series

This cover just got approved. It will be printed on semi translucent paper over a printed case. It is the story a marijuana smuggler in the caribbean. The smuggler's name appears in the negative spaces of the marijuana leaves on the printed case. The three horizontal lines represent the distinguishing markings they but on their shipments.

Blood Pudding

Art Corriveau

This is a book of short stories. The title story was the inspiration for the cover. The lead character Paul had a Mémère (word for grandmother in Quebec) and he remembers a painful episode from this childhood. "She sat in that rocking chair in the kitchen. I was always afraid to find her in there alone. She would pull up her dress so that I could stand closer to her, between her legs. She would call me her little bonhomme. Would kiss me on the lips..." I ordered this vintage apron online and photographed it for the cover.

I am still working on this one. A little more tweaking required but the idea is there.

This is an illustration I did for a cover about the use of wire-tapping on American cititzens. I am working on a second concept which I think will be the chosen one in the end.

Another one for the salon des refusés
I am working on this one right now. It is a book of poetry. This jar of used birthday candles is in one of my cupboards and I've been waiting for the right book to use it on.

Good to a Fault

Marina Endicott

This book is short listed for a Giller prize. The main character is an older woman who is involved in a car accident with another vehicule. From the back cover: "Absorbed in her own failings, Clara Purdy crashes her life into a sharp left turn, taking the young family in the other car along with her. When bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late-stage cancer, Clara—against all habit and comfort—moves the three children and their terrible grandmother into her own house." She becomes a surrogate mother to the children which as the novel progresses gives her life a new richness and meaning. It is fleeting however as the mother of the children eventually recovers and takes back her children.

The idea for this cover came from a wall in our house where our kids marked their heights from an early age. I am sure the same wall can be found in any house with children. In the case of the wall markings on the cover there is only one or two entries, as it were, because the children were not there long enough. Her experience echoes that of any parent. Your children pass through your life and then they are gone, leaving behind only remnants of their presence.

Everything You Know about Indians Is Wrong

Paul Chaat Smith

This has already been posted but there are two updates. The author gave his approval and I made contact with the photographer who is letting me use the image. Here is what the author had to say: "The solution you've provided combines the issues of representation, history, museums, and art in one striking and elegant package. Although my approval is not required, if it were this concept has my enthusiastic endorsement." Part of what I love about doing cover design is where a design can take you. I often find images all over the internet and with a bit of determination I can usually track down the photographer and get permission to use the image. It presents a nice alternative to only relying on Royalty Free stock. Thanks to faboo mama for the photograph. Check out her blog.

2nd option presented


Jennifer P. Matthews

The publisher wanted something punchy and fun as befits the subject. It took a bit of convincing but the the repeating cover type, which is kind of key for the packaging concept, made it into the final design.

This is the art that I used to create new pack.

Fair Bananas

Henry J. Frundt

The "banana type" one below was the first one I presented but in the end the simpler and stronger concept won out.