Contemporary book design trends

What makes an outstanding book cover? It has to be good to look at, hard to ignore, nice to touch – and it must be true to the spirit of the book. The process of finding the right cover design is often fraught with difficulty. Publishers, editors, marketing teams, booksellers, designers and even authors are all involved in the creative process. Design conventions can differ according to genre, market and even the country of publication. Current design trends reveal a passion for typography, and a return to the idea of the book as a tactile, crafted object.

In this presentation, a panel of contemporary designers contemplates (and upends) the old adage, 'You can’t judge a book by its cover'.

Hosted by Jane Sullivan, a literary journalist and former literary editor of The Age, the panel includes:

  • Stephen Banham, a graphic designer and proprietor of typography studio Letterbox
  • Chong Weng Ho, a graphic artist and creative director of Text Publishing
  • Natalie Winter, a HarperCollins book designer and 2006 Hachette Livre Young Designer of the Year, and
  • Mary Callahan, an award-winning book designer of over 20 years experience.

This discussion was held at the State Library of Victoria on Tuesday 5 June 2007. It was part of All About Books week, which celebrated books and, in particular, showcased the Library's permanent exhibition Mirror of the world.