Thursday, August 9, 2012

BUTTER book jacket and interview!

Dear Readers,
i know how these posts go. i tell you i'm about to unveil the full book jacket for BUTTER, and you scroll straight past anything i write here to the picture. so let me save you the strain of scrolling and just say, TA DA!!!


guys, i am over the moon about this jacket. i love the butter yellow of the inside flaps, the little pop of color on the back and the tiny butter dishes on the spine. as i've said before in this vlog, i think the spine may be the most important part.

so who designed this awesome thing anyway?! well, her name is Regina Roff, associate designer at Bloomsbury Children's Books, and she generously agreed to give an interview here on the blog today!

Welcome, Regina!
Where do you begin when starting a cover design, and how does the process evolve from there?

Cover design doesn't always begin in the same way for every project, but ideally (at least for me) I get the pitch of the book from the editor, decide I want to tackle it, read the manuscript, come up with an idea, execute and refine the idea, and then BOOM, book cover. :) 
How many concepts did you go through for BUTTER, or did you have a specific vision at the start?

BUTTER was a challenge because any book having to do with food can easily go into the 'food memoir' imagery territory. A lot of the initial brainstorming ideas from the team were too food-centric and didn't have the edge that BUTTER needed. I really wanted to do something type driven, at first, to keep it modern and interesting and not get hung up on the food aspect. I actually only went through 2 concepts: 1 type driven and the final that we ended up with. It was one of those serendipity moments where one photo search led to another which led to another which led to the idea.
I love all the little details on the jacket for BUTTER, such as the measurements just like you would see on a stick of butter wrapper. When do those details come into the design process?

For me, those details happen when the editor gives me the flap copy, a little later in the process. Before the measurements ended up on the jacket, I had a whole 'nutritional facts' design on the back with the reviews in the space where the ingredients go. It was decided that was a little to humorous for the book, so I brainstormed a bit more and thought that the measurements would be an interesting and minimal design element that could tie everything together visually without overloading on the butter dish. It made me think about the additive process of Butter's food list and there was something macabre to me about the idea of literally 'cutting butter'.
How did you get into cover design? I imagine you have to be a book lover.

I am a total, absolute, crazy book person! Even before I could even read, I loved books. There was something magical to me that books had whole worlds living inside of them. I was always artistic and loved to paint and draw, so when I wasn't reading, I was usually painting. I went to college to pursue a degree in illustration and while I was there I fell into book design from taking my illustrations and putting them into layouts for presentations. I realized I loved making the layouts just as much as making the art, so I shifted gears and went headfirst into trying to start a design career. I managed to get my first design job a few months after graduation and have been loving it ever since.

How many people have input into a cover, and how does that impact the final product?
A LOT of people have cover input and that can really shape how a cover evolves. First and foremost is the opinion of our fabulous art director, Donna Mark. I go to her with my ideas before presenting them to the editors. The editors have a huge say in the book covers and generally decide if the cover ideas are aligned with how they want the book to be positioned. In addition to the editors, the sales and marketing team also look at the cover and decide if the look is good and fits into where the book should be positioned in the market. Finally, the book buyers have the final yes/no as to whether they'll take the book and oftentimes a good cover means a bigger buy. Never say that you don't judge a book by its cover! At any point if one of those parties decides the cover isn't working, it gets thrown back to the designers to rework. It's a really collaborative process and sometimes covers evolve quite a bit during the process of moving it through all the necessary channels. For BUTTER, it was simple: aside from teeny tweaks like kerning letters and author name fonts, BUTTER was loved by all!

What's your favorite part of the BUTTER cover? (my fave is the spine. love the tiny butter dishes, and i always say the spine is almost more important than the front!)
The front cover is my favorite part because I feel like the cover is a little like telling the story in a visual poem. BUTTER is simple and graphic, so it's like a visual haiku and I love that about this cover. You don't get bogged down in imagery, it's direct and engaging. Also, it's not a sad girl in a big dress (which, while beautiful and definitely has its place on the shelf, is a trend I'm getting tired of)!! You're absolutely right about the spine though, it can sometimes be more important, especially if you're not shelved face-front. I'm glad you like the spine so much!

Thanks for letting me talk about working on BUTTER. I had a great time reading it and a great time designing it!

Thanks, Regina, for stopping by the blog and for this fabulous cover. I am so thrilled!!

You can find Regina Roff online at and on Twitter: @reginaroff


Jill Marie said...

This is a really neat inside look!
And I just love the cover of Butter :D
I can not wait to read it.
Thanks so much for sending me a bookmark Erin!

Mrs. McClune said...

As a librarian, I absolutely agree the spine is critical. Butter's is perfect! Easy to read and some snappy visual art, too.

Rebecca said...

I LOVE the cover and bet it looks even more awesome in person! The team who designed this deserves a huge hug, because they've done a great job! :)

erinjade said...

Thanks all! I think Regina really knocked it out of the park. I feel very lucky. :)