Great Stories Covered by HarperCollins Australia

Recently, HarperCollins Australia has been talking a lot about what we do as publishers … discovering, or uncovering, great stories for everyone. It’s more than just a theme, it’s our purpose.

But covering these stories is just as important to us as UNcovering them, as it’s how readers often work out which story is right for them. This is where great book design, and book designers, comes in … something we’re proud to acknowledge and champion through our daily work with award-winning in-house and freelance book designers (like the four featured here) as well as our ongoing support of the Australian Book Designer’s Association and the important work they do.

Micaela Alcaino on designing The Good Wife of Bath by Karen Brooks

I felt honoured to have been able to design and illustrate this book cover. I fell in love with the story when reading the manuscript as it was just SO beautifully written, with the story taking the reader along for the journey with our protagonist, Eleanor, from youth to older age.

We wanted to reflect the journey she takes – from her modest beginnings to riches – on the cover design, with the gold path winding through different periods of her life. With illuminated manuscripts being a heavy inspiration for this cover (and having the opportunity to use foil) I chose to foil the green leaves of the trees as I thought that this reflected the delicate nature of Eleanor’s riches as well as Karen’s many references to nature. 

Jessica Cruickshank on designing Eliza Vanda’s Button Box by Emily Rodda

It’s such a delight and honour to work from a manuscript loaded with so many beautiful details, and especially one from a legendary Australian children’s author. I loved teaming up again with book designer Hazel Lam again (as well as the wider HarperCollins kids team) in bringing this story to life, detail by detail.

Sandy Cull on designing We Were Not Men by Campbell Mattinson

I generally approach every new fiction book in the same way: read, research, render and then … I mostly just cross my fingers. This brief mentioned: ‘big, beautiful, moving, attention-grabbing’; ‘avoid images of swimming’; and ‘take inspiration from sunshine, honey & water’. But in researching the author, I discovered his incredible talent for not just writing, but for photography and filmmaking, which lead me to wrongly assume that this might be a photographic cover design.

Most crucially, the brief also included a link to the authors deeply moving short film ‘Dissatisfaction; A Thirty-Year Road to Redemption’, about his prolonged and dramatic journey with writing this story. Campbell’s dogged labour, not to mention his eloquent prose, made this a daunting, yet wonderful challenge. How carefully I wanted to tread with his 30-year quest!

In addition, much of ‘We Were Not Men’ is set where I live. Perhaps me being a local might have helped crystallise the direction because, to my delight, the final cover was my very first concept. I had a frisson of excitement as this concept emerged on my screen and a gut feeling that it might be worth getting feedback early. I sent a brief explanation; ‘the golden swirls relate to honey, the mother’s hair, water rushing towards one another; and are mirror images of each other, like twins’, along with a photo of my copy of Michel Faber’s book ‘The Book of Strange New Things’, covered in copper/gold foil on blue.

The linework for ‘We Were Not Men’ is a simple black and white stock vector, but in order to create continuous line-work over the full cover, I had to repeat the image and then spend hours in Illustrator removing and flattening paths and overlaps. I declared to anyone who would listen that it was the most demanding finished art I’d ever created. 

Andy Warren on designing Trivial Grievances by Bridie Jabour

I felt like Bridie had so eloquently captured what I’d been thinking, my friends and I had been discussing and what the other generations had been screaming to the hills about; what exactly is going on with 30-somethings? We’ve been typecast as an anxious and stunted mob, but why?

I felt heard, comforted and at times targeted when reading Trivial Grievances. I tried to summarise it all in this tongue-in-cheek cover that to me, represents the resilience of my fellow 30-somethings. We’re somewhat ready for the world, always on guard but looking bloody fab as we figure it out.

To read more from each designer about their cover designs follow HarperCollins Design Studio to see more of the great design work they do everyday.