Random House's Modern Library came out with a new series reissues for some of Truman Capote's classic works. We talked to the designer, Eric White, to look into what was behind the design for the new book covers.
In your own words, what are these books about?
That is for the reader to find out!
What was the mood, theme or specific moment from the text you depicted with the covers?
Capote's charm and insight, his precision, and the sophistication of his era in American culture.
What inspires your design?
The art director of this series, Greg Mollica, and I were inspired by the first editions of Capote’s books published by Random House; Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood designed by the great S. Neil Fujita. We wanted to create a series that acknowledged these classic designs but still felt modern, that looked like it would fit on a shelf then and now.
What is your previous design experience, with books and otherwise?
I started in the Penguin art department, now I work at Crown Publishers at Random House.
What was the biggest challenge in designing this cover?
Trying to create something that both my grandmother and the Internet will appreciate.
Are you happy with the final decisions as it ran?
Yes, very happy. I thank the editors and publisher at Modern Library for embracing a bold, graphic approach.
What is the most important element of a successful book cover?
Boiled down simplicity.
What are some of your favorite book covers?
Henry Kissenger's ON CHINA, designed by Darren Haggar. It's just black and red type on white paper. Philip Roth's GOODBYE COLUMBUS designed by Paul Rand. The Penguin paperbacks from the 60’s and 70’s.
Do you judge books by their covers?