On self-imitation


Or where Angry Robot leads, HarperCollins follows… The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson is published today in the US by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins, and if the cover looks similar to Mike Shevdon‘s recent edition of Sixty-One Nails it’s because I designed both of them. Harper’s contacted me earlier this year asking if I could adapt the Sixty-One Nails design for their new Marianne Williamson title. I was a bit unsure about accepting this at first but Ms Williamson isn’t a novelist so the books wouldn’t be appearing on the same shelves; I also said I’d prefer to create new decorative elements so there was enough difference between the new design and the earlier one. In the end the design was pared back considerably during the usual to and fro between art department and marketing people. Harper’s previous titles in this series have quasi-Victorian border designs on plain backgrounds so there needed to be some continuity. I haven’t seen a copy of the book itself yet but the last I heard the design was going to be given a foil treatment on textured paper.


It’s always an odd feeling being asked to imitate something you’ve done before. The new work often lacks the sense of accomplishment and exploration you felt earlier because you know exactly how it’s going to end up. When I started work on Mike Shevdon’s covers all I had in mind was that basic frame shape; everything else was improvised. I still prefer those earlier designs, I like the way all the details came together, and the way they look against a black background. Mike told me recently that someone picked up one of the books in a shop to look at the cover then bought the book; that’s exactly the kind of thing a cover designer (and author!) likes to hear.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The book covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Book talk
The Courts of the Feyre

3 thoughts on “On self-imitation”

  1. Oh, of course. Being asked to repeat yourself is also unavoidable if you do something that many people like, which was the case with the Mike Shevdon covers.

Comments are closed.