Under the Covers

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Book Cover designs by Megan Wilson.

I just finished reading Five Questions for Vintage Art Director/ Designer Megan Wilson in Under the Covers. Megan Wilson is an art director at Vintage/Random House. She was born in NY but grew up in England. For the past twenty years, she’s lived in New York City. Her specialty is literary classics. It seems that one of the reasons Megan Wilson likes working with classics, is because the artists aren’t around anymore to complain, give their own input, or for Megan to explain her ideas to. She says, “because of who the authors are, they require no explanation; no author of or prize winner lines and no quotes. No authors to complain or send in their own bits of art.” She likes to use fine art and old images to create her book designs but they still feel modern. Megan says, “there is no reason why classics should all be set up with an identical panel accompanied by a dark and deadly sombre painting.” A lot of times, when I think about classic novels, I tend to picture this image, of an old painting in a frame with a title. I appreciate that she breaks this stereotype when she designs her book covers.

Something I love about Megan Wilson’s designs, is that they have a vintage look but still feel modern. She often uses a vintage image or idea but pairs it with a modern text or a modern use of display. I especially love the cover for The Letters of Noel Coward. The text is beautiful and the way it forms the smoke cloud is fun and ties the title in with the image.

“I use fine art more than the average cover designer and that is probably because of Duncan and a love of art history at school. There is so much out there that is brilliant and totally forgotten or unknown; a goldmine if one knows where to find it.” This is pretty cool. I would’t think to look back at old works to create a modern image. I like that she refers to these paintings as a goldmine. A lot of us don’t use these types of images in our current designs, and we just might be missing out!

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