We're extremely pleased to have one of our favourite designers, Dafi Kühne, sharing his thoughts on book cover design with us this week. We've been in awe of his book, ‘True Print’, since it graced our shelves last year, so we thought we’d ask the man himself about his love of books in our regular feature ‘Book Lovers Favourite Covers’.
“The question ‘what is your favorite book cover?’ comes to a head once you start designing your own book’s cover. Every nice cover you’ve seen so far, every nice concept, needs to find a place on this one cover. It needs to be the ultimate cover. I guess it is a little different from designing just any book cover for a client. I have no trouble defending a good concept to a client, that one main idea is enough and my proposal is a perfect fit for them. But your own cover? It needs to be something different. But can it really?
Last year I was in the lucky situation of being able to design the cover for my own monograph ‘True Print’. Since I am a designer and letterpress printer, I wanted to show the printing process. I handprinted the 3000 covers from fresh pantograph cut wood type and the back cover blurb was printed from hand set metal type. But since the book was published in two languages (German and English), the type case I was using didn’t have enough sorts to typeset both versions at the same time. So I had to redistribute the metal type after the German version had been printed and then reset the English version.
The acetate dust jackets have also been letterpress printed from metal reglets, normally used to lock up type. These elements distort the original display type and act like censor bars on the back cover. The clean, black and white book cover and the distorted elements represent the dichotomy of using old techniques, that don't necessarily look old, in my printed work.
It was hard to design my own cover and restrain myself from using too many ideas. I had to step back and remind myself of what I keep telling my clients. One main concept is enough."