Roadmap: Calvino – Jack Smyth

Posted 4 weeks ago in Arts and Culture

Music Current 20 mar-15 apr – Desktop

“Designing a cover for one of your favourite authors is always tricky, and designing 32 of them is almost impossible. My approach was simplicity – keep the type set, let the necessary details occupy the corners and then go to town on an illustration in the centre. Each is made from graphic shapes mixed with some hand drawn element.

They’re all based on an idea, a subverted visual or a double image, they’re playful like Calvino’s writing. I wanted to engage people with the illustrations, to make them stop and have a second look, give them something else to find in there. 

When coming up with the ideas for each cover, I found that the best way was not to think too directly about the book. I read the story or manuscript and then tried not think about it for a few days. It’s sort of like a magic eye picture – you have to only half think about it before you can see what the illustration could be.

The covers are all printed in three inks – two Pantones + black, a restriction that helped to tie the whole series together.

They’re being published by Mondadori in Italy for the centenary of Calvino’s birth which takes place this year.”

Jack Smyth


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