Peter Mendelsund NPR Interview Reaction

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(Photo from New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/portrait-cover-artist-interview-peter-mendelsund)

“I’m very heartened these days to find, in fact, people still really want physical books.”

“I’m very interested in what the authors project is.” From the beginning of this NPR interview, Peter Mendelsund is describing how he designs a cover for a book. Mendelsund is very articulate in the interview, describing how a book designer needs to make a visually appealing cover in order for the book to be sold. I agree with his statement that a book cover needs to be like a movie billboard or an advertisement billboard. The book cover represents how the book will look to the people that are purchasing the book, and it needs to be visually appealing to stand out in a store/marketplace.

“Dead authors get the best book jackets.”

“I make the design. I print it out. I wrap it around a book. I leave it on my bookshelf face out, and then I willfully try to forget about it. One of the things about making anything is in order to discern whether what you’ve made is working or not, you need some objectivity. You need some distance from it.” I feel that this sums up the whole interview because as a book designer, Mendelsund gives some basic advice on how to design a book cover, and how he has to print it out and look at it on a shelf, like someone purchasing the book would.

“I think there are two primary jobs that a jacket has to do: It has to represent a text and it has to sell it.”

I enjoyed listening to this interview, it gave me a whole new perspective on looking at book covers.

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