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From the Design Desk: Behind the Scenes of Cover Design

Have you ever picked up a book and thought to yourself, “Whoa, this cover is terrible!” Or perhaps your reaction was something like “Oh my! Its beauty is overwhelming!”

Or, perhaps you thought a bit more and said, “I wonder how they decided that this was the perfect cover?”

Truth is, it ain’t easy. Just like baseball teams, Simpsons episodes, and San Francisco taquerias, everyone has an opinion on which one is the best. And when it comes to picking a cover, there are often many, many variables that we consider, all in an effort not only to get someone to pick it up, but to make it all the way over to the cash register and slap down their hard-earned cash.

Here’s one example that I’ve always found inspirational. I wasn’t here to witness former Chronicle designer Ben Shaykin pump out all these variations for our Spring 2004 release titled How To: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know Fully Illustrated, but there must have been smoke coming out of his Mac, cuz damn, this is some serious production. It’s a real testament to Ben’s ingenuity, determination, and caffeine intake.

Enjoy.

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Jake Gardner
Senior Designer

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