running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

Book Cover of the Year (S)

Friday, 19 December 2014

At this time of year I'm fairly ambivalent when it comes to reading the various 'best of' lists that appear for all the art, film, fashion, TV and comedy produced during the preceding 12 months. Music might be the exception. Whatever your era, the best music of any given year helps define certain stages of your own personal history. So music lists have always seemed worth compiling and worth reading. John Peel's Festive Fifty was the benchmark, and I guess its equivalent now is on Pitchfork or BBC6 Music.

In terms of graphic design, annual lists are very often a top ten of TV advertising, or possibly magazine or album covers. One list I'd like to see is book covers, and if anyone is compiling a 'best of' for 2014, then that's one list I'd be happy to contribute to, because the best book cover of this year (and also of 2015, given that the title is not actually due to be published until February next) is 'Girl In A Band', the long-awaited memoir of American rock musician Kim Gordon.

The erstwhile bass player in Sonic Youth and pioneer for women in rock music is finally spilling the beans about the birth of indie rock, the New York scene in the 1980s, and her life with Thurston Moore. The title of the book comes from a lyric in the song Sacred Trickster, from Sonic Youth’s final album, 2009’s The Eternal - “What’s it like to be a girl in a band/ I don’t quite understand.”

The big challenges in designing the cover of this book have all been met - capturing the laconic nihilism of Gordon's demeanour,  establishing the context of her personal journey, and tapping into the zeitgeist of Sonic Youth's considerable contribution to music and culture. If, as a graphic designer, you've ever put together a list of dream jobs, surely this would be right at the top. Perhaps you'd even get to meet the author, which I guess happened for CHIPs, who did the work. So here it is.

Source : Pitchfork.