Jason Booher | AAS GD Faculty & Alumni is featured in AIGA article

A Graphic Designer on Why You Should Always Judge Books by Their Covers

Margaret Rhodes
March 2, 2015

These days, the screen is king. So it’s a (delightful) surprise when designer Jason Booher says, with zero hesitation, that “being a book cover designer is possibly the best job in the world.” Booher is the art director of Blue Rider Press, one of Penguin Book’s imprints, and the mind behind many of its most inventive book covers.

Booher_Lord of the flies

It’s easy to see why Booher is so enamored of his profession. Novels naturally lend themselves to illustration, so coming up with the best solution for a few square inches of real estate must be an especially savory visual challenge for a designer. Booher is especially suited to the job. As a kid, he wanted to have a career as a high school English teacher, but when that didn’t pan out, he found his way to design by way of graphic novels. Then a lucky break landed him a stint at the art department at Penguin, and things came full circle. It became his job to read manuscripts and analyze them—for cover designs, not a captive lit class.The key to creating stellar covers, according to Booher, is to first throw out the tired adage about not judging books by them. “Graphic design is really about selling things,” he says. Lest that sound soulless, the good news here is that Booher is selling other people’s creative ideas. And while every book is unique, Booher says he starts by reading the six or so manuscripts he gets per season, and then mentally digests them all. “You read it, you try and find the soul of the book, something that makes it special, and make it come alive,” he says.


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4 thoughts on “Jason Booher | AAS GD Faculty & Alumni is featured in AIGA article”

  1. In his class, I learned that uniqueness and creativity are from the individual way to understand(or analyze) the contents. I really love his expression “mentally digests”. He always asked us “What makes this work great?”. This question was very difficult and I spent kind of long time to find my original answer. But once I could find it, the project must go well ! He is great teacher.

    By the way, I am very interested in different perception I can see though covers in different culture. When I came here, I surprised that some covers were far from my impression of the books. For example, Japanese cover of “one hundred years of solitude” is black and white color (focused on the word SOLITUDE) and so silent but emotional.

    However US version is colorful, tropical and fun. I don’t know which is right (there is no answer) but I realized how much cover effects my reading experience.
    American covers for Haruki Murakami are much prettier than Japanese but feels strange to me.

    On the other hand, I totally agree with cover series for Kobo Abe by John Gall ! perfectly captured the soul of the books!

  2. Your cover design for Lord of The Flies makes me want to pick up that classic and read it again. The design is so fresh and mysterious. And, Salter’s poems – well – you made me hear beautiful words without me reading one verse.

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