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Solo Cover Art Interview

14th August 2013

MI6 grabbed a quick word with 'Solo' cover designer and Random House Creative Director, Suzanne Dean

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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How did you become involved in the project?
I am the Creative Director at Random House so look after all the cover designs for Vintage Books, including Ian Fleming's James Bond backlist, which we also publish. I started working on the project in January.

What lead you to choose graphic design and typography over traditional artwork?
I wanted to suggest the essence of the novel and the period in which it was set. The cover uses meaningful symbols and playful typography to suggest and allow room for the reader's imagination. I didn't want to show Bond or produce a filmic representation of a scene.

Do you see this cover fitting into the style of the most recent Bond novels?
Yes, very much so. We reissued all the backlist last year in Vintage Classics and we think the new jacket ties in perfectly with them. They will look good as a set on a book shelf.

Did you read the manuscript before designing the cover? What did you think?
Yes I did. I read it in January, and when it was handed to me the Editor said, "For your eyes only..." The novel is brilliant. William Boyd was the perfect choice. The details are so authentic.

You have talked about key designers who influenced you, is there any particular works that reflect your design?
I have my design heroes, Saul Bass and Alvin Lustig, who were working commercially at the time the novel was set. I took an overview of their work as my inspiration. There wasn't any one piece that I copied.

What other fonts did you consider or did you entertain creating a new font?
Folio was perfect for the job; I had used it in for the Vintage Classics Fleming backlist. And it was great to have a visual link to that series. In fact, I did so much work on the title font - the way it overlaps and shadows each letter - that it's become much more like a logo.

How complex and long was the process?
I tried a lot of things and I worked closely with the author and Ian Fleming Publications over a few months to make sure we got the final design just right.


Above: Creative Director and Artist, Suzanne Dean.

Will any of your design motifs be carried on within the design and layout of the book?
No, my brief was to focus on the cover design.

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