A career in book covers

A career in book covers

: Graphic designer David Drummond.

Elgin’s David Drummond has been producing captivating book covers for over 20 years. The Haut-Saint-Laurent local and renowned graphic artist first conceived of a cover for McGill-Queen’s University Press as a freelancer in 1995.

Since then, he founded his own internationally reaching design company, Salamander Hill Design, and has won impressive awards with the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Communication Arts Design Annual, and in the Association of American University Presses book cover design competitions.

Many of David’s covers, like Dog Ear by Jim Johnstone, where each one of the titles’ letters has a folded page corner, are clever and provoke the viewer to pause and think twice. “I see cover design, and all design for that matter, as solving a visual problem,” he says. “For me it is all about finding the visual hook that will draw the viewer in.” Draw us in he does with visual hooks like using the bridge girders to spell B for the cover of Brooklyn Poets Anthology.

Before getting his start as a book designer, David received a degree in Graphic Design and worked for many years in corporate communications and package design. He was working for Montreal’s Cossette Communications when he moved to Elgin in 1995, commuting into the city for seven years. In 2002 he founded Salamander Hill Design and has now designed some 2,500 covers. His far-reaching reputation extends to a wide range of presses and publishers, from small independents right up to big trade publishers in Canada, US, the UK, and Europe. He even designs covers for a small press in Turkey.

As for how exactly the creative process works with publishers, David explains that because of the number of projects he works on, it isn’t always possible to read entire manuscripts. He elaborates: “There is almost always a written brief to work to get the ball rolling. Every press is different. Sometimes I correspond by e-mail with art directors or editors and sometimes we talk on the phone to get a really good sense of the book before I begin the design process.”

A selection of David’s entertaining covers can be found on http://daviddrummond.blogspot.ca/ as well as at http://www.salamanderhill.com/. Watch out for some of the artist’s personal favorites: Sedaris by Kevin Kopelson, Crow’s Vow by Susan Briscoe, Dog Ear by Jim Johnstone, and Missing Link by Jeffery Donaldson.