In April, the design team for D&M Publishers swept the annual Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada, receiving 13 prizes in total. In the June issue of Q&Q, the team discusses the process behind their award-winning book designs.
I Am a Japanese Writer, by Dany LaferriÃ¨re
I wanted to play ironically with the melding of cultures and cultural stereotypes, as Dany does in the text. I thought of making a Japanese voodoo doll. It took a while to source a head for the doll. I ordered this one from Japan, and then I had to hand-stitch the body. It’s made of burlap, stuffed with fabric scraps, and it’s about a foot high. I don’t really know how to sew, and burlap isn’t the easiest thing to stitch, so the back of the doll is kind of a mess. The photo is by John Sherlock. “ Peter Cocking, art director
The Divinity Gene, by Matthew J. Trafford
I was obsessing over illustrators who specialize in hand-lettering and was waiting for an opportunity to use that aesthetic on a cover. This seemed like the perfect fit: a book of quirky, fun short stories. My first design was a type-only illustration layered atop of a string of linked paper dolls I cut out and scanned. The author and publisher felt it was too stark. I reworked the concept and began to draw characters and bits and pieces from each story, including my original string of paper dolls, which I was loath to see die. I even illustrated the author photo. “ Jessica Sullivan, senior designer
Cigar Box Banjo, by Paul Quarrington
It was daunting being asked to tackle the cover of Paul Quarrington’s memoir, especially because I hadn’t designed that many books before. I decided to focus on the aesthetics of Cuban cigar boxes because they have the lively exuberance I felt celebrated Quarrington’s achievements. The decorative ribbons provided a perfect opportunity to express the melodic nature of his career by doubling them up as music bars.
“ Heather Pringle, junior designer
Vij’s at Home, by Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij
There was talk of doing something textural to tie in with the first Vij’s cookbook. The warm, inviting wood table “ central to the authors’ family meals “ seemed like the perfect backdrop, especially because most of the interior food images were shot against it. The authors, Peter Cocking, photographer John Sherlock, and I worked together to stage the shot. The modern type treatment was chosen to balance the photo’s delicate elegance and to match the interior design.
“ Naomi MacDougall, designer