Behind the Covers: Leah Jacobs-Gordon

How did you become a cover designer?

After graduating from university I initially, and still do, work as a branding and packaging designer, but I had always loved to read (my first job was actually as a librarian) and loved book cover design. So when looking for a new job I decided to take a risk and change from brand designer to cover designer. Although I wasn't successful in getting the full-time job one of the publishers I applied to work for offered me the opportunity to do some freelance work with them - and the rest is history! That was four years ago and I'm still surprised at how much that side of my work has grown. Show us one of your favourite covers that you’ve ever designed.

What was your process?

I began by thoroughly reading through the brief and picking out any keywords I thought were relevant. The book was quite abstract in concept so I took my lead from that and began to do extensive research on both abstract and commercial styles which I thought were appropriate. From there I began to sketch out a few of my favourite concepts before taking them onto photoshop/illustrator and turning them into fully-fledged initial ideas. How many concepts did you create and how long did it take?

I usually only send between 3-6 concepts but due to the book being so interesting with so many visual elements that could be explored I remember being really inspired and ending up sending over at least 8! It took around 2 and a half weeks from the briefing. Were there any finishes?

The cover benefited from a double cover so I had to keep this in mind when designing any of the concepts. What is the most important aspect of a cover design brief?

I would say it depends on the book and whether the client is looking for something more commercial or artsy. When commercial I'd say simple things like the location or character description. When artsy I'd say all of the abstract and symbolic elements that you wouldn't know about unless you had read the book.

What book - in any genre, past or present - would you love to create a cover for?

I'd say something super Afro-futuristic and possibly YA like Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. What are you reading?

The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini Name a talented cover designer who doesn’t get enough credit.

Dominique Jones (insta: @iamdominiqueee), Holly Ovenden (insta: @hollydrawsinink) and Ben Prior (insta: @benpriordesign).

Leah Jacobs-Gordon is a freelance book cover designer.


Instagram: @leahjacobsgordon_books

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