• How do the elements of your final design represent the themes, style, and tone of When the Lights Go Out?

For the paperback, we wanted to focus more on the relationship side of the story, as it’s so key and incredibly well explored in the book. The tone needed to be approachable and relatable, so a couple sat apart from one another in a park felt right. The night sky addressed the slightly moody and emotional yet romantic tone, and it linked to the title quite nicely.

  • The design for the hardback edition was slightly more conceptual and the colours were more muted. Is there a reason why the paperback edition is slightly brighter, and the imagery is less abstract?

The brief for the hardback cover was more focused on the climate change aspect of the novel, so for the paperback we wanted to be clearer and more approachable, while changing up the messaging of the hardback cover. I would also say that the two covers very much compliment their formats; the hardback feels more beautiful and creative, and the paperback feels more direct and striking.

  • In your opinion, what are the fundamental qualities of an effective book cover?

I think designers need to be aware of the book’s target audience and market. Some covers need to make people stop in their tracks and look, whereas some need to feel close to the audience’s needs and desires. I personally like the bold use of colour, simplicity, and special print finishes.

  • As the theme of this issue is escapism, I wanted to ask if the process of designing a book cover is itself a way of escaping into another world? Do you feel like you need to immerse yourself in the narrative before you begin designing?

I don’t necessarily think you need to have read the book you’re designing a cover for, but you do need to understand what emotions need to be communicated. I often play film soundtracks that link to the book in some way while I work. I find that music can bring you to a moment or create a certain mood that can help you get into the right place to design for a specific story.

  • Finally, I’d love to know if there are any books being published this year that have particularly exciting or extraordinary covers?

There are so many it’s very hard to choose! To name a few: Matrix designed by Henry Petrides, Nightbitch designed by Suzanne Dean, The Selfless Act of Breathing designed by Charlotte Stroomer, and Cecily designed by Julia Connolly – the list is endless!