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A tale of two covers: David Drummond on designing both editions of Good to a Fault

I designed the book cover for both the first and second editions of this book. The first one is actually very minimalist in tone, which is characteristic of my work. I wanted to find an image that showed a remnant of human presence or preserved memory.

I remember I was feeling stumped about finding the appropriate image when I had to go into the kitchen of our old farmhouse to load the wood stove, and I passed the wall where my kids had been recording their heights since they were very young.

 I knew right away that I had found the right image for the cover. In the final art I added in the markings on the wall in the stock photo used for the cover (at left). There is an added layer of meaning in that there is not a multitude of markings over time as is the case with the wall from my kitchen. It is a snapshot of a brief period in the central character's life.

It is not usual for the same designer to work on the hardcover and trade paperback editions of the same book but I jumped at the opportunity to take another crack at the same material. The publisher loved the first edition but wanted a bolder approach for the trade paperback -- less quiet and reserved.

I knew from the start that I wanted to focus on a car window with a child inside, which is key to the beginning of the novel. I liked the idea of just showing the child's hand -- handsurfing on the wind or waving.

I found a good stock image of the type of car I wanted. It had to be an older model, which made the search a little difficult. In the first sketch I presented, I added in a child's hand but couldn't get the perspective right. In the end I photographed my daughter's lovely hand in the window of our car and added it into the stock image of the car. I am sure all cover designers put their own lives and experiences into their covers.

 I live in a 200-year-old farmhouse in rural Quebec on 140 acres of land. I spend my days designing book covers for publishers in North America and the U.K. What I really strive for in my cover designs is to express a complex idea in the simplest terms possible. I try and find a visual hook that will pull viewers in and, I hope, make them pick up the book.


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