As homemade book trailers, promotional materials, and even book covers become more commonplace, many writers could use a course in design work.
Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Michael Salu, the artistic director at Granta–talking about the videos and cover design he worked on for the literary journal’s upcoming sex-themed issue (pictured). Before joining Granta, Salu served as senior designer at CCVP, Random House UK. He has designed book jackets for titles by Italo Calvino, Raymond Carver, and Bruce Chatwin.
Press play below to listen; Salu joined the conversation around the four-minute mark.
Here’s his advice on book trailers: “For me it’s actually trying to develop a new visual grammar. It’s a difficult thing to avoid in that kind of standard book trailer–using the grammar of television. We’re talking about literature, which is a richer source of inspiration. It’s interesting to see it from that context–using the medium of film to create emotion and atmosphere, rather than having it be too stylized or too careful.”
He also offered advice for self-published authors designing their own book covers. “I think personally my approach has been largely led by the concepts, led by the story–rather than [following] the genre or trying to make it look like something else … My work tends to be direct and straight-forward. It’s a tough thing to do if you’re not a trained designer. Keep it simple. Communicate your idea clearly, try to develop the fundamentals of image-making.”
Full disclosure: This editor has written for Granta in the past.