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Under The Cover: Exploring English


25-09-2012 09:00

Designing every new cover is a challenge – but when you have to incorporate an existing iconic design, things get even trickier! Graham Thew is the man behind our revamped editions of Exploring English and Soundings. So how did he find returning to his old schoolbooks and giving them a new look?

 

1. Did you have any memories of the original Exploring English and Soundings?
I do remember almost total bafflement at John Milton balanced nicely with a relatively firm grasp of the likes of Patrick Kavanagh.

 

2. Exploring English was of course originally a schoolbook, but this time you had to make it appealing to a general audience. What did you want to convey with the cover?
The cover needed to hit an immediate chord with those that had loved (or loathed) it in school. Ideally it had to immediately transport one back whilst being obvious that this was a new edition.

 

3. With most covers you have a certain amount of freedom but this time you had to incorporate the book’s original design. What were the challenges of working on a cover like this?
The main issue was to remain faithful to the original design but give it a twist. There were a number of ways of approaching this, varying in tone from respectful to humorous. Happily, the laughs won out ...

 

4. Did you doodle on the covers of your own schoolbooks, and if so, what were those doodles like?
Only ever in the interests of improving the somewhat reserved cover designs of the period. I do recall seamlessly changing the title of that 80’s classic, Senior Biology, to something very rude with only a black biro and a misguided spirit of adventure.



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