Bird out of water

The final design for the often hilarious One Bird’s Choice. The subtitle nicely sums this one up. I needed to find a way of quickly relating the crux of the story while hitting the proper note and being cognizant not alienate too much of the readership by going too alt or indie even though the book has its leanings in that direction. After searching high and low for fitting footwear to represent the books main characters and the perfect welcome mat (a tough find, thanks Walmart) I set up this little still life (shot by Edward Pond). I fashioned a guinea fowl (that's the butt ugly bird on the cover who lives with Iain’s parents on their farm) footprint out of putty and stamped a trail of muddy bird prints leading from the back cover to the welcome mat. A subtle typographic detail; the two little red dingbat dots on either side of the author’s name are meant to represent his parents whereas the red apostrophe in the word Bird’s harkens Iain and the red a connection to the bird.

When I saw this photo of the author Iain Reid I immediately started laughing and chomping at the bit to make a fitting cover out of it. The photo, to me projected a classic portrait of a lost twenty-something in the 21st century. By using the type bar as a blindfold the author was obscured just enough. Plus Iain looked like he had just walked off the set of a Wes Anderson film. The treatment was ultimately deemed too “alternative” but it did lead to some typographic solutions that worked well on the final cover.


  1. Bloody brilliant. I love that you explain how you did the designs. But I have to say, even though the final cover is awesome too, the one with him on it (Wes Anderson film, I thought the very same!!) is HILARIOUS, and my fave. What's wrong with alternative?

  2. my sentiments exactly, Steph.
    BTW, I just added you to my links list.

  3. Thank you! Sorry I'm seeing this a month later. Was just checking out the design for Heti's book.

    I told Anansi that lately it seems every time I see a design I like, it's by you!

    Off to check out your farm blog. You're not pulling a Reid, are you? :)

  4. Scratch that; I remember you moved to the farm...sans parents, I imagine. :) Sigh. Jealous of your rural life.

  5. I've just finished reading "One Bird's Choice". I really enjoyed the book, I also fell in love with its cover. I love its symbolism - a little footwear/footprint still-life representing the whole story. I noticed the red dots but didn't understand their significance - really like the idea of them representing Iain's parents.
    There's one thing I can't agree with you on - Lucious (the guinea fowl) is beautiful! :)
    A great cover! Big thanks!!

  6. Hey Agata, Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the book and its jacket. And, yes, you're right. The guinea fowl is kinda cute.