Over the past decade I’ve designed jackets and covers for literary pixie and maverick Sheila Heti’s previous books The Middle Stories and Ticknor. Designing for Sheila is always a challenge and a blast. I feel I have to live up to the risk-taking literary nature of her writing. How Should A Person Be? was no different. I found my self substituting Book Cover for Person in the title for my own purposes and inspiration.
The end result combines a black case holding the title and author name in a white stamp and a (little less than) half jacket sporting an unflattering and telling snapshot of Sheila and Margaux, the main characters in the novel. The image obsessively repeats over and over. The jacket sitting at the base of the book obscures Sheila’s oversized name. In doing so the typography reflects Sheila’s longing for fame and her subsequent struggles with it.
Perhaps speaking to the book’s title, perhaps representing the book’s two main characters, I purposely mismatched the dots over the i’s in Sheila’s name.
Sheila asked if I could somehow create end papers that would harken tacky wallpaper of Miami hotel rooms, linking to an early and important chapter in the book. I researched existing wallpaper and imagery but nothing was quite right so I created this front and back set from scratch. It was the perfect element to tie the whole package together.