John McConnell on design reversal

“Every sales director wants to know if they can have the title bigger. So I say, ‘The book is only six inches wide and you cannot get it any larger. I’ve blown it up as big as I can. I simply cannot get it any bigger.’ But what they really mean is, ‘Can you make my book stand out more in the shop?’ Nothing stands out in American bookshops because they treat every book as a product in its own right and they’re all screaming so loud. They have their volume knobs turned up full blast. So when you look around, it’s a blank-out, you see nothing. The trick is to go the other way. By being quiet you actually get recognition.”

— John McConnell on designing covers for Faber and Faber