by Charlotte Strick Part of my job as Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s Paperback Art Director is the repackaging of books from our illustrious backlist. Rose Macaulay’s The Towers of Trebizond resulted in one of my favorite recent redesigns. To start, we typically mine our company’s massive library archive to see how the title was packaged over the decades. Sometimes there’s a hidden gem sitting on the shelves that’s been waiting to be rediscovered. In 1954, when our company was known as Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, the first edition hardcover of Macaulay’s novel boasted a jacket illustration and design by the venerable Milton Glaser, who is responsible for several of my favorite mid-century FSG jackets, but this one wasn’t as bold or as graphic as those others. The trusty internet turned up a more abstract solution by one of my design heroes, Alvin Lustig. Published in paperback by Meridian Fiction in 1960, it sold for a mere $1.35. Over the years, there had also been different photographic cover treatments by other publishing houses that took less artful approaches, trying perhaps to appeal to more contemporary audiences.
I sat down with three designers over coffee and muffins to talk about how they came to their jobs, and where they think the industry is headed. Susan Mitchell is Senior Vice President and Art Director at FSG; Charlotte Strick is Art Director, also at FSG; and Henry Sene Yee is Creative Director at Picador. —Ryan Chapman, Online Marketing Manager "I’m not just here to create something beautiful. Sometimes I’m here to be a plumber."