Cover story

Shackleton’s Man Goes South, cover jpegShackleton’s Man Goes South, square thumbnail

I wanted to quickly share the cover of my latest novel Shackleton’s Man Goes South, which is published by the Science Museum on 24 April as their Atmosphere Gallery commission for 2013 (replacing David Shrigley’s ‘House of Cards’). The cover has been beautifully designed by the Museum’s Design Studio, with a central title by the brilliant Jake Tilson. I love Jake’s work and can’t think of anyone better at producing a dynamic logotype. Maybe I will try and find a way to write more about our collaboration in due course.

It used to be that a cover was a cover was a cover — one fixed and portrait-format rectangle — but not any more. What seems to be needed these days is a ‘cover kit’ that can be adapted for the multitude of differently proportioned screens, formats and files required, so that the cover can tell its story clearly across platforms, rather than forever being awkwardly cropped and shoe-horned into wrong-sized or shaped windows.

ProofIn this case the ‘kit’ comprises Jake Tilson’s dynamic graphic device, a couple of simple colour-gradients, my name, the Science Museum logo, and an advance quote. In the Science Museum context there is an additional imperative to be clear that this is a work of fiction. All recognisably framed by the Museum’s house style, and all designed to be adjusted for B-format paperback, audiobook/MP3 thumbnail, the differently proportioned ebook covers, Twitter or Facebook profile photos, etc.

Finished copies are due back very soon, but I met with Charles Boyle a week or so ago to give the imposition proof a once-over, over a quick and tasty lunch at Shepherd’s Bush’s finest, the Abu Zaad on Uxbridge Road. So here, while Charles and I wait for some of the tastiest shish in town, is a still-life with mint tea and printer’s proof.

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