Explaining Cameron’s Comeback: A Cover Conundrum

We’ve been working on another cover design conundrum. After each general election, Sir Robert Worcester – doyen of political analysis and opinion polling – joins with his colleagues at MORI to produce the definitive guide to the campaign and the underlying trends behind the outcome. The series dates back to 1997 and we’re proud to be publishing the latest in the series, Explaining Cameron’s Comeback, in January.

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But how to maintain some continuity with the previous four books in the series, while also coming up with a fresh and striking look? We wanted to keep the cartoon theme – but oddly, there are very few political cartoonists who have really ‘got’ David Cameron (and those that have caught something of his essence, such as Stve Bell, are a little bit too scathing – and rude – for our purposes)
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In the end, we’ve gone for a riff on the second design – a really bod, authoritative title, but with the cartoon – by The Times’ Peter Brookes – to reflect the way the content is very accessible and has wry touches of humour too. And we found a fun new font – Newsflash BB – to give the title a bit of distinction. And it always helps to have a couple of big names giving their endorsements on the front cover to round it off!

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Getting it Right: or, The Perils of Proof-reading

It’s said that six out of every ten books published have errors not in the content, but in production – spelling, layout, punctuation, and so on. And it’s an odd thing that, however many times you check before it goes to press, it only takes a few seconds to spot those errors when you unpack the first box back from the printers. Yet getting it right isn’t just about pedantry: errors can spoil the enjoyment of a book, and (particularly in non-fiction) undermine the reader’s confidence in the content.

2015-12-04 12.24.04We were very conscious of this with ‘Latitude North’ because the author, Charles Moseley, knows just as much about the craft of making books as he does about writing them. He was an editor with Cambridge University Press, and he was also a trained printer, so would be sure to spot even  glitches such as inconsistent use of en and em dashes. And because ‘Latitude North’ ranges so widely over the culture and literature of the Scandinavian lands, as well as descriptions of the places he has visited himself, we also had a range of titles, technical terms and place-names to get right, in various Scandinavian languages, and using the right letters (yes, including runes).

Then there’s fact-checking. Should it be ‘skidoo’ of ‘Skidoo’? Is ‘omen aberat’ the correct way to make a pun in Latin on the obedience of your gun dog (and we had to go to a Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Durham University for that).

You can judge for yourself if we’ve got it right – and there’s a prize for the first reader to tell us what we missed.