JD Smith is primarily a book designer. She is also the author of Tristan and Iseult and The Rise of Zenobia, The Fate of an Emperor, editor of Words with JAM and Bookmuse, and the mother of three mischievous boys. Her can browse her website, and find her on Facebook.
What was your favourite children’s book as a child?The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, as well as many others. I loved the magical aspect of it, the venturing through a wardrobe and into another land full of creature who talked and perpetual winter.
What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?Harry Potter sounds so cliche but I do love the series. The Gruffalo too.
What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?I think they have a massive universal appeal, and they have to, because children's books are read by both children and adults - adults reading for, with and listening to their children.
How did you become a book designer?I began working for a graphic design agency when I was 17. We designed all sorts of corporate literature, company branding and so on. We did a few books, and an awful lot of magazine and brochure covers. I also wrote fiction as a hobby and ran the writers' ezine Words with JAM. So when I was made redundant 12 years later and went freelance, I naturally ended up working on a lot of books. I still work on other bits and pieces but predominantly I'll immersed in the book world and I love it.
Why do you think book covers are important?I've always said that a cover is important if an author or publisher wants to give a book it's best possible chance of commercial success. Readers do judge books by their covers, and not just for their quality, but also to gauge what's inside, whether or not they'll like the story, what books it might be similar to etc. It's a first impression with many different judgement made. That said, it depends on the reasons for publishing. Some authors who are self-publishing are really only doing it for themselves, the commercial success isn't important.
Please can you tell us 3 examples of your favourite all time book designs and why you think they are so good.Gosh. You know, I've never been asked that and it's hugely tricky. Three of my own would be The Lady's Favour. This one is so very sumptuous, and as I'm a big fan of anything historical, and especially Tudor England, this one really strikes me. Yellow Horizon is a fantasy novel and I love the the colours, the blending, and the way the images gel together. Amara's Daughter is an award-winning cover, the colour very striking, even at the smallest size. And a fourth, The Last Walk Out, is one of my all time favourites. Subtle yet striking.
As for three others, off the top of my head and more because they have stuck with me as being simple, striking and rather clever covers: Missing Men, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Great Gatsby