Type designer Seb Lester was commissioned by JD Salinger’s publisher Hamish Hamilton last year to work on a set of new book covers for the reclusive author’s titles. Here are Lester’s initial ideas for two different stylistic approaches, and the four finished book covers – which were all approved by the author before he passed away last month.

It turns out that JD Salinger had some very basic (and strict) rules about how he wanted his book covers to look. He was adamant that the only copy that should appear on his books was his name and the title of the book. No quotes or plot summary, no author biography. And definitely no marketing blurb. Just the title and his name.

Working with John Hamilton at Hamish Hamilton, Lester developed two possible directions for the covers. One was relatively conservative and classical in nature (version on the left). The other (on the right) was more specifically American in feel, a mid-twentieth century style script.

Here are the four finished book cover designs which feature Lester’s specially drawn typeface, known within Hamish Hamilton as ‘The Salinger’:

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Category: Typography