Behind the Cover: A Look at “Every Day Is a Good Day”

This week, Fulcrum book designer Jack Lenzo offers a peek inside the process of designing the cover for a special reissue of Every Day Is a Good Day.

Memorial editions are tricky things. When I heard that we were going to do a memorial edition of Wilma Mankiller’s Every Day Is a Good Day, I was a little nervous. I had just started at Fulcrum when the first edition was in progress, and I remembered quite vividly that Wilma was really insistent that she not be on the cover. Her humility made her prefer that the emphasis be on the women whose experiences she collected for the volume, and therefore one of these women, Gail Small, was chosen to be featured.

first edition cover

For the memorial edition, however, the existing cover would be confusing, with many people assuming that this was Wilma. Of course, how respectful of a memorial is it if one insists on going against her wishes? Because of these factors, we decided to concentrate on a mood rather than a person.

Finding the right tone can be challenging. Our first try felt a little too focused on the spiritual. For better or worse, everyone could identify this style as quite familiar.

first idea

Our second was perhaps a little somber. And even in silhouette, would people wonder if it was Wilma?

Idea 2

In the end, we found what we felt was a balance of the natural, the spiritual, and the contemplative that resonates within the book.

Jack Lenzo is the designer at Fulcrum. He appreciates looking out his window and seeing mountains instead of cornfields and bumper stickers that are thoughtful enough to say Naive instead of Native. Some of his favorite projects have been ones that have overlapped with and informed his own experiences in the West.

Charlie Soap, Wilma’s husband, has started a foundation to celebrate Wilma’s great legacy. Fore more information on the Wilma Pearl Mankiller Foundation, visit the foundation’s home page.

Buffalo Bill’s Final Cover Process

Today has been one of those creative days in the office. I always enjoy creative days. It’s nice to switch up putting out e-mail fires and completing follow-up with creative marketing/design project or two.

One of our Spring 2010 titles is an illustrated history of Buffalo Bill, written by Steve Friesen and using the collection at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave (in Golden, CO). The marketing team has already been having a great time getting ready for this book. We even took a field trip up to the museum this past summer to go through the collection, and get marketing schwag ideas from the gift shop. (Can you say Buffalo Bill shot glasses??)

But today it was time to finalize the full jacket with text, images, etc. I find it fascinating how a group of people can take a decent cover, throw around ideas, tweak a little text, move a few images, and really sharpen the book.

My favorite elements are –

  • Quotes about Buffalo Bill from Annie Oakley, Theodore Roosevelt, and Zane Grey.
  • An ornate pink lamp from the museum’s collection with Bill’s face on it.

I can’t post the full jacket yet since it’s being edited. But I’ll post the front cover. Of course we always love feedback.

What do you think? Buffalo Bill: Scout, Showman and Visionary will be published in May 2010.