Gerard Woodward's new novel, Nourishment, is a book of many charms, not least its beautifully designed book jacket.
It has a wonderful central character, Tory Pace; the narrative is the work of a quirky and darkly comic imagination; and the book possesses an exceptional thematic elegance. But, perhaps above all, Nourishment brilliantly conjures up a time and place with a mix of period detail and historical authenticity.
Set in the Second World War in a world of rationing and abstinence and then in post-war austerity Britain, Nourishment is a novel about food and sex - mostly it is about the lack of food and lack of sex (where bombed-out butchers' shops become opportunities for low-level looting and sex-starved POWs can only survive with the help of the most erotic correspondence from their loved ones). The period detail is spot on, and we really wanted to produce a book which reflected this.
So when we embarked on that tricky process of finding a cover for the book, as well as the typeface and other design elements we really wanted the detail to be equally accurate and authentic.
Richard Evans located a fabulous poster for Max Factor lipstick which represented the period perfectly. We chose a font from 1937, Coronet, for our title lettering which seemed to fit the design and the illustration style.
What do you think of the look of Nourishment? Leave a comment about your favourite book jackets.
A design and illustration company, Binary & the Brain, sourced and cheekily adapted the design of a ration book for the endpapers.
And finally we decided to set the book in a font, Century Old Style, which, whilst from an earlier time, still felt right for the period of the book and we felt would still be in use in the forties and fifties.
So a book written with a perfect feel for a fascinating period of English history has, I hope, been published with equal sensitivity to its artwork and design.