For a novel as innovative as White Noise, Picador decided to pull out all the stops and utilized some of the brightest talents and very latest computer technology to create a jacket for the book – as this extract from an article published by Creative Review in December 1985 makes plain: 


Book cover design has traditionally been a low-tech business but the new hardback Picador cover for Don DeLillo’s White Noise incorporates video, computer, graphics and photography, as well as conventional typography. “Everything but the kitchen sink is in there,” says Pan Books art director Gary Day-Ellison. 

Originally Day-Ellison commissioned rock star and video maker Brian Eno (his “favourite musician”) to produce the jacket. The result was a series of flat monochromes using car spray paints. 

At this point illustrator Russell Mills entered the scene. Eno’s original images were to be used as base sketches and then distorted on video, with the idea of conveying “white noise” as TV interference. Eno and Mills spent several hours experimenting with distortion effects before Mills selected a series of still frames and photographed them onto 35 mm transparencies. 

Then it was over to Alan Seckers at production house Imagine. Here the trannies were married with computer-generated images on the Arton 2000 and the elements juggled. 

The more muted back and spine illustrations were achieved by electronically erasing the videotape on the computer and the conventional type was designed by Finn Lewis at Pan.


Read a selection of fascinating Don DeLillo quotes.