Since Before and After was released wayyyy back in January 2020, the cover of the book has provoked strong reactions. One camp say that it’s a non-genre cover and should therefore be burned with other heretical works. Others say that they love it and it made them want to eat biscuits.
I’ve been exceptionally lucky to work with graphic designer Yolander Yeo for over two decades now. We’ve even written a children’s book together (The Bossy Book). So when I needed a book cover, of course, Yo was the one I turned to. I thought it might be nice if I shut up for once and asked Yo to answer some questions about biscuits, criticism and what I’m like to work with (spoiler: she’s really nice so she didn’t tell you about my tantrums and fits of rage). Oh and click on the cover to get your copy of Flesh and Blood, now! (or here).
How many biscuits did you eat making this cover?
I went through two packets of custard creams making the cover, I only ate about two of them, the photographer, Andrew, helped with the rest! I’m not really a biscuit person, could be because I don’t drink tea, I’m told that tea and biscuits go together like gin and tonic.
You also designed Before and After, what were the challenges of doing a sequel?
The second cover was easier than the first. Shan knew he wanted another biscuit cover, which after reading the book I agreed it represented the story perfectly. The custard cream was a great choice as it allowed us to change the text as we did on the first book cover, creating design consistency between the two. The biggest challenge was smashing up the biscuit just the right amount and adding some extra cream.
How do you get the writing on the biscuit to look so good?
I didn’t! Shout out to Emma, the retoucher who worked her magic in photoshop. It looks so good!
What do you think the cover design tells someone about the book?
We wanted the biscuit to reflect the emotional and physical state of Ben, which is why on this cover it looks more cracked and broken than the first.
Did you hide any easter eggs in the design of the cover?
The green colour in the cream hints that something is not quite right, you’ll have to read the book to find out more.
Do you enjoy doing book cover designs?
Yes! I love book covers and I love reading. The challenge of creating a simple concept that represents a whole story and makes the reader want to pick it up is really exciting. I love a challenge!
What is your short review of the book?
I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Ben and Brown and the sequel didn’t disappoint! I couldn’t put the book down, it made me laugh, cry and want to try laughing gas.
What am I like to work with?
Working with Shan is always lots of fun and collaborative. We trust each other which means we can be completely honest about what we think, and we push each other to make the work better. I’m proud of what we’ve created together and excited about the next book. There will be a next book, right Shan? Perhaps a Biscoff for the next cover? [SHAN: No more biscuits, EVER].
Thanks Yo! If you want to see what the fuss is all about then you can pre-order your copy of Flesh and Blood, now!