CoviDiaries: Jesse Reed’s Brilliant Book Cover Collection

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In order to make the creative world feel a bit less lonely and a bit more connected in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve decided to kick off a new blog series—CoviDiaries—that will bring us into the homes and minds of various designers, illustrators and other professionals, to see how they’re coping. We’ll publish a few installments each week and would love to hear from you, too. In the meantime, here’s a dispatch from Jesse Reed in Brooklyn.

Fortunately, none of our jobs have halted due to the virus, so our studio is still functioning at full speed (remotely, of course). I’m also fortunate that I live within walking distance to our office, so I’m still able to come in every day and have some sense of normalcy. To be honest, I’m more productive than ever.

But—I do have a quarantine project: cataloguing my paperback book collection (by designer, date and publisher).

I started (somewhat obsessively) collecting paperback books designed by individuals that I was rather unfamiliar with before seeing their names reappear on the backs of books. After seeing John + Mary Condon, Roy Kuhlman Associates and George Giusti (to name a few) pop up a handful of times, I started sniffing them out at any used bookstore I came across. This also led me to a handful of paperback series designed by the same designer(s) or in a templated format—Milton Glaser’s Hesse covers are one example. So now I also have an itch for amassing as much of the series (if not the whole lot) that I can. Maybe I’m channeling my good friend Brian Kelley here.

In turn, my quarantine project has turned into cataloguing my entire collection with the hopes of doing something with them one day. One step at a time!


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