Evan Gaffney

Evan Gaffney is a designer who creates clever and witty typographical concepts, which can be deceptively simple.

A good example of this is the first cover I have chosen:

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks

by William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Published by Grove Press 2008.

This is a simple design, that is saved from mediocrity by the use of a heavily smudged and messy typewriter typeface (distressed typewriter) and a background that resembles slightly grubby paper.

One Perfect Day

by Rebecca Mead. Published by Penguin 2007.

I like the juxtaposition of the design elements of this cover, and the way in which they support the typography. Used alone, the pink cover or the use of a simple typeface for the receipt wouldn’t work.  Used together, they both have a social comment to make.

Treason By The Book

by Jonathan Spence. Published by Penguin, 2002.

This cover also uses juxtoposition, in this case the mixing of English text with Oriental characters, making me think that I’m getting a glimpse into an unfathomable world, and that the author is going to be my guide to a mysterious journey.

The next two covers, although competent, don’t quite work for me.  They miss the humour and inventiveness of the covers above, and I get the impression that Gaffney’s creativity has been stifled.

Now The Hell Will Start

by Brendan I. Koerner. Published by Avery, 2008.

Admitely, a title such as Now The Hell Will Start doesn’t lend itself to humour, and Gaffney’s creativity may have been curtailed by the serious nature of the subject. The typeface used here, FF Super Grotesk, works well, but the whole flow of the design is let down by placing the subtitle of the book between the last words of the title.

The Original Knickerbocker

by Andrew Burstein. Published by Basic Books, 2007.

The retro typeface and layout does a good job of matching the period of the subject matter, but it overall design leaves things rather flat. The visual hierarchy of the text is not well defined, and the eye does not know where to start first.


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