I was absolutely thrilled when Stephen Banham won the Designers’ Choice Cover of the Year award at the 2020 Australian Book Design Awards for his brilliant, witty design for Death of a Typographer.
The Cover of the Year Award was shared between two books: Death of a Typographer and The Glad Shout, designed by Jenny Grigg.
The moment I saw Stephen’s design for the first time in a Carlton cafe back in mid-2019, I knew he had nailed exactly the vibe I was looking for. The design is clever, original, and striking, showing a stylish blood-stained punctuation mark.
Stephen was really the only person who could have designed this novel. Not only is he a typographer, graphic designer and font expert, he is also a good friend, and my conversations with Stephen inspired the novel in the first place. It was from Stephen that I first learned that there is such a thing as font crime, what kerning means, and the difference between a glyph, a ligature and a swash.
Stephen also designed the internal pages of the book, creating a special divider page at the start of each chapter in a different font, with the selected typeface reflecting the content of the chapter. Among the fonts he selected (all listed at the back, for the enthusiast) are Peignot (for a chapter set in a French bar), Underground (set in London), and the hideous Graveblade (in which the arch-villain finally appears).
Stephen has also recently designed a new cover for my first novel, Ghostlines, which first appeared in 2008, and has just been republished in a new edition.
Both novels are available from your local bookshop or from Australian Scholarly Publishing.
Stephen’s design studio is Letterbox.