Some book covers are just plain fun to work out. A Finnish publisher was reprinting Arthur Conan Doyle’s final Sherlock Holmes novel, which is something of a prototype for future hardboiled detective stories. My first few stabs at a cover came out boring to both my and the publisher’s eyes, and we decided to regroup our efforts.
The great american crime fiction publisher Hard Case Crime had recently reprinted the book with a retro pulp cover, and there was a wonderful Penguin Books cover for this novel, both featuring a hand with a branded symbol on it. So the decision was made to try out something in this vein.
I’d grown up loving the covers of Finnish book designer Matti Louhi, and decided to take a page from his stylebook, and especially his cover for a Peter Cheyney translation from 1964.
So using all these images as a template, I came up with finished cover, from scratch, in less than 30 minutes. After spending a couple of weeks mulling over the earlier — boring — designs. Finding the right inspiration is more than half the job of a cover designer.