Project Focus: Small Square Books

POSTED ON Sep 1, 2009

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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For a while clients seemed to be asking for a lot of small, square books. I had done several of these and noticed some similarities in their design.

Some types of book are square to accommodate both horizontal and vertical subject matter. A good example is art books of all kinds, paintings, photographs, etchings all benefit from having a square frame in which to work.

But these were all nonfiction books, each with its own rationale.

Recently I was having lunch with a friend in the publishing business, and she noticed the covers I had just come from scanning.

“Look at all these little square books,” I said.

“Yes,” my friend replied.

“They are all by women authors. Don’t you think that’s interesting?” I probably looked a bit smug by this point.

“I like little square books,” she said.

Well, maybe you like them too. Here are the three books I had with me that day. Each cover solves the square cover problem differently:

Dear Diary by Sandi Redenbach

Sandi Redenbach wanted a cover that looked like her book title, a diary. The touch we added with the silver foil stamped “lock” put the finishing touches on an effective design for her story of recovery and hope. Here’s the next one:


It’s clear that I was experimenting with Photoshop texture-mapped backgrounds, because here’s another one on Lori Gordon’s relationship book. Maybe the warm and fuzzy look will help some couples who buy it. Lastly,


I think this cover combines the textures of the first two with some elegant typography to really communicate the author’s love of her profession, and signal a book that can inspire others. It’s my favorite of the small square books by women authors.

Do you have a similar book you’d like to publish?

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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