Book cover designer Katie Tooke on how vintage Italian travel posters and beautiful illustrated cookbooks inspired the delicious new covers for Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series.
I was very excited to start work on the re-branding of the Camilleri back list. In the first instance, I was given lots of market research regarding what Camilleri meant to people, which informed what words and images needed to be incorporated into the new cover look. This was very useful when approaching the design, as sense of place, food and colour seemed to really sing out from those surveys. This gave me a very clear brief of how to proceed.
I had a read of the books myself and then researched into posters of Italy, vintage and modern, as well as old and more contemporary cookery books and the kind of colours that could be used to represent both these elements of Inspector Montalbano's world. I also looked at what else already existed in the market.
I mocked up the cover based on a beautiful old illustrated cookbook I had found, that had a plate and knife and fork on it as a vessel to hold the type. I liked the idea that each title could have this motif on it but within the plate, the illustrations could offer a portal into the world of the story. Further design elements on the table around the plate, could also provide further insight into the story content. It seemed a good way to establish a series style but also with the prospect of containing different illustrations and themes within this template.
When looking for an illustrator to take this job on, I was also conscious of the fact that the Camilleri books are a mystery series, so I wanted a slight edge to the illustrations. They needed to be sunny and bright but also give the sense of something else a little more sinister when you look closer. Tom Clohosy Cole was an obvious choice as I had been a fan of his work for a while, and I thought it would work perfectly with the tone of the stories. He took to the idea immediately and was excited to take the job on.
He has done a fantastic job and I am thrilled to see how beautifully he has captured the world of Inspector Montalbano.
The beautiful new editions of Andrea Camilleri's wry, brilliantly compelling Sicilian crime series, featuring Inspector Montalbano are available now. Click the cover images to find out more.