Profile: Tal Goretsky

One of my favourite book cover designers is Tal Goretsky. I love his work because he integrates hand lettering into most of his book covers, which imparts a lot of personality into the work, and I love lettering. I can appreciate the amount of skill required to design a lettering style that embodies the content and feeling of an entire novel. He also rarely relies on simple photography to illustrate his cover designs. Instead, he layers and combines images and illustrations in order to convey a complex idea.


Goretsky made the type out of sparkles and stencils.

Tal Goretsky is the art director of Broadway Books and Three Rivers Press at Penguin Random House. He was previously art director of Scribner, and worked as a senior designer at Penguin Press.


This was Goretsky’s first cover designed at Penguin. He photographed a coworker running on the roof of the publishing house.

His approach to designing book covers: I begin each project by reading the book or at least part of it. As I read, I see cover ideas in my head that I will sketch and then try to execute. Usually, the images I see don’t exist on stock photo sites, so I will have to illustrate them in Photoshop from multiple image sources and photograph objects I need. I often draw the type and digitally manipulate it.


Goretsky had to design this cover very quickly, so he only had a short time to read the beginning of the book. He knew right away it was a surreal story and that the main character rode a bicycle, so he put this image together.

Book cover design intrigues me because of the sheer enormity of the task. The designer must first identify and understand main messages the book, then poke around for any deeper underlying emotions or themes, collaborate with the author, art director, and other publishing staff, and then illustrate this complex menagerie on a single 5.5 by 8.5 rectangle. Then this book cover will be thrown into a deep pool of thousands of other fantastic covers, vying for attention among the shelves and tabletops of your local bookstore, hoping that you will notice it, pick it up, and buy it.


Book Cover Designs by Matthew Goodman

Goretsky’s freelance work blog

Goretsky’s art director blog

Book Covers Anonymous

The Casual Optimist

The Book Cover Archive



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