No, No, No, No, Yes uncovers the secrets of book design

Dozens of rejected book cover designs are published in No, No, No, No, Yes, which explores the sometimes tortuous process of getting a book’s graphic identity approved

Rejected and final design by James Edgar for The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair

It’s the first time many of these covers have seen the light of day and show some of the twists and turns designers have to make to satisfy publishers’ demands.

In some cases, it’s easy to trace the thinking behind each cover – such as Carlos di Cielo’s cover for Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here, which goes through several iterations of the American flag before settling on a deconstructed version.

Rejected and final design by Carlos di Cielo for It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

Other examples in the aptly titled No, No, No, No, Yes express some of the frustration designers must have felt during the design process.

These include having to start from scratch with each rejection or following a single visual thread for several versions before eventually settling on something completely different.

Rejected designs by Nik Neves for Gastronomia Brasileira by Roberto Pinto
Rejected designs by Fiachra McCarthy for Solar Bones by Mike McCormack
Rejected designs by Ivan Maslarov for Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter

It’s hard not to quarrel with some of the decisions made – particularly when you see Ivan Maslarov’s final design for Max Porter’s Grief Is The Thing With Feathers stacked up against his more subtle, illustrated earlier versions.

While No, No, No, No, Yes might create a new appreciation for the book designer’s craft, it creates fresh frustration with publishers that opt for the safe version.

Rejected designs by La Boca for Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Rejected and final design by Pablo Font for Slum Virgin by Gabi Cabezón Cámara
Photography by Tom Bird. Cover design by Common Curiosity

Fittingly, for a book about cover design, No, No, No, No, Yes’s own cover can be ‘redesigned’. Its dust jacket is removable, and can be re-orientated to create five different covers

No, No, No, No, Yes is published by D&B Books;