Daniel Choi is the talented young designer at Fitzhenry & Whiteside who came up with the cover concept for What’s for Lunch? I also just learned he’s a food blogger and an enthusiastic cook—the perfect person to design this book cover! I asked him a few questions about his process and he graciously answered them here.
Question: How do you start thinking about a book’s cover?
Daniel: After reading a book, I have a surge of concepts in my head that I want to get down on paper. I usually do up thumbnails and translate the ones I like into Photoshop. From there, I let my creative side take it away.
Q: What did you think about cover-wise when you first read What’s for Lunch?
Daniel: The first thing that I imagined for WFL was a lunch tray with different kinds of foods. I wanted to give the sense of choice and at the same time I wanted to show something that you wouldn’t necessarily see in your traditional lunch box.
Q: What challenges were presented by WFL with its many constituent parts—ie. 13 different countries, miniprofiles, photo and illustration? How did you try to deal with this?
Daniel: Choosing the right image to represent the book was the most difficult part. I had such good photography to work with (by Yvonne Duivenvoorden) and wonderful illustrations (by Sophie Casson) that it was hard to pin down a single image to sum it all up. I narrowed it down by thinking about what each culture has in common: a neutral food like rice, a type of meat or even the way the food is served.
Q: What’s the editorial process like? How many people have a say in the final cover? How do you decide?
Daniel: Design is always a process and it takes more than one set of eyes to see what kind of potential a cover has. Most of the staff in house have a say on it, and it helps me better understand what viewers are looking for.
Q: How did you get from there to the final image and font choice for WFL?
Daniel: It wasn’t an easy task! I tried a lot of different images that would sum up the book and the impression we wanted to make, but a few of the colours gave off a bad vibe. Some were just too elementary and dull. Then I came across the image from the Japanese school lunch and it felt just right. It has a good balance between the blues, it gave a soft, warm energy and looked like an appetizing lunch. The pattern on the mat underneath the tray gave texture to the cover. I added a neutral typeface (Helvetica) and that was just the finishing touch it needed.
I have to agree! Coming up with the right cover design is never easy but I’m really happy with this one. I like the image bleeding off the page, I like the colour and I really like the positive message it conveys. Thanks Daniel! (To read more about Daniel, click here.)