Sat in a dark lecture hall one evening at the St. Bride’s Foundation in London, editor and founder of D&B books David Dunn became enthralled by a series of slides featuring rejected and discarded book cover designs. “These covers are great, it’s such a pity nobody gets to see them,” he said. A year later, and Dunn has righted that wrong by releasing his ode to designs that never made it: No, No, No, No Yes: Book Design Uncovered, a tome that features 100 unused covers and 25 finals. Across its minimal pages, it reveals four rejects by a designer, followed by the version that made it. Not only does the eclectic selection hint at the countless designs that are rejected in publishing before something is finally agreed upon, but it also reveals the individual process of each creator.
Like it or loathe it, publishers and consumers really do judge a book by its cover: the right design can make a huge difference for sales. The design for No, No, No, No, Yes itself plays on this idea: readers can choose from five different covers depending on how they fold—or remove—the dust-jacket, so that means there’s four Nos and one Yes. Dunn takes us through five of his favorite rejected covers from inside the book, alongside the client’s final selection.