According to various Web sources, the phrase “you can never tell a book by its cover” first appeared in print back in 1946 in the novel Murder in the Glass Room, by Edwin Rolfe and Lester Fuller. But in the case of Blue Thread, I’d like to think that the contents does justice to the book’s beautifully designed exterior. Here’s a shout out to Kelsey Klockenteger, who won Ooligan’s cover design competition for Blue Thread.
And here’s the inside story of the outside of the book, as told by Kelsey herself:
“I started designing the cover of Blue Thread by reading the manuscript and taking notes and doodling. Some of the images I played with were blue threads on yellow backgrounds, bowls of licorice, and teddy bears. But I kept coming back to the yellow ribbon. It was a strong image. After deciding to place it on a coat lapel, I set out to research clothing from the time period. For this I mostly consulted a friend who majored in costume design…. After finding out what clothes and fabrics were appropriate for a 16-year-old, middle-class, Jewish girl from Portland in 1912 (that was all I gave my friend to go on), I proceeded to alter my pea coat by sewing lining fabric to the lapels. The shirt was rented from Helens Pacific Costumers. The bow was created by Eliza Lane, another student in the PSU [Portland State University] book publishing program, but I made the button in the middle. It is actually an Ooligan “typewriter” button with water-colored paper taped on top. The slogan “Votes for Women” is written in sharpie. The photo was taken by Laura Gleim, yet another Ooligan student. We took it one morning in March in front of a rhododendron bush. Rhododendrons are evergreen, and so are plausible for the background in a picture that was supposedly taken in the fall.
The title font was provided by another member of the design department, [Matthew] Wilson. I personally turned the tail on the R blue to echo the idea of a blue thread, especially since there was so little blue on the cover. The blue thread on the spine was created in [the computer application] Illustrator. I felt there needed to be a thread somewhere on the book. It also gives the spine visual interest.
I drew the flowers, vines, and grapes on the back cover by hand. They are based on a description of the embroidery on the prayer shawl from the story. The curly shape of the vines also goes well with the tail of the R on the front cover.”
Thanks again, Kelsey!