whitefox publishing: helping brands, thought leaders and writers create beautiful bespoke books
Back in 2015, whitefox first mooted the idea of something called the Unsung Heroes of Publishing. It was a chance for people in and around the industry to nominate and shine a brief light on some of the lesser known but utterly essential component parts of book publishing in the UK. Those whose contribution was rarely acknowledged but who made a tangible, material difference to the success or failure of a writer. Those who commissioned, sold, edited, designed, ghost-wrote, publicised.
It was in truth a reaction the Bookseller’s annual list of the most ‘influential’ people in publishing, which often seemed an exercise partly in box-ticking, with many of the senior, more public-facing figures in the industry featured, whether they made a real difference or not.
Four years later we are delighted to see some small changes to the official class of 2019. For the first time, the Bookseller has chosen to recognise some of the best cover designers and Art Directors in the business. They may or may not be the best managers, communicators or political navigators of the labyrinthine corporate world of publishing. But their imagination and creativity genuinely enhances marketing efforts, helps define an author’s identity for the reader, straddles the complexity of the needs of internal stakeholders as well as having to please agents, retailers and the writer themselves. They are driving the look and feel of some of the most iconic images that matter in our world of books. If they didn’t exist within the team – in the office or remotely – you really would need to replace them, whatever technical innovations and software programmes change our way of working in the coming years. They are genuine cultural and commercial influencers.
How appropriate that in the year the industry has lost John Hamilton, one of the truly great Art Directors of the last few decades, the rare type of skill and creativity with which he collaborated on so many books has been acknowledged. Surely he too would have been on this list had he still been with us.