Book covers by two PCA&D juniors published by Sunbury Press

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Thursday, January 27th, 2022

A book cover needs to be original while still fitting in with a specific genre; striking enough to grab attention from the books around it on a bookstore shelf, yet not so off-kilter that it alienates potential readers; and ultimately, distinct enough that it creates an identity for the title.

It’s a tall order.

And it’s one that two PCA&D juniors, Tyler Handa and Frankie Reed, filled last semester for Sunbury Press.

Mariah Cummings-Miller’s Junior Publication Design class has collaborated before with Sunbury to develop “branding” in the form of book covers. This year, four titles will be released bearing the work of Handa and Reed.


Disneyanity book cover designed by Frankie Reed '23, Graphic Design, for Sunbury Press

The cover of “Disneyanity” by Frankie Reed ’23, Graphic Design, created for Sunbury Press.

Reed’s work is found on the cover of Doug Brode’s Disneyanity. Reed drafted work for two of the other four titles as well. The biggest challenge, Reed says, “was definitely the beginning stages and figuring out how to approach the Disneyanity cover without running into Disney copyright issues.” The solution? “It involved a lot of research and just making sure to be wise about my decisions,” Reed says, adding that Cummings-Miller was helpful with that process.

A trio of book covers designed for Sunbury Press by Tyler Handa '23, Graphic Design.

A trio of book covers designed for Sunbury Press by Tyler Handa ’23, Graphic Design.

Handa’s work, meanwhile, is found on the other three books submitted by Sunbury for the project.

“We were able to concentrate on two out of the four, three out of the four, or we could just do all” of the books,” Handa says. “I chose to design for all of the books … for myself as a designer, I wanted to take on that variety.

“I like sci-fi books and thought that I would do a really good job designing the sci-fi book cover, but if I only did designs for something that I was comfortable with, then I really wouldn’t be pushing myself.”

In total, he estimates, he created about five to eight design drafts per book.

Sunbury Press

The books chosen for PCA&D’s work are in the pipeline for the publishing house’s next quarter, according to Associate Publisher Chris Fenwick. “We try to choose a variety of books to give students the opportunity to work with different genres.”

Once all drafts are submitted, Fenwick says, the designs are evaluated “on quality and originality, but also our experience of what’s ‘standard’ for each genre of book. Books must look like they belong on the page (or shelf) with other books in that genre.

“Sunbury Press publishes many books from … Central Pennsylvania authors. Working with PCA&D’s students allows us to expand our commitment to local artists,” Fenwick adds. “Although they are still students, we have been very pleased with the quality of the products they have offered us. We hope to continue our collaboration with PCA&D long into the future.”