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160: Celebrated Book Design with Coralie Bickford-Smith

Updated: Nov 22, 2023



I have a special episode for you today!


In this conversation, you’ll hear from the iconic illustrator, storyteller, designer and Book Worm, Coralie-Bickford Smith. Coralie’s book covers have been recognised by the AIGA (NY) and D&AD (UK) and have featured in a numerous international magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, Vogue and The Guardian. The work she does with Penguin Classics on the clothbound series attracts worldwide attention and harks back to the world of Victorian bindings and a golden age of book binding.


She graduated from Reading University with a degree in Typography and Graphic Communication. She’s now a renowned cover designer, as well as the author-illustrator of The Fox and the Star (2015) – the first picture book to win the Waterstones Book of the Year award – The Bird and the Worm (2017), The Song of the Tree (2020) and The Squirrel and the Lost Treasure (2023). In 2017 she received an honorary doctorate from Reading University.


In this conversation you’ll hear Coralie’s creative process for book cover design, which weaves into a discussion about creativity more broadly. She demystifies her experience designing for other authors’ book covers versus working on her own books. You’ll hear about the way that she uses constraints in her work, the printing press in her kitchen and the typeface she’d use for the rest of her life if she could only choose one. Finally, Coralie and I connect over the joyful and serendipitous Big Magic of books.

Below you’ll find some incredible examples of Coralie’s process work for her latest book The Squirrel and the Lost Treasure that she’s generously shared with the Talk Paper Scissors community.

Let’s listen in…











About Our Guest:

Coralie Bickford-Smith is a London based designer, illustrator and author. She graduated from Reading University with a degree in Typography and Graphic Communication. Now a renowned cover designer as well as the author-illustrator of The Fox and the Star (2015) – the first picture book to win the Waterstones Book of the Year award – The Bird and the Worm (2017), The Song of the Tree (2020) and The Squirrel and the Lost Treasure (2023).


Her book covers have been recognised by the AIGA (NY) and D&AD (UK) and have featured in a numerous international magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, Vogue and The Guardian. The work she does with Penguin Classics on the clothbound series attracts worldwide attention and harks back to the world of Victorian bindings and a golden age of book binding.


She has been commissioned by a wide range of clients including The New York Times, Fortnum & Mason, Waterstones, Corriere Della Sera, Diageo, Harper Collins, Just Trade, Princeton Architectural press, Booths and Arts Council England. In 2017 she received an honorary doctorate from Reading University. Instagram: coraliebickfordsmith Twitter: www.twitter.com/cbickfordsmith Pinterest: CBickfordsmith



Photo Credit: Stuart Simpson - www.stuart-simpson.com/


Music: Somewhere Nice by John Bartmann, Licensed Under CC0 1.0 Universal


Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music: Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle


Boat Origami Photo: Boat Origami Photo by Alex on Unsplash

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