The story behind the cover design. Wigs. Breeches. And office-sharing.

When Scotland Street Press wanted to brief their usual designer for the cover of Black Snow Falling, I asked if they could use a designer I know instead. Happily, they agreed.

I’d met Tim Byrne many years ago. Not only does he create fantastic book covers, he also loves the Tudors. Photo-0023I know this because, for eight years, we shared a work space along with six other creative freelancers. “The Loft” was in a former printer’s owned by an ad agency, located behind the tenements in central Edinburgh.

Anne-Marie, a documentary film-maker, sometimes brought costumes back to the office after a shoot. They rarely stayed in the box. Hence the wigs in these old photos, doing the rounds. Another time there were Tudor outfits, complete with velvet breeches. One had been worn by Jeremy Irons in a drama about Elizabeth I. (Needless to say, the men tried it on.)

Photo-0022As well as writing ads and websites for clients, I was working on an early draft of Black Snow Falling in my spare timeobsessively researching the 16th century. By coincidence, Tim was fascinated by the same era, researching Francis Walsingham and the spy network around Queen Elizabeth I for a project of his own.

Everyone in the Loft talked about their work. Whenever Tim was commissioned to start a new book cover, he would always read the full manuscript before starting on concepts. His process meant his superb designs capture the feeling and themes of each novel.

Tim’s passion for the same period as Black Snow Falling, coupled with his skills, meant that I always secretly hoped that he would be the designer used by a future publisher. Ten years later, here we are.

Scotland Street Press are also delighted with his gorgeous cover design for Black Snow Falling.

The tendrils, embossed in silver, allude to many themes in the book: the foliage of Crowbury wood, smoke, shadows, the glittering costumes of Court, and snatching hands…  The typography is hand-drawn and perfectly evokes the Tudors and a sense of ‘falling’ with strokes echoing the lines of the L. The black snowflake, with spot varnish, is the central symbol of the novel.

Explore more covers by Tim on Byrne Design.

(Apologies to Cavan, Tim and Andy for the wig photos. Edward and Guido were spared.)










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