McSweeney’s No. 15

McSweeney’s No. 15

McSweeney’s Publishing, San Francisco, California, 2005


This issue was dedicated to contemporary Icelandic literature, so we wanted the cover to reflect the spirit of the work inside. Icelandic writers are still very connected to the landscape of Iceland—vast and uncharted and in many ways prehistoric—but at the same time it’s a country of small towns; even Reykjavik has a small-town feel to it. So in this case, I contacted Leif Parsons, and gave him some pictures and ideas for what the cover should look like, with the village and the mountains and Icelandic horses. He did a fantastic job using the two-color silkscreen notion, and in incorporating the constraint of the yellow cloth representing the sky. (That notion came before he even began, and he had to work with it.) The book was printed in Iceland, and as usual, Oddi Printing did a brilliant job. The last ingredient, the McSweeney’s name with the sort of sunburst above it, was a quiet homage to the early album covers of Big Country—another group of artists who were in touch with a vast and heroic sort of landscape.

Juror Notes

A McSweeney’s production all the way. The binding folds out every which way and includes a free pocket comb. Over the top? Perhaps. But you’ll want one anyway. Even if you never read it. The story on 13 playing cards, which can be read in any sequence, is a great example of text driving format and design. Likewise, this package is exactly as cool as it needs to be.

Collections: 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2005
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book cover


Design firm
McSweeney’s Publishing
Creative director/designer
Dave Eggers
Leif Parsons
Dave Eggers, Eli Horowitz
Trim size
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Quantity printed
Garamond 3
Oddi Printing
Binding method