The Coast of Akron

The Coast of Akron

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, New York, 2004


I needed to create a “big book” look, while keeping it literary, for a debut work of fiction by a prominent member of the literary community. This book is about an atypical American family living a lush, expensive, dramatic, hilarious life. The design needed to distinguish the book from other midwestern novels—no generic photos of sprawling flat landscapes with simple type. The title (obviously) helps in this regard, but the design needed to reinforce this separation from other American novels.

Fergus, the main drama queen, becomes obsessed with a lavish party he is throwing for the midwestern glitterati—a party where his delusions of grandeur prove disastrous. I thought calligraphy in unconventional colors would be perfect, to echo an invitation and to give lots of pizzazz to the words, in contrast to what one typically thinks of as simple, boring Akron, Ohio. I also wanted to inject some drama with the black background and the tornado-like flourish.

Collections: 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2004
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book cover


Design firm
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Art director
Susan Mitchell
Jacket designer
Lynn Buckley
Chi Nguyen
Production director
Tom Consiglio
Production coordinator
Michelle Crehan
Adrienne Miller
Eric Chinski
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Trim size
6 x 9 inches
Quantity printed
20,000 (first printing)
Trade Gothic (customized) and calligraphy by Chi Nguyen
Jacket printer
Phoenix Color
Phoenix supplied paper–white, 80 lb. c/1/s; matte film laminated finish