I’m always a little bit (read: completely and utterly) in awe of designers, so I was more than happy to oblige when Steve asked if I could interview Heather, who designed the covers for It’s a Hill, Get Over It, The Round, and Running Hard. We regularly work with Heather, who runs Raspberry Creative Type, and if you take a look at the covers she’s created, it’s not hard to guess why!
What tools and software did you use to create the covers for Steve’s books?
I use a wonderful array of Adobe products: Illustrator and Photoshop to make the many layers, and then InDesign to create the whole cover, including text, logos, spine, barcodes. It is then exported to Acrobat so the printer can work with a print-ready file.
Steve’s books all have a similar look to them, though each cover has clearly been designed to suit its contents. What steps did you take to achieve that similarity?
With Steve’s books I really wanted a textured, rough appearance for the illustrative elements across the covers to reflect the grittiness, dirt and determination of the participants in those long endurance runs. Also the heavy, grungy and haphazard type (well that’s what you are supposed to think!) needs to add impact to the story of the design. In my mind, fell runners (now and past) are extreme, fearless, spirited people and that’s who I need to attract to pick up the books in the first place; and then for them to realise there is more than one title by this author just by identifying the style of design.
Steve’s covers really suit his books – how much do you know about the book when you design the cover? How much research and background reading goes into the design process?
I usually receive a rough overview of the story, plus the title, subtitle and author. Often I investigate the author; I like to read up about them and their background. I also look at the genre of the book to see who the audience is. Then it’s up to me to sit back and explore various options. I like to take several days, and usually in odd moments of daydreaming ideas come to me. Then I feel inspired to give it a bash and follow it where it takes me!
I know you’re not meant to have favourites, but is there one of Steve’s covers you had more fun working on or like better than the others? If so, which one, and why?
I really couldn’t pick a favourite! Like children, they are all special in their own right and for their own reasons. Each is a labor of love with most of the textures made by myself. I really like the splatters on Running Hard and the deconstruction of the photo; and I always have a chuckle when I see the shoe imprints on the hills as a texture – I imagine those hills really are trampled with imprints due to the years of fell running!
About the book
Running Hard: the story of a rivalry. Sandstone Press. Format: Paperback. ISBN: 9781910985946. Publication Date: 19/10/2017. RRP: £9.99
For one brilliant season in 1983 the sport of fell running was dominated by the two huge talents of John Wild and Kenny Stuart. Wild was an incomer to the sport from road running and track. Stuart was born to the fells, but an outcast because of his move from professional to amateur. Together they destroyed the record book, only determining who was top by a few seconds in the last race of the season. Running Hard is the story of that season, and an inside, intimate look at the two men.
About the book’s author
Steve Chilton is a committed runner and qualified athletics coach with considerable experience of fell running. He is a long-time member of the Fell Runners Association (FRA). He formerly worked at Middlesex University where he was Lead Academic Developer. He has written two other books: It’s a Hill, Get Over It won the Bill Rollinson Prize in 2014; The Round: In Bob Graham’s footsteps was shortlisted for the TGO Awards Outdoor Book of the Year 2015 and the Lakeland Book of the Year Award 2016. He blogs at: https://itsahill.wordpress.com/.