The book on Phil Pascuzzo

Phil Pascuzzo book covers

Cover art by Phil Pascuzzo

By Melissa Mansfield

Everybody's heard that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But is that really true?

Phil Pascuzzo should know. He's the drummer for local band Scientific Maps. He's also a book cover designer -- he's created more than 300 of them. (Phil's also designed artwork for local musicians such as Brent Gordon, Brian Patneaude, and Sgt Dunbar.)

We all see the covers, but most of us don't think much about who designs them. How did you end up doing this?
As far back as high school I knew that I wanted to be a graphic designer. I didn't think twice about book covers, or the person who designs them. It didn't seem like a career choice. My junior year of college at St. Rose I interned at St. Martin's Press in NYC. That summer I met some amazing designers that turned me on to the whole book design culture, so after graduation in 2000 I moved down to work for them full time.

What is your process? Do you read the book first?
I always try and read the manuscript before starting the design process. Sometimes the book isn't complete so I can only read a partial manuscript or just a synopsis page. Reading the book really helps me to respond emotionally to the design problem. This in turn makes the connection between the potential reader and cover stronger.

What is your favorite cover?
I am a used book junky, so I love to find old editions of books designed by Milton Glaser, Alvin Lustig, or Paul Rand. It is near impossible for me to have a single favorite book cover, just as I don't have a favorite song or movie.

How often do you get asked if you can judge a book by its cover?
Not as often as one would think. More often people ask me if I read the books that I design. I have talked to designers who like to read little of the books they are working on. This they feel puts them more in the position of the potential buyer who also knows little about the book. In a way I feel this is rubbish, but that's just me.

But seriously, can we judge a book by its cover?
I think if the job was executed successfully then yes. For this the editor, art director, publisher, and designer need to all work together on a unified concept or vision. If everyone is on the same page then the cover should reflect its content and tone in a bold way.

Comments

No reference to the Jamboyz? C'mon!

Phil just recently did a new album cover for some new Sgt Dunbar stuff that is going to be available in march but you can see the amazing lettering he did for it at the top of our myspace [http://www.myspace.com/thehobobanned]. Its pretty awesome, if you ask me.

Alex

I love Phil!

A nice guy and a pleasure to work with. Plus he plays a mean set of drums!

I have several books that were done by Philip Pascuzzo, but it was wonderful to read how he goes about it. His covers are a work of art.
Please keep us posted on more work by this designer.

If you're a book cover/graphic design junky like me you'll love this blog:

http://causticcovercritic.blogspot.com/

It's my happy place.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

What's up in the Neighborohood

Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: how Van Rensselaer Manor vanished, a sudden marriage, plastic, the old... (more)

Silver Fox Salvage is closing

This is sad to hear: Silver Fox Salvage -- the wonderfully eclectic collection of salvaged architectural and furniture pieces Albany's Warehouse District -- is closing.... (more)

Where to buy Mexican-style chorizo?

Sean emails: Do any of your readers know where I can find any of that good chorizo that crumbles when you remove the casing? Price... (more)

Morning Blend

Albany homicides Albany has recorded 12 homicides in 2018 so far -- the highest number in 18 years. [TU] Sentencing in Schenectady stabbing A Schenectady... (more)

Today's moment of late summer

late-day late-summer sun + sunchokes + bumblebees... (more)

Recent Comments

They should turn Maiden Lane into a stepped pedestrian street, like they have all over Europe. We don't need to reinvent the wheel, they do steep small streets pretty well across the pond, let's look for some precedents... Human scaled lighting is critical too, that goes for the whole city. And we don't need paint on the road, just signage perpendicular to the flow of traffic at the bridge entrance. I also echo the call for basic, ongoing maintenance to our current infrastructure. How about some weed removal in sidewalks, etc?

Where to buy Mexican-style chorizo?

...has 4 comments, most recently from Greg

A look around the Maiden House residential + retail conversion in downtown Albany

...has 5 comments, most recently from Ron

Memories of a good dog

...has 35 comments, most recently from jsc

Mapping out the future for an alternative transportation network in the Capital District

...has 2 comments, most recently from Milo

Toy donations?

...has 8 comments, most recently from Stacy