The music memoir section of any bookstore tends to be fairly homogeneous; dark-colored back covers and moody portraits staring intently at you from the shelves. It is also something that has been picked up by designer Gordon Reid. “I feel like the musical memory genre of book covers tends to be a photo or something a bit cliché, like beer cans and instruments pictured on them.” So when designing the covers for a series of memoirs by Mogwai singer and guitarist Stuart Braithwaite, Gordon wanted to do something a little different.
Perhaps most evident in his deviation is Gordon’s use of color. “I really wanted the colors to be super vibrant, partly because they have to stand out on shelves and thumbnails online,” he explains, “and I also thought that a kind of neon style fluorescent could look amazing on a blanket.” Additionally, to align with both the series’ main title Spaceships above Glasgow, and both his and Stuart’s interest in “pretty science fiction and niche, cheesy comics”, Stuart opted for a “surreal illustrative style” to adorn the cover. “My initial inspiration was old science fiction book covers, like the amazing Isaac Asimov covers by Chris Foss, which invite you into these surreal worlds,” Gordon explains. Opting for an abstract representation of lines and geometric shapes, the details give the book its recognizable sci-fi touch. In addition, with a particularly pleasant touch, these illustrations also appear in the deep blue dividers of the book.