Before I committed full-time to book-binding, I also worked part-time for the literary magazine Granta. It was exciting to work in that world, the buzz around a publication, meeting writers and hearing about new voices first. I missed all of that when I first left publishing. Which is why, it’s especially rewarding to be returning to publishing houses again but this time in my role as book-binder. Over the last few years, I’ve had commissions to bind special bindings for some of the writers I’ve admired. Philip Pullman, Diana Athill, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Cynan Jones to name a few. The most recent bespoke binding commissioned by Hodder Books was for none other than actress, writer and producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Her recently published book titled Fleabag: The Scriptures brings together the complete filming scripts of Fleabag, annotated with never-before-seen stage directions, as well as brand new writing. Waller-Bridge now something of a household name, first sprung upon our consciousness with the genius sitcom Fleabag in 2016 and later with the acclaimed Killing Eve first series.
As a personal gift on publication, Hodder wanted to give Waller-Bridge a special, hand-bound edition of her book. The brief was that it would compliment some of Waller-Bridge’s early design ideas that she had discussed for the book cover but never came about. Waller-Bridge had originally suggested the idea of Fleabag being written in small letters on the front of the book, small like a flea! But publishers, especially on the marketing side of things, like to have their titles and author names seen loudly on the shelves. For this special edition we downsized to a much smaller typeface for the front cover. Another design idea Waller-Bridge had was inspired by an early edition of Winnie The Pooh, a full covered binding in red cloth with the title in gold on the front with a pretty illustration foil blocked on the front. The published Hodder edition was bound in a deep purple book cloth so it was decided that this special gift edition would be in the same pillar box red as this early A.A. Milne. So the final design, a clean, minimalistic look, completed with a slipcase in the same red cloth, was made in loyalty to Waller-Bridge’s original cover ideas. Hopefully it was a nice surprise on the day and a fine addition to her home library.