Your ongoing selection
Asset(s) Assets
Your quote 0

Your selection

Clear selection

Images In Action: Interview with Myunghee Kwon

What was your path to becoming a cover designer?

I took book design classes when I was in school and that gave me the gist of designing books. Then in the last semester of my senior year, I took a class which was devoted to designing covers and found that I really liked doing cover designs. I was building my portfolio on motion graphics and animation but after that class I changed my portfolio to book cover design. My professor (who was an Art Director at Farrar Straus Giroux) took me on as a design intern which gave me more opportunities to build my portfolio on book cover design.  

Where was your first full time position?

At Bloomsbury. I really enjoy working here. The people are really great. And I get to work on a diverse range of both fiction and nonfiction books.

Can you talk me through your general approach and creative process when you're given a book cover design brief?

I read the manuscript or any type of reading material that’s given so I get the vibe of the book. For fiction, I try to find a theme or symbols that I can base upon my design. For non-fiction, it’s more straightforward. Sometimes I get a good idea of what I want when I’ve read the first good chunk of the book - I get a visual of the cover right away but sometimes I don't. 

What part does using Bridgeman Images play in the creative process?

If I want to use a historical image or paintings or a vintage illustration with a refined and classical look, I use Bridgeman - It’s my first source for those kind of things.

That’s great to hear! I think with your designs there is often an interesting juxtaposition of classic, vintage imagery but you've put your own spin on it -sometimes that might be by doing details and montages and playing with different elements of the artwork. Let's discuss some specific cover designs of yours:

Wild Souls

For this cover, I wanted to show different wild animals because the book is about them. But I didn’t want to make it too literal so I cropped the images and collaged them this way so that it’s not too obvious about what you’re looking at unless you have a closer look. I didn't know that Bridgeman had various range of animal illustrations from different countries - the fish illustration is from Japan and the other ones are European. I like to have many image options to choose from when I do collage work and it worked out perfectly with Bridgeman.

Images utilised on this cover: 
Butterflies, English School, (19th century) / © Look and Learn / Bridgeman Images
Rivertrout, from the series 'Collection of Fish' (colour woodblock print), Hiroshige, Ando or Utagawa (1797-1858) / © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images
Pear Blossom, Dietzsch, Barbara Regina (1706-83) / Bridgeman Images
Leopards, English School, (19th century) / © Look and Learn / Bridgeman Images

The Great Passion

This book is about a boy who is struggling with the death of his mother and Bach as his school’s cantor who changed the boy’s life. I wanted to include a human element on the cover—that's why I used the painting with the hands on the piano. And I included the pattern and the Bach’s musical notes on the side to reflect the era in which the novel is set.

Images utilised on this cover:
A Musician, c.1700-50 (oil on canvas), English School, (18th century) / Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK / © Fitzwilliam Museum / Bridgeman Images
Pages from Score of the 'St. Matthew Passion', 1727 (pen and ink on paper), Bach, Johann Sebastian (1748-78) / Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, Germany / Bridgeman Images
Harpsichord keyboard close up / © Chris Stock. All rights reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images

Sweat - A History of Exercise

When I was designing this cover, I came across this painting and I thought Oh my God this is it! The book itself touches upon Ancient Greece but it also talks about modern times so I wanted to show both on the cover without looking too historical. That’s why I chose the handwritten type so it has that modern look. 

Images utilised on this cover:
Two Wrestlers, Francazano, Cesare (1612-53) / Prado, Madrid, Spain / Bridgeman Images

How useful is Bridgeman as a resource for your day-to-day design work?

The Bridgeman Images Archive has a wide range of images which gives me a lot of options to choose from. Whenever I need to find a historical image for the cover, I always go to Bridgeman to look for it. Also, the resolution of Bridgeman's Images is typically so high that however much I blow it up it's never pixelated. 


Follow Myunghee Kwon's work through her website or her instagram.


Want to discuss your projects with us? Or perhaps you have a question for our team?

Contact us today and we'll be happy to help.

Related Content

Bridgeman Images was delighted to sit down with Tim Green, Creative Director of Faceout Studio, to discuss his creative process and for a deeper dive into the inspiration for some of his cover designs.
Bridgeman Images was delighted to speak to Myunghee Kwon, a book cover designer who has frequently utilized images sourced from the Bridgeman archive.
Bridgeman Images is pleased to meet Stephen Brayda, Art Director for HarperVia, Amistad Books, and HarperEspañol of HarperCollins Publishers, for an interview.