I love doing book cover design and I was delighted when my friend Elizabeth Smartt asked me if I would consider working on her book Finding Thalhimers, about the history of her family department store, and her personal journey of discovery in researching it.
Our initial conversations about what to do with the cover led to her telling me about a bag that she dragged around with her during her research period that was filled to the brim with notes and clippings. Making a version of it for the cover seemed the perfect way to express the story of her own journey and hint at all the things she unpacked about this store as part of her research.
Using an original cloth bag from the department store as a template I had a new bag custom screen printed with the title and tagline and then photographed with Elizabeth’s actual hand holding it. Rather than a large author photo, we opted to have a bit of fun and make the back cover the actual reverse of the bag. We also included some fun items from her archive of store materials on the inside flaps.
Anyone who grew up in Richmond before the the 90′s knows what an important role this store played in the city’s history on many levels, so it was an honor to do my small part to share the largely unknown history that Elizabeth had compiled over many, many years of research.
More details on the book itself can be found on the Finding Thalhimers website HERE.