Joe Brainard: Doing cover designs and drawings for books and poems is something else entirely
"Doing cover designs and drawings for books and poems is something else entirely. This I love doing. And I do it very well. I know how to work with or against words in a good way. I don't think I ever fall into the 'elegant' trap. Or the 'arty' trap. (Too beautiful.) (For the coffee table.) (Etc.) There is always something slightly unprofessional about my graphic work. Which is probably the best thing about it. My drawings for words do not fly off into being too beautiful in themselves. Sometimes I do this by being a bit boring. (Very straight.) …Another ploy of mine is to set up a little tension. But not too much. Tension can make things work well together. A little tension. Not too much. One thing I always keep in mind when I do a cover design is how it will look in a bookstore. This, I think, is one reason why my book covers always end up looking a bit crude. If you have ever seen Stones by Tom Clark in a bookstore you will know what I mean. It sticks out like a sore thumb. And a beautiful one. Well—I am really giving myself pat on the back today for a change."
The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard (Library of America) edited by Ron Padgett