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Nov 16

Talking Design (BookMachine Unplugged Online 2022)

16 November, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm GMT


Thanks to our Design Stream sponsors: emc design and Studiolo Secondari


Whose cover is it anyway? Cultural appropriation and the ethics of cover design

As the debate about better representation in publishing continues, most of the focus is on diversity and inclusivity from a writer or publishing team perspective. But what about the design process? There is increasing concern about cultural appropriation in cover and book design.


Thought is increasingly given (or not) to using a designer who is culturally related to the content, but practical questions remain on how this is integrated into practice. 


  • What is the experience of the designer from a racialized group? 
  • Can designers from a different background respectfully design content about or by culturally marginalized people and topics?
  • When – and why – is it necessary for the content and the designer to be the same culture? 
  • How does this work financially for publishers, especially those with limited resources and/or in house design capacity?


On Wednesday 16th November, 6-7 pm GMT, Linda Secondari and our guest speakers will share their direct experience of these issues. From an art director and designer tasked with relating to a culturally different background, through to the experience of being a designer from an underrepresented community. Drawing on current practice and historical precedents, they will discuss how it is, and how culturally appropriate cover design should be.


Talking Design will sit within the Design Stream, which runs throughout 2022. In the Design Stream, you can find upcoming events, interviews, details of our Stream sponsors, blog posts and resources to help you learn new skills and develop in your career.



About BookMachine Unplugged 2022

The Unplugged Online event series is designed to help inspire you, build on your knowledge and reveal exciting new ideas for you to harness when you’re back at your desk.


The theme for this year’s series is the “Year of Change”. Together with our guest speakers and hosts, we’ll be inviting you to discover more ways to lead the way, shake up the industry and create positive change for all.


If you’re a publishing professional who craves an explosion of insights, top tips and advice from industry people – always in a strictly social and informal setting – BookMachine Unplugged is for you.


Browse the other BookMachine Unplugged 2022 events here.



Ticket details

This event is £5 +VAT or FREE for BookMachine Members. Log in to your member account before booking and your discount will be applied automatically at checkout.


Become a BookMachine member for £10/month and book onto all six events in the series for free.


Can’t make it to the live event? A recording will be available for all members and ticket holders to watch after the event. Be sure to book your place in advance of the event* to receive the link to the replay!


*Please note: The recording won’t be available to sign up to receive after the event has ended. Advanced registration is required.



Accessibility information

This is an online event and will take place on Zoom webinar. Please be sure to book your ticket to receive the Zoom link to tune into the event on the day.


Live closed captions will be available throughout the event for viewers to toggle on and off. Edited captions and transcripts will also be available with the recording for members and ticket holders to access after the event.


We will also be live-Tweeting this event from @BookMachine on Twitter, using the hashtag #BookMachine.




Your host

Linda SecondariLinda Secondari, Principal and Creative Director at Studiolo Secondari

Using intelligent design strategy and inspiring design solutions, Linda Secondari believes we can improve the world through better communication. She’s been fortunate to do that for independent authors, major publishers like Oxford University Press, NGOs, educational institutions, nonprofits and think tanks. Now, as the founder and Creative Director of Studiolo Secondari, she helps organizations reach their audience and get their big ideas noticed through compelling print, web, and digital communications. Linda has received awards from AIGA, AUP, the NY Book Show, and the Stiftung Buchkunst Competition at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and sits on the Executive board of the Graphic Artists Guild.

Follow Linda on Twitter @studiololinda



The speakers

Marssaie copyMarssaié, Design Lecturer at London Metropolitan University & Shillington Education

Marssaié is a Design Director and Educator living and learning in London. She has 10 years industry experience working with purposeful and impactful brands, dedicated to telling compelling stories that resonate with contemporary audiences. Throughout her career she has elevated design thinking – leading teams in design that challenges the status-quo, as well as identifying emerging creatives and creating space and opportunities for them. She is also the founder of enjoy the collective creative series on YouTube.

Follow Marssaié on Twitter @marssaie



GeronnaGeronna Lewis-Lyte, Designer at Known and Co-Owner of Paper Plus Rocket

Born in New York, and raised as a by-coastal baby, Geronna has always immersed herself in the varying cultures of the two cities she calls home: Brooklyn, NY and Oakland, Ca. It’s these life experiences between two cities coupled with her studies as a painter that her approach to design over the past 17 years has always been informed. Geronna’s career has touched various industries, where nearly 1/3 of that time has been spent as a Book cover designer. She currently works as a senior designer for the marketing agency Known, but you will still find her working on a cover or three through Paper Plus Rocket, a design firm she co-owns with her partner.

Connect with Geronna on LinkedIn.


16 November, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm GMT
Event Category:

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