The Aha! Moment
Art Director Keith Hayes and Editor Caroline Bleeke of Flatiron Books
WHEN Neel Patel first imagined the published version of his debut story collection, If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi, he pictured a cover designed to look like a traditional Indian wedding invitation, complete with swirling lettering and elaborate Hindu iconography.
Patel passed along his suggestion for the cover design to Caroline Bleeke, his editor at Flatiron Books, who mentioned the idea to Flatiron’s executive art director, Keith Hayes, who creates book covers for the New York City– based publishing house. So Patel was surprised when he and his literary agent, Jenni Ferrari-Adler, saw the cover Flatiron planned to use— surprised, he is quick to note, in a good way.
“Jenni and I, when we first saw it, we didn’t know what to make of it because it was so different from what we were expecting,” Patel says.
“But now when I see it, it looks really great. It’s stunning. What I love about it is it doesn’t have that Indian motif on it, and it speaks to how modern and progressive the collection is.”
As part of a continuing series, Bleeke and Hayes discuss how they arrived at the cover design for Patel’s story collection, which was published by Flatiron in July.
Before Hayes joined Flatiron in 2016, he was the art director at Little, Brown, where he designed nowiconic covers for Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (2013) and Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (2012), among others. Bleeke, who has worked at Flatiron since 2014, is the subject of “A Day in the Life of a Book Editor” (page 72).