Don DeLillo covers by Noma Bar

21 Apr 2011

One of the illustrators that I really look up to is Noma Bar, an Israel-born illustrator based in London. His illustrations tackle politically charged issues with eloquence and wit. This post is mainly about new work from Noma, but I still want to refer to his brilliant book "Negative space" that I own and treasure.

Negative space

This book called Negative Space is basically a portfolio piece, consisting of full page illustrations, with a short introduction from Buzz Poole (managing editor at Mark Batty). You really get an excellent idea on how Noma Bar employs the technique of negative space on his clever illustrations. His illustrations convert complex topics into clean, provocative and revealing lines. You view them with ease but you'll not easily forget them. At the end of the book you get a peek into his sketchbooks so you'll get an idea what he does when he walks around. I'm sure you've seen his brilliantly witty and economical illustrations in The Guardian, The Economist and Esquire, or elsewhere on the net.

Some samples from Noma Bar's book Negative Space

Don DeLillo covers

Now that you have a pretty good idea on Noma Bar's work we can focus on some new illustration work. This work is about book covers done for Don DeLillo's latest novel, Point Omega, as well as his other books. Book site Picador asked design agency It's Nice That to tackle this task. They approached Noma Bar to do his clever double take illustration magic on these covers. I'll let them explain:

It seemed obvious that the subtlety and craft in Noma's work was the perfect vehicle to try and communicate DeLillo's intricate and often sinister subjects. We had interviewed Noma for a previous issue of our publication and were waiting for the right project to work with him on, and the DeLillo re-issues could not have fit more perfectly.

Great Jones Street book cover

Now that we know a bit more about how this collaboration came to life it seems interesting to me get an idea on how Noma Bar himself approached the task of creating these book covers. Noma Bar explains:

My challenge was to create a range of ten books by Don DeLillo, a summary of more than 30 years of his writing. After a long process that involved reading, researching and sketching, I started to pull out some of the main elements of each story and tried to understand how Don DeLillo tailored them together. The result is a bold image for each cover that looks conventional at first, but at second glimpse reveals the whole story.

Running Dog book cover
What is it?

Is it Headphones? Gravestone? Musical note, or an open door? What I love about his work is that you need to take some time and discover the cleverness. It may require a second look etc, you need to absorb it. It may look easy on the surface to create this but I can assure it's not. Simplifying so that you are only left with enough lines the convey the message is never easy!

The Names book cover End Zone book cover Cosmopolis book cover Point Omega book cover The Body Artist book cover Underworld book cover White Noise Falling Man book cover

If you can't get enough of Noma Bar's illustrations I recommend that you go check Dutch Uncle, who represents Noma Bar's work. I'm pretty sure you'll not be disappointed.


  1. 1 George 21 Apr 2011

    There are some very impressive pieces in this post. The “Falling Man” one is particularly powerful, as the images of people falling from the towers is one of those sights that will likely forever be etched into my mind. The 11, the towers, and the falling victim come together in such a powerful fashion.