Former competitive swimmer and Olympic hopeful Leanne Shapton earned a National Book Critics Circle Award for her 2012 memoir Swimming Studies. The cover of her book deserves accolades as well. Shapton, who is also an artist and former New York Times Art Director explained the inspiration for the cover in an interview with Cool Hunting:
I knew I wanted the book to feel, in the hands, more like a cahier, or sketchbook, and that I did not want a dust jacket. Then I found an old book in Paris, a textbook on diving, called La Plongée. There was no jacket and the title was at the bottom of the cover, very subtly implying a submersion. I loved it and pushed for just text on the cover, no byline no image, but my publishers had a few… requirements. In thinking of images I kept going back to Ellsworth Kelly. I love how he reduces shapes. Finally we agreed on matte foil stamp, title at bottom of page, byline smallish, and it was between the swim cap shape and one of the pool shapes from the swimming pools chapter. We went with the cap, (which more women recognize, understandably) and the UK and German publishers went with the pool shape.
Swimming Studies also features sketches and illustrations by Shapton.