5 Questions With: Graphic Designer Rodrigo Corral

School of Visual Arts alum Rodrigo Corral is responsible for some of the most memorable book covers of the past few years. The red-splashed silhouette for the cover of Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; that beautiful sprinkled-covered hand on the cover of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces; those fuchsia lips on Chuck Palahniuk’s Snuff — his visuals stick with you as much as the stories themselves.

You can check out more of Corral’s work as part of SVA’s The Wilde Years: Four Decades of Shaping Visual Culture through November 7, and view a slideshow of select pieces featured in the show here »

1. Do you believe that less is more in graphic design?
No, at least not conceptually. I don’t like overly decorated work, but can appreciate design that is layered with multiple ideas, especially in books.

2. Have you ever designed a cover you loved for a book you hated? If so, did it make you feel deceitful?
Hated? Have I designed covers for books that felt less than completely new and fresh? Sure; but it’s my job to give every book the best possible chance out there on the shelves — strictly visually speaking, and I shouldn’t judge their literary merits. It does feel pretty good to work on books I love reading though.

3. Have you formed any friendships with authors because of your work — particularly with someone like Palahniuk, who you’ve worked with more than once?
Not many friendships because I don’t generally work directly with the authors, but there have been many instances of mutual respect, and I’ve received some very generous letters. I have watched some fights (professional boxing, of course) with James Frey, which has been fun.

4. The infamous Chip Kidd taught you at SVA, right? What was that like?
He did. And honestly, I learned the most from him (and Barbara DeWilde whom he taught with) post-SVA, by studying their work, processes, and choices.

5. Do you believe in love at first sight?
With people, I believe in lust at first sight — but believe in a love that grows. With art, furniture, or an object I can pretty much love something instantly.