Cover Design Q&A: Fire Feasts

Show menu

14 Jun 2022 |

Hello to Emily again! Emily is Senior Designer at Quadrille, who previously appeared on the Advent edition of the cover design blog. This month we spoke to her about DJ BBQ’s latest book, Fire Feasts. Read on to discover how she approached the brief, and what it’s really like behind the scenes on a DJ BBQ shoot! You can find Emily on Instagram and Twitter, or see more of her work on her website.

What was the brief?

My brief was pretty open – something bold and punchy, that could stand alone but also feel connected to DJ BBQ/Christian’s previous books. Christian’s personal brief was something “RAD!”.


In addition to Fire Food (2018) and The Burger Book (2019), this is DJ BBQ’s third book with Quadrille. Did any elements from these two previous titles feed into the design and art direction of Fire Feasts?

We always wanted them to feel like they were from the same family, so I kept this in mind when coming up with concepts for the cover. I ended up using a red for the title which is very similar to Fire Food and we added some texture to keep the rustic feel too. Although I didn’t design the cover for Fire Food, I’ve been involved in all three books so I’m very much aware of DJ BBQ’s brand and overall vibe. It’s fun and colourful, just like the guys themselves. The photography and layout design are always lively and a riot of colour, so we wanted something that captured that on the cover to tie it all together.

Can you share with us the process of this project? What was the idea and inspiration for the cover design and layout?


I centred my approach around bold typography – mainly inspired by vintage American wood block printing. I also tried a few photographic (using photography from previous DJ BBQ books) and illustrated (using some woodcut illustrations) ideas.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t also inspired by a leather jacket. At the same time as I was putting concepts together, Christian posted a video of him wearing a new jacket designed by Sarah Baily. It was cream leather with red, white and blue fringing, and a red lightning bolt on the back. Totally Christian and totally Fire Feasts. These colours and icons were a great starting point for me. (Photo below of Christian in leather jacket by David Loftus.)


Without sounded too big-headed, I felt like I’d cracked it as soon as I put the vertical type option together (sometimes you just know) but I always find it useful to try different directions too. It’s great to compare, not just for myself but the editor, Harriet, as well as the wider in-house team. Luckily, we were all on the same page with this one – we all loved the strong type option. You’ll notice the first mockup isn’t too far from the final cover.

We planned on debossing the title for a real ‘wood block printed’ feel so I also added a distressed texture to the type to complete the look. We looked at adding some more elements to the cover – stars, fire, a bbq – to make the message clear. We settled on stars on the fake quarter-bind and the icons sitting on the type.


Fire Feasts published on 12th May in the UK and we have seen some of the amazingly fun photos from the book on social media. What was it like on shoot with the Fire Feasts team?

A DJ BBQ shoot is unlike any other, let’s just say that. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have – sometimes you forget it’s work. There’s singing, dancing, and jacket potatoes on skateboards… I have to say, David Loftus the photographer does such an amazing job of capturing the chaos!


There is a special beer collaboration between DJ BBQ and Gipsy Hill Brewing which the cover design is featured on the Della lager cans. Did you have a chance to try the special brew and how did you feel seeing your work featured on the beer?


Very cool to see the cover on the can! We got to try it at the book launch – I’m not a beer fan haha, but everyone else said it was great.


What is your must have dish for a BBQ?

You always need a potato salad – we love Christian’s smoked potato salad from Fire Food.

Photo by David Loftus, taken from Fire Food (2018) by DJ BBQ


What songs or which artist(s)/band(s) would you have on your BBQ party playlist?

A happy sunshine playlist featuring my faves – Paramore, Phoebe Bridgers, Orlando Weeks, Oh Wonder, Fickle Friends.

Describe your Fire Feasts experience with not less than 3 emojis.


Fire Feasts by DJ BBQ is out now, available from local bookshops, Amazon and Waterstones.

Read our previous Cover Design Q&As! 
Advent with Emily Lapworth | The Italian Deli with Katherine Keeble  | Crave with Claire Rochford  | Sea and Shore with Nikki Ellis  | La Vita è Dolce with Susan Le  | Bowls and Broths with Han Valentine  | The Nordic Baker with Gemma Hayden