Just shelf-talkin’ it

(Oct 09, 2009)

Like many other artists, I have a part time job to help support me financially. Luckily for me I happen to have that part time job be at the largest independent bookstore in the country, Powell’s Books. Besides being surrounded by awesome books and awesome people all the time, another perk of the job is that I get to do what we call ‘shelf-talkers’. They’re basically tiny signage that we put under books that we want to market to draw people’s attention to them.

Anyhow, here’s a little sample of ‘Best of’ for various reasons.




There are a few criteria I use for which books get shelf-talkers. 1.] the book is awesome and I want to try to point that out, 2.] i have lots of copies of the book and I want to try to move them off the shelf, and 3.] the shelf-talker for the book will be awesome, whether the book itself is or not.




I think my favorite part of making shelf-talkers is that I’m at work and my supplies are very limited. It gets me to think of layout a little more consciously than I might at home in the studio knowing that I can tweak things here and there in Photoshop. It never turns out perfect, and a lot of the time the typography is a little askew, but it’s always good practice and helps me work out my design muscles.




I like how even with the tiny sample of drawing like these you can see me getting better as an artist and a designer. It’s always nice to see a progression of yourself.

Anyhow, there are a ton more shelf-talkers, and some other images I’ve done for the Pearl Room after the cut.







4 Responses to “Just shelf-talkin’ it”

  1. Wow, this stuff is great. Haha, I love the Renaissance illustration.

  2. Whoa whoa whoa, easy there. Are you trying to win best fucking shelf-talkers ever award, dude? Jesus.
    I started doing this at Half-Price thinking it was standard bookstore procedure….they were all like, “Wow, this is so innovative!” Apparently, shelf-talkers are just a Powell’s thing. Weird.
    I obviously need to step up my game a little bit since yours are freaking amazing.

  3. thanks, guys. that’s strange that it isn’t standard bookstore procedure.

  4. […] in my drawing, design & execution of shelf talkers, you can check out a post I made on the brownpaperbag blog [the website I share with Jason Rainey] a year or so […]

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