For the 10th edition of the Critical Hit Awards, we asked designer Matt Tanner a few questions about the official seal he created for us.
What is it about literary criticism that made you think of dinosaurs shooting lasers from their eyes?
I feel like this is a bit of a leading question, where I’m supposed to say something cute about reviewing being an old form that requires precision. The truth, though, is that I was playing off the title of the award and the dinosaur logo of Fiction Advocate. I definitely gave the burst some thought, but the concept wasn’t exactly high-minded.
Are there any other medals for book awards that you particularly admire or dislike—the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, the Newberry, the Caldecott?
I think each of those medals is quite handsome, and in some sense I was probably had all of them—or rather the “burst” versions used on book covers—in the back of my mind when I designed the Critical Hits seal. Still, I wouldn’t say I was influenced by any one in particular. Critical Hits seemed to need a more contemporary look. At least, that’s my story for anyone who says the seals looks shabby and hastily put-together. That said, of those four, I’d say the Caldecott is my favorite, whereas the Newberry is a little creepy.
When someone wins a Critical Hit Award, how can they use your design to celebrate it?
The best way to celebrate the award is by getting a tattoo of the seal. Obviously. I’d say a distant second would be incorporating the seal into one’s own letterhead and then writing me a personal note of praise.
– Brian Hurley