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The Yarn: Episode 4 – Phil Falco (Plus How The Yarn Logo Was Made)

The Yarn

What is The Yarn?

S1 E4 – Phil Falco

Phil Falco

Phil Falco is an art director and cover designer for Scholastic. You may not know his name, but if you’ve ever seen the books Smile, Amulet, or Tales from Outer Suburbia (and many others), you know his work.

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We talked to Phil about all kinds of cover-related topics: how trends get started, his first cover, and the process behind the cover for Sunny Side Up.

Behind the Scenes

Since we’re talking about cover design with Phil Falco, it seemed like a good time to show you how we came up with the logo for The Yarn.

The initial title Colby and I came up with for the show was The Story. It’s simple, straightforward, and it gets better the more you think about it.

We checked iTunes. The Story was already taken:

The Story Podcast

After that, we narrowed it down to two choices: The (Title), and The Yarn. I started doodling on both. Most of the logos in iTunes are professional-looking, so I thought hand-drawn would stand out. Also helping make this decision was the fact that I’m incapable of creating something professional-looking.

Yarn Logo - 1 Yarn Logo - 2 Yarn Logo - 3

We eventually decided on The Yarn – it seemed more clear (we are, however, reserving the right to use The (Title) in some capacity at a later date, so hands off).

Yarn Logo - 4 Yarn Logo - 5 Yarn Logo - 6 Yarn Logo - 7

As you can see, I tried a couple The Yarn attempts that looked…

  • …like the logo for a mediocre alternative rock band (#5)
  • …hideously on-the-nose (check the faux embroidery on #7).

Then I started going down the book path. I’d never seen a podcast with a logo that looks like a book (although, I’m sure there’s more than one out there). The square shape seems well-suited for that sort of thing. I thought a book design would perfectly represent our show about books.

Also, knowing that these logos are often viewed on a tiny screen, I wanted it to be simple and bold (hence the red background and large lettering).

Yarn Logo - 8 Yarn Logo - 9 Yarn Logo - 10

I sent this over to Colby and I think he said, “Try it with thicker lines”. So that’s how we arrived at the final.

Yarn Logo - 11

My Highlight

Easter Egg! My favorite part of the Phil Falco episode comes at then end, when Phil was kind enough to answer one more question that I had forgotten to ask during the initial interview.

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See you tomorrow for Episode 5 with art director and founder of the Graphix imprint, David Saylor.

Here’s the full schedule:

Season 1: Sunny Side Up
Aug. 17: Episode 1: Introduction/”This Season on The Yarn”
Aug. 18: Episode 2: Raina Telgemeier (graphic novelist)
Aug. 19: Episode 3: David Levithan (editor/author)
Aug. 20: Episode 4: Phil Falco (cover designer/art director)
Aug. 21: Episode 5: David Saylor (founder/publisher of Graphix imprint)
Aug. 22: Episode 6: Lark Pien (cartoonist/colorist)
Aug. 23: Episode 7: Matthew Holm (illustrator)
Aug. 24: Episode 8: Jennifer Holm (author)

As the episodes go up, I’ll post them all on this page.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Love this. So good!