With regard to the logo, simplicity is key. Ideally, we're looking for a design that communicates that we publish books for serious, open-minded readers who aren't afraid of being taken out of their comfort zones.
A few concrete directives:
1) Colors and textures are welcome, but the logo should have a design that will read well when printed as a monotone outline (white on black, etc.). As the logo will also be printed on the back/spine of a book, it needs to be scalable.
2) We're primarily interested in a design that will work with or without the company name as a subscript. That is, a potential reader should be able to recognize the logo without reading the company name. We're open to other design directions, however, so if you have an idea, run with it.
3) We'd prefer a low/wide layout to a high/narrow one. Again, we're open to other proposals.
4) Refer to attached pictures: high contrast, easily recognizable when scaled down, most have an icon that implies human involvement/creation