Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Covers and Font Issues

Have you seen India Drummond's excellent cover for Talli Roland's no doubt excellent novel, Build A Man?

If not, it's worth looking at - I think it's a great example of good cover design. And it got me thinking about cover art, and what does or doesn't work for me.

I know absolutely nothing about design, but I have very strong feelings about it - like the guy who said 'I don't know about art, but I know what I like.' I know what I don't like.
My big pet hate is anything that looks amateurish. If I look at a cover and think 'I could have done that,' I instantly won't like it. I want to feel that skill has gone into creating a cover. And there is no area with more scope for looking amateurish that the text of the title (And I have a font problem. I love them. I download them constantly. When I designed the invitations for Paul's wedding, choosing the fonts took weeks, not least because his wife is as bad as I am).

But a good cover is a fantastic thing. I think India's design does a great job - it's vibrant and eye-catching without being loud, and it gives a sense of the character and the tone of the book (or at least what I assume the tone will be, having read Talli's other books).

Do you have any favourite book covers?


  1. I like the old paperback covers for the UK releases of the Dresden Files. Given that the books are written as though they are the protagonist's casefiles, each book looks like the exterior of a different cardboard filing box, with something signifigant about the plot, like a piece of the Turin Shroud or the marks of a werewolf's claw, on the front. Very evocative.

  2. Yay! Thanks so much for the shout-out. I'm really thrilled with what India has designed.

    Hm... I love a lot of the dark YA covers around. Ruth Long (an Irish writer) has a YA novel coming out called 'The Treachery of Beautiful Things' and I adore her cover. So evocative.

  3. A very simple one but I loved it is the cover of The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams, it's just a drawing of a wicker chair but it makes me happy for some reason.
    I also really like the cover of Kevin Brockmeiers "A Bried History of the Dead"

  4. Book covers are a wonderful thing. It's the first aspect of a book that attracts me. If it's plain I won't even pick up the book. If it's colorful and pretty, preferably with a hunky guy on the cover, I'm hooked. :)

  5. I have the same problem with most e-covers, but I kind of thought maybe that was my graphic designer opinion. Bad design bugs the heck out of me.

    And you're totally right, the photos used aren't what really seem to make or break a cover to me -- it's the text. Not just the size/font/effects, but the placement of the text. The ones that look the most amateurish to me are the ones where the text is placed to keep the image intact. (Though, flat, one color, pixelation... all that is problematic for text too)

  6. I love how India has managed to create a wonderful cover that's still in keeping with Talli's 'brand'.

    I hate what I call 'chocolate box' covers, generic pastel scenes that seem to have no relevance to the story.

  7. It's very fitting for Talli's books, and striking, which is what she's going for.

    I'm lucky to have a good cover designer, because I'd be out of my depth trying to do it myself.

    I was passing by books at a shop today, and sure enough, there were a number of books by authors who were working in the Twilight vein... and as idiotic as that series is, it's even more pointless to be writing books that are nothing more then ripoffs, and they come across that way just by the covers alone.

  8. I feel the same way. There's not a designer bone in my body so if I see something that I could have designed myself... that's bad. I love covers that are simple, colourful and where you can clearly see the author's name. (Is that my writer's ego talking? lol)

  9. Interesting to read that post. You are really understand how to catch the viewers. Wow Good Thanks for update.


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