Researching Book covers

I decided it might be useful to start a collection of book covers and think about what components they contain eg photos, text only, illustration etc.
I want to try think about what sort of impression they give and the themes.

Starting with my current book – easy because I know what its about!

Woman high profile lawyer has an affair with dangerous consequences. Dark alleyway part of the novel, stark yellow letters with shadows like the street lights or the trial in court she faces.

This cover really draws on the Golden Ratio ( a concept which I get by viewing but the mathematical side of it goes totally over my head!)

Humorous book – beautifully laid out  – illustrations refer to aspects of the novel

The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead

The Snobs

Researched the work of her before – Sara Fanelli is the artist -her work revolves around drawing and collage with a keen sense of design and typography.

Great website which looks at book designs and how they were created and the ideas behind the concepts

Love, love, love this one

Really great article about the background to this very type based design. I wouldn’t at first look see this was created by hand type. Makes me think sometimes simple is better!

I also like this sort of design, below which appears to be a pretty common style -with title and author, a character silhouette illustration, quite simple shapes and designs

I then went on to look at different publishing houses and how they fit together as a series – if they do at all.

One to consider – Penguin, Random House faceoff books – look on  wikipedia

What is their design style ? Look up blogs

I found this article detailing the process that Suzanne Dean went through when designing for Random House for the book called The Sense of an Ending.

I came across a video created for the Inside Random House series, which takes viewers behind the scenes at the publisher’s offices, book designers explain their creative processes and the unique demands of creating covers for some of the world’s biggest authors. The speakers, including Chip Kidd andPeter Mendelsund of KnopfMarysarah Quinn and Christopher Brand of Crown, and Robbin Schiff of Random House, discuss the importance of a close reading of the text in question and share cover outtakes for titles like The Dinner by Herman KochAll That Is by James SalterSalt, Sugar, Fat byMichael Moss; and Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff. Full video is below

I found this article

which talks about various ways of attracting readers to the book by the cover design.

These are things which I think I’ll certainly bear in mind when experimenting with my own covers.

Theories such as Zen theory which involve text with few images, telling the reader little about the book other than the name of the author is often used when the authors name alone is enough to pull in readers. Text alone can also be specifically customised to create images and ideas for example I think that example by J Gray is very simple but strong using minimal colour and shape on the letters to indicate the title (ie animal fur).

Eating Animals

The Lost Art of Walking

Likewise the use of shoes and foot prints to create type reinforces the theme and the is eye catching.

Combining both image with the text as in this piece below is also really effective

I had a look at a few publishing houses in particular starting with one which I did think seemed to have a lot of similarly styled covers – Pan MacMillan.

Covers seem to mainly involve images which portray a scene or something about the novel.

The Playdate

Ellis Island

All images Pan MacMillan.

Penguin book covers are quite notorious and have been discussed and documented in many articles and books

Windmill Books

Windmill book seem to feature a lot of images on the front cover manupulated with calligraphy or type.

I looked at the back of a number of their covers and noted that a photographer named Colin Thomas has provided the images.


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