Category Archives: Book Covers

Covering the covers

Across the pond, The Financial Times is running a periodic “check in” with current book covers. They’ve only picked 4 so far, but the insight from the news staff as been fairly good. They actually take the time to discuss some of the designers influences and frames of reference for each of the covers. I hope they keep it up.

What’s fun is that they are not just reviewing the covers of new releases. So you never know what might turn up. So far, the Molloy cover is my favorite. Very Alvin Lustig. And they say the spine has no title, author or publisher emblem, which would seem to make it one of the more useless jackets designed.

A bunch of Chip Kidd

The folks over at GalleyCat posted a link to mediabistro’s design blog unbeige which featured a year-end wrap up of Chip Kidd highlights. If you’re interested in bookcover design, Kidd news is always colorful and insightful.

I especially liked this article in The Telegraph, but only in the celeb-news junkie kinda way. Not sure why it’s important that I know what Kidd has over his sofa, but I enjoyed the piece none-the-less. Sort of a pop-ish look, at the man that puts out some of the best book covers, on the planet.

Also, here is a link to the USA Today page which is posting the serialized version of Kidd’s sophomore novel effort The Lerners.

Ok, enough with the love-fest…

A sound design?

snipshot_e49wna6i56p.jpgI’m really not crazy about this cover. Though I think the process is VERY cool. If I understand it correctly, then every book has it’s own cover, since each was “recorded” at a different place and time. I just wish that the designers had chosen different symbols, patterns, etc. for the machines to manipulate.
I realize none of this makes any sense. That’s why you should watch the first video on their site. The last video on site, is cool too, since it shows all the graphics being pushed around by the city’s sounds.
(via book covers)

Score!

In an effort to save money and whittle down my “to be read” pile I have seriously curtailed my book buying this year. So far I’m doing pretty good. But today my willpower broke when I ran across a copy of Stefan Salter’s “From Cover to Cover”!

Yes, he’s one of THE Salter brothers. Though not as prolific as his older brother George, Stefan did hold his own as a book/book cover designer. This is a collection of some of his thoughts and opinions on design and publishing in general. Penned back in 1969 it’s sure to offer some unique insights.

I can’t wait to get that one started.

“Distinction is the key…”

Wise words that I need to remember. I just finished reading an 2006 interview with Paul Buckley, Art Director at Penguin. He said they crank out 600 covers a year! I can’t imagine the scheduling nightmares they must have.
Buckley spoke directly to something I struggle with with every title:

“…tend to flood the market with books that have huge, foil-embossed type, and instead of these getting your attention, they actually fade into a sea of sameness – or if they do catch your attention, you might feel like you are being yelled at in some cheap, aggressive way. Certainly typography is a beautiful medium and large type can be gorgeous, but there are so few books out there that achieve this…”

“That’s why distinction is key, and not big type.”

It’s so easy to just make the type big and hardline the contrast. It makes the authors happy and marketing happy and it “pops”. But it’s amazing how small and faded that same cover appears when you’re in the store looking at it amongst the competition.

By the way, I stumbled upon the above interview while trying to catch up on a couple of the Flickr groups I like, Magic City, Typography and Lettering and Book Design, when I chased a rabbit that led to the article.

Penguin’s Pet Project

They seem to be going after the “Pimp Your Ride” crowd.

Basically Penguin will start selling (end of November) real books by real authors… but with no covers. Apparently they hope people will buy the blanks and design their own covers and share with the world.

You can keep up with this project and gallery of uploaded user’s pics on Penguin’s site.

I’m not sure this gimmick will catch on. Just seems kinda hokey. Should be fun to watch though. I wonder if there will be a price difference in a book with a cover and without a cover?