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.