Thursday, February 5, 2015

Judging A Book By Its Cover

Before we open a book and before we explore its content, we're given one visual chance to judge a book. We usually don't purposefully judge it, but that's what our eyes do. Good image, bad image, strong image, simple image, no image, etc. we make a decision with a quick glimpse about how we think the book is going to be. That's a lot of pressure for a book! I have decided to explore how different artists have used typography in their covers, and why that's a good or bad decision.

1. All That Is Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh McKeon

 This cover illustration, by Steven Bonner, provides a perfectly depicted image of the mood that is reflected in the book. The words up top start in a solid, strong manner and get more distorted and liquid as you move down. This reflects the storyline of the book; the people in the beginning are living happy, full lives and as the story goes they hit more tragedy and go down hill very quickly. What originally drew me to this cover was the strong, explosive way he used typography to create an image and a story.

2. Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither

Luke Lucas created this cover for Stefanie Gaither's "Falls the Shadow." The story of the book is that parents have an option of cloning their children in case something goes wrong with the first. This cover does a very good job of portraying a cold, emotionless world. Even the background texture adds to this technology-driven feel of what a world like that would be. The chosen typography does a great job of creating a machine-created world. This is a strong depiction of image interacting with typography to create effects and emotions. 

3. The Way Through the Door by Jesse Ball

A combined effort between two prominent book cover designers, Helen Yentus and Jason Booher, this cover provides a sense of mystery, class, and interaction for the reader, the perfect combination of what a book cover should be. Although the letters are cut in half, they are fully present. Because the bottom is at the top and the top is at the bottom, the reader is forced to explore the whole page which leads to more questions and draws the eye to the middle where it is perceived as an inward journey. Where do the doors lead? Well, you have to read and find out. 

4. Against Happiness by Eric G. Wilson

Why does it look so cheerful if the words are in a frown?! Because it's against happiness, and that's what designer Jennifer Carrow recreated perfectly. Here we have an example of typography becoming a symbol. It's not an image, but we still know exactly what it is. This is the beauty of creating symbols to represent what you don't need to show. The frown created by this single line of text has so much personality that you automatically feel a connection to the story. We've all felt sadness before, so we understand. In contrast, the bright yellow background brings out the cheer we've all felt before as well.

5. Be Bold With Bananas by Michael Bell 

And on the slightly more humorous side to the design world... your book is about bananas? Why not. 

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