Friday, June 18, 2010
Covers to Make Me Vomit
I freely admit that I am often swayed by covers. I am often tempted by covers. A beautifully crafted cover may be the nugget of goodness which prompts me to inquire into the substance of a book. I'm not so shallow as to assume that a cover will ruin an author or their story, but if we're talking about first impressions, the books above will not tempt me in the slightest. I personally get so sick of seeing the same repetitive "type" of cover, I could absolutely cry.
Beginning with the books above, there is a plague of "beachy" books. I assume publishers are playing into that whole "beach read" phenomenon, but a few things turn my stomach lately: feet, sand, water, feet and sand and water together, and washed out blue covers featuring a Pantene haircare model.
*swing hair to the left, swing hair to the right*
While they are pretty, they don't really *say* anything--to me, at least. They all look so similar, I have a tendency to pass them over unchecked.
Another seemingly endless and annoying trend in publishing is the headless woman. I won't go into much detail about this one because Sassymonkey covered it, but there are an astonishing number of female heads being lost these days. I've seen a lot of hips, I've seen tons of torsos, but heads are endangered.
Books can be art, and there are many books which embody art. For a prime example, visit Jim Tierney's website and blog. Jim is a recent graduate with a degree in illustration, and his books are simply stunning. I'm especially fond of his Jules Verne series he designed for his thesis project.
If you visit his site, you can see the details in all of their stunning glory as well as a video of how the covers came about. Every time I look at these books I find new and wonderful details that make them all the richer for the references they provide to the books' contents. They really are representative of Verne's work.
I realize that it would be far too expensive to have covers like these on every book, but they are such a beautiful example of how a well-designed cover can enhance the contents of a book and show them off in their best light instead of simply buying into a trend.
A while back I discovered Frances's blog, Nonsuch Book, and became an instant fan. Frances is a collector and a lover of beautifully designed covers, and her sidebar is almost a work of art. Occasionally she spotlights an especially beautiful or well-designed book or series of books. One of my favorite of her posts lately is called "penguin-centric." Designer, Amy Fleisher, decided to have a little fun with the Penguin mascot and Frankenstein, Dracula, Pinocchio, and The Invisible Man. I would totally buy them. Go take a look.
Finally, my very favorite cover designer is the weird and wacky Chip Kidd. Author of The Cheese Monkeys, he is probably one of the most famous cover designers in the business. My favorite part about Kidd is the fact that his style is so flexible. Looking at his gallery of covers, they're varied, finely crafted, and they just look thoughtful.