Smart Authors and Designers Discuss Their Covers
June 13, 2012 2:09 PM   Subscribe

Talking Covers: authors and designers talk about the ideas behind their book covers. posted by mattbucher (9 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
It's the first thing you see, and a great cover can draw you in and persuade you to start that journey of discovery, page by page. ShortList picked 50 of the coolest.
posted by netbros at 2:23 PM on June 13, 2012

Ugh, book covers. BOOK COVERS. They literally keep me up at night.

I am the worst at designing covers for my own work, and as such, my respect for those who succeed at it is pretty much boundless. It's like MAGIC.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:30 PM on June 13, 2012

Man why do UK edition paperbacks have such BETTER covers? There's no comparison to mass market US covers.
posted by The Whelk at 2:34 PM on June 13, 2012

Interesting blog. Thank you.

Less talk more browse can be found at or
posted by KMB at 2:54 PM on June 13, 2012

I think I've mentioned it before on this site, but here's a bombass interview with Peter Mendelsund - the subject of the blog's most recent post - on his cover for Tom McCarthy's C.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:24 PM on June 13, 2012

Hey, Whelk, those are SO not not my feelings on the matter. Design quality is hit and miss for the UK; occasionally I'll see something interesting, but usually the UK editions feel a bit thrown together, like this cover for the Hunger Games that tries to do five things at once and is successful at none of them. To me, it seems like the UK publishers skimp on their book production overall; I find that a lot of UK paperbacks are printed on chintzy paper stock and have weak glue bindings, to boot.

Here's an overview of some 2012 US vs. UK covers from the Millions. The UK version of IQ84 feels weak, but that could be because I've grown so accustomed to Chip Kidd's work for Murakami. The blogger uses the term "underdone" to describe one of the UK covers, and that feels right. He likes the UK cover of the Tiger's Wife, but I find it way less nuanced than the American cover. And you know, maybe it's because I've seen both editions of a lot of these, and the weight and paper quality of the UK versions are consistantly sub-par, so it's harder for me to give full credit to the covers.

Here's a few more of the UK vs. US posts.

Anyway, I spend a lot of time thinking about book covers. My latest fit occurred when they changed the cover of Patrick Dewitt's Sisters Brothers from its clever hardcover design to a generic feeling photograph.
posted by redsparkler at 4:05 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

And while we're talking about people talking about cover art, I loved the Penguin 75: Designers, Authors, Commentary. The designer discusses the covers, the art director chimes in, the editors and authors get involved; it's just a great hodgepodge of graphic discussion from folks involved in the different facets of the book's development.
posted by redsparkler at 4:11 PM on June 13, 2012

Wow, this site is a gold mine! It's interesting the different approaches different designers use toward book covers; some use photos, some rifle thru older artwork, some create their own. That one guy apparently put together the flames and photographed them, which is awesome.
posted by malapropist at 9:26 PM on June 13, 2012

The Flame Alphabet is gorgeous. I'm a big fan of Jamie Keenan's work (yes, he's a Brit) -- and not just because he designed my book.
posted by muckster at 12:18 AM on June 14, 2012

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