1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    What IS happening in book cover design right now?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Wreybies, Jun 26, 2014.

    Does anyone have ties or good articles as to current design trends? Photorealism? Abstract? Font focused?
     
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  2. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it largely depends on the genre? I might be wrong.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    YA covers seem to be leaning toward fairly simple designs, a lot of solid color, and hand-drawn-looking graphics. For example, the covers of

    Eleanor & Park
    The Fault in Our Stars
    Fangirl
    Attachments
    The Beginning of Everything

    I'm inclined to think that I've seen the simplicity and the solid colors, but not the hand-drawn images, in a lot of non-YA books lately, too, especially nonfiction books, but I'm failing to find any evidence. But evidence or not, that's the style that I'm seeing as "modern" right this minute.

    (Hmm. The earlier cover of "Blue Plate Special" by Kate Christensen also has the hand-drawn look, this time looking like chalkboard art.)
     
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  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I don't think there is a trend, Googling for best sellers the covers are all over the map. But that doesn't mean a cover choice isn't a critical choice.

    I don't particularly like John Green's "The Fault of Our Stars" because it looks like a self help book or non-fiction anyway.

    A good book will find an audience despite the cover, however, like the title, I think there are certain elements that one might find from looking at marketing research which help. Something that intrigues, not necessarily something that says [fill in the blank] genre like all the romance book covers seem to have.

    Yes, We Really Do Judge Books by Their Covers
     
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  5. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I always agreed that a book cover matters a lot just because I personally drop books if the cover art looks cheap. Pretty boxes for diamonds, cardboard for sentimental things, paper for cheap food.

    Its why I hope I get some say or control over the art for my books, as I know there are some publishers who don't order good ones or the art doesn't even match the book.

    Even a few authors that I like complain about not getting say on their covers.
     
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  6. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    The Book Cover Archive might be worth a look. It has the facility to browse book covers by date of publication, so you can see how trends in design have changed year by year.
     
  7. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Of course, the problem is that most authors don't have the know-how/marketing knowledge to determine what a "good" book cover is. While, of course, one can point out the exceptions, the vast majority of the time publishers have a damn good idea of what a marketable book cover is, versus nice artwork or artwork the author likes. However, like anything else in a contract, one can negotiate for some say - but unless one has extensive knowledge/experience in marketing, I wouldn't presume to tell the publisher their business.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Aha! This is the kind of thing I was hoping to find. Thank you! :agreed:

    So, the Sci-Fi seems to be going to a very abstracted look.

    These are by Sandra Zahirovic:
    Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 9.27.21 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 9.27.29 PM.png

    These are by Karen Horten:
    Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 9.25.35 PM.png
    And these are by Evan Gaffney:
    There's something very "drop menu"-ie about the text.
    Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 9.24.48 PM.png
     
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  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    OW!!

    Those Sandra Zahirovic covers are HORRIBLE!

    The others suck, too. I just bought a new copy of Delaney's Nova (I'd read it when I was teen) and a huge wave of sadness washed over me when I took it out of the Amazon box. It's that cover @Wreybies posted there, by Evan Gaffney, and it does not look like a mind-expanding science fiction novel. It looks like a government report on economics in the age of dot-matrix printers.

    If this is how publishers are trying to attract readers to sci-fi, they have their heads irretrievably stuck up their assholes, and it's pretty dark up there. They're removed all hint of the sense of wonder and replaced it with ads for paper clips in blister packs.
     
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  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, that new Nova cover is sterile, and the one for Dhalgren is simply mute. It says nothing. The copies I have have these covers:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The font-work is dated, no doubt, but the art is so much more intriguing and connected to the stories.
     
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  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @Wreybies, those are the exact editions I had in the 70s! I read Nova, but never made it through Dahlgren (forgive me - it's kinda tough going for a mid-teen Canadian kid). At least, the table of contents of Dahlgren taught me the word Anathema.
     
  12. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I never realized how important covers were to the appeal of books besides the original attraction...
     
  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    People who judge a book by its cover are idiots. I think the last time I picked a book based on its cover was back in the fifth grade.
     
  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Don't apologize, man. Dhalgren is a beast of a book. :) Since everything I buy now is digital, when I can't find a descent cover to go with the metadata, sometimes I hunt down the original artwork of the original covers I liked and reimagine it. Not always possible, but you do find some interesting source material, like the original cover art I liked best by John Schoenherr for Dune:

    [​IMG]

    Which let me reimagine this cover:

    [​IMG]

    Into this cover:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That first Dune cover was on the hardback copy I borrowed from my local library in Montreal in 197humdehum!

    That paperback copy you show with the $1.25 pricetag is almost exactly my roomie's copy, which is right here:

    [​IMG]

    except my roomie's is older, because it's only 95 cents! :p
     
  16. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not really. I pick up a book that has a cheap, amateurish cover and I don't go any further. I figure if the cover's that bad, the writing/editing is probably worse.
     
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  17. graphicsmyway
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    graphicsmyway Banned

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    yes, books are judged by its covers. It is essential to every writer.
     
  18. graphicsmyway
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    graphicsmyway Banned

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    Interesting.
     
  19. graphicsmyway
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    graphicsmyway Banned

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    Not really they are not idiots. Covers is based on what you want, a designer designs base on the information you provided.
     
  20. graphicsmyway
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    graphicsmyway Banned

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    Yes, it all depends on what the author wants.Am in the design field so i know what it is like.
     
  21. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unless you're talking about self-publishing, covers are not based nor depend on what the author wants. They are designed based on what will help sell the book. It's nice if the author can have some input, but not required. Frankly, I'd be more worried about a publisher who does let the author "design" the cover - what else are they going to sluff off, or not do at all?
     
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  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Whatever happened to the idea of attracting a potential buyer to a particular book by making it stand out from the others, and giving the reader a faint clue as to what might be inside?

    I find I go into bookstores at the moment, and find little to choose between books in similar genres. They've all got the same slick 'look.' Boring.

    If you're going to buy a book anyway, the cover doesn't matter. If you're already familiar with a particular author, the cover probably doesn't matter. But if you're just looking for something to catch your eye and interest you, a good cover can attract—or repel.

    By all means, the cover must be professional in quality. But for crying out loud, let's get some diversity back in there!
     
  23. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    That's a little harsh, but I think it depends on your manner of shopping for books. If you are not one to browse your local bookseller's shelves, and instead perhaps you follow a certain group of authors, or find your books via reviews and author interviews (I've done that) then yes, I can see how covers might seem inconsequential, but if you do browse, if you do peruse the shelves and pull this book and that book you've never heard of, sorry bro, your choices have been influenced by cover art to one degree or another in one direction or another. An entire industry is present to make sure of the fact.

    To use Delany's work again, to the reader who has never heard of the man, browsing an afternoon away at Gimme' Some Books bookstore, this cover:

    [​IMG]

    sells a very different first impression than this cover:

    [​IMG]

    or this cover:

    [​IMG]

    ETA: The second cover looks like part of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series, and, OMG!, Dhalgren couldn't be further from it, and the last one looks like a textbook for a very, very, very dry subject. Accounting or Stenography.
     
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  24. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yeah, perhaps I was being a little harsh, but for me, judging a book means reading the first 20 or so pages (maybe even 10) and deciding whether to continue based on that. A lot of older hardcover books at used book stores are missing their DJs, so there's no cover art or anything like that. Unless you're familiar with the book and/or author, you actually have to open the book and read a bit to see if you want to buy it. I've found a lot of gems this way. Now that I think about, I'm actually glad people judge a book by its cover because that's probably why so many people skip over the hardcovers with no DJ.
     
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  25. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Something makes you pick up an unfamiliar fiction book in a bookstore—one you've not heard of before. You're unfamiliar with the author. So ...what is it? Is it just the title, or does the cover design come into it as well?

    Of course you'll delve into the book a bit before deciding to buy it. But what makes you pick it up in the first place?

    I know for me, covers certainly come into it. I know I DO pick up ones with covers that attract me. After delving a bit I decide to buy or not to buy. But cover art (and titles) do come into it. Sadly, NEITHER has anything much to do with how well the book has been written.
     
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