Once again its time to talk book covers and book cover design. I have talked previously about my favorite covers from childhood and how the mere sight of a great cover in the window of a bookstore would draw me in like the scent of cheese to a mouse. If the cover is the magnet the publisher and author uses to attract readers, there are certain principles of design that used to be taken into consideration to make that cover the one that grabs peoples attention, that yells look at me, that makes them want to know what that book is about.
For printed books, the designer has to look at several things such as book size, typographic palette (how blocks of text are located on a cover), book covers, book spines and fonts. With respect to eBooks, spines aren’t relevant, nor is book size, at least how it is normally used in the publisher world. It’s not the actual physical size that matters here with eBooks but that readers are often looking at a smaller graphic when choosing eBooks. So now smaller has to make an even greater impact. All the other design elements remain the same. Book covers, whether for print or electronic books, must be compelling enough to make the reader to choose that book, to persuade the customer that what is inside is fascinating, marvelous stuff.
Another rule is that the book cover should match the book it is being designed for. Whether the design is simple or rich in detail, elegant or street tough, uses a cover model or an illustration, there should be no disconnect between the subject matter inside and out. I can’t tell you how many times I thought nice cover but what does it have to do with the subject of the book? And it if is a book series, then all the covers should be similar enough to brand each book a part of a series, one glance tells you who the author is and what series you are reading (ex. Abigail Roux’s Cut & Run series with a singular object on the cover). A great book cover makes you anticipate, endows you with a need to discover.
On every review I write I also mention the covers and the cover artists. There are always some cover artists who continue to turn out one enticing cover after another, there are some artists you can identify just by looking at the style of the design or paintings on the cover (Paul Richmond, Posh Gosh). And then this year saw a new artist or two whose cover reached out with it’s compelling designs and emotional overtones. This year also saw a trend towards retro illustrations and design which I loved and others whose richness in color and detail left me gasping in delight. It was hard to narrow the covers down as there were so many worthy of mention, so I did break it down into a few categories.
So here they are, Scattered Thoughts Best Covers of 2012(with apologies in advance for the formatting problems):
On the Trail to Moonlight Gulch by Shelter Somerset/Artist Anne Cain
The Mystery of Ruby Lode by Scotty Cade / Artist Reese Dante
The Celestial by Barry Brennessel/ Artist Winterheart Designs
Acrobat by Mary Calmes/ Artist Anne Cain
Mine by Mary Calmes/Artist Anne Cain
Mourning Heaven by Amy Lane/Artist Paul Richmond
Sidecar by Amy Lane/Artist Shoshana Appavu
Time Gone By by Jan Suzukawa/Artist Anne Cain
Turkey in the Snow by Amy Lane/Artist Catt Ford
Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C/Artist Reese Dante
The Ronin and The Fox by Cornelia Grey/Artist Nathie
A Token of Time by Ethan Day/Artist Winterheart Design
Science Fiction Novels:
Burn by TJ Klune/Artist Catt Ford
Josh of the Damned, Triple Feature by Andrea Speed/Artist LC Chase
Riot Boy by Katey Hawthorne/Artist P.L. Nunn
Infected Series by Andrea Speed/ Artist Anne Cain
Knitting series by Amy Lane/Artist Catt Ford
Leopard’s Spots series by Bailey Bradford/Artist Posh Gosh
Lost Gods by Megan Derr/Artist London Burdon
There were so many others I wished to include and I know you have your favorites too. Write and let me know who you feel should have been on that list (King Perry, Fallout to name a few that came close). Check out the individual reviews to see the covers in greater detail and read about the books they so beautifully covered!