I thought I’d start this exercise by looking at some book covers. First up, a book by Helen Simpson, which I picked out because it’s a ‘hand illustrated’ cover, with even the typography hand drawn. It’s a ‘trendy’ kind of design rather than classic, and a lot of book covers have adopted this kind of look. It appeals to the home made vintage zeitgeist, and appeals to me because it feels like an effect I could achieve myself!
. The following three book covers use manipulated photos to one degree or another, in fact lots of book covers these days use photo manipulation. It’s interested that Fugitive Pieces and Edgelands use photos in quite an abstract kind of way, which succeed in drawing you in, because the images contain questions unanswered.
. The Purple Hibiscus is more conventional, but still has some characteristics of the previous two covers, that is that it divides up the cover into parts, not as obviously, but nonetheless does so. The typography in all cases is in a contrasting colour or tone to the photo background. The final two covers also have images to draw you in, the McNulty cover I think a mixture of photo and drawing, with a figures overlaid with a map. This is a fairly literal interpretation of the book title, but still, on first glance raises the question of why there is a map on this man’s back, but is answered before you open the book. The next example is really simple with a gestural style. Clean, simple and classic. I like the white wrapping round onto the spine.
Finally this cover uses photos in a fairly abstract way, to create texture, but again is a fairly literal interpretation of the book title: Last Orders. It also, again, divides the cover up into separate areas, providing spaces for the title and the author, in different boxed off areas.
. All of these give me the idea that whatever I do I should keep it simple, use a contrasting tone for the typography, that it’s possible to divide the cover in half, or into three parts, and that I can use manipulated photos or illustration, and that for a classic contemporary design, it needs to be clean and simple, probably with a simple font.