Friday, 22 January 2010

Typographic Book Covers

I have been researching book cover designs that use type as the main communication vehicle. I have tried to find mainly fiction novels, as this is the genre in which I am designing, but a few non-fiction covers may have snuck in.

This Tolstoy cover is
very modern considering the content of the novel. The typographic element is strong, but equally complimented by the swirly explosion going on behind it. The sub-heading, author name and publishing information are in a contrasting sans serif, slightly hand-styled type. This gives variety to the cover, and brings a feeling of more constructivist design - note the G in great and penguin. The cover is engaging, interesting and gives little away about the books content.

This cover looks like it has a more low-fi production. The type itself is messy and like it may have been done with a thic
k marker pen. It is an intriguing cover, but doesn't really engage the reader, the design is a little off putting.

This design uses photographed typography. The variety within the design is good, and each is representative of the word. The smaller print is a bit overly decorative when placed next to the decorative title type. A lower key sans serif would have been better, less intrusive to the rest of the design.

This design is interesting - the style of type is strong, but has a hand drawn quality to it. The way the type has been set within a shape makes the design more illustrative, but also gives it more of a context. The colours used are very strong and eye-catching and the type really stands out against the vibrant background.

The design for this cover is very busy and intriguing. The amount of type is unusual, but gives a sense of questioning and philosophy, which the book is essentially about. It is nice to see the use of colour here, showing the title, and then a sub-heading in a hierarchy of colours. Over all this cover is very simple but beautiful and delicate.

This cover is an odd juxtaposition - the low key penguin 70 logo in the top corner, and then this massive uncontrollable design that spreads across the whole page. The style and texture of the design is really interesting and definitely represents the title accurately. The size of the design is good, is uses the page and is a strong and imposing design.

The digital base of this design is strong, but the illustrative additions a sense of foreboding, darkness and something maybe a bit spooky. The design is beautifully executed and well styled, overall is works well as a book cover because it uses the space available.

The typographic design on this cover is very strong, using no illustrative elements or images. The style of the type is unusual, evoking an odd sense of something a little off balance. The body copy section is unusual to see on the front cover of a book, but it sort of breaks up the large and imposing text a little. The colour scheme is simple, two colours and therefore relatively cheap to produce.

This intricate and decorative design is quite interesting. The book is in fact an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson focusing on transcendentalism. The design may suggest something quite different, maybe something less hard going and philosophical. The intricacies within the design are beautiful, and was obviously design with great care. The design is quite engaging, but is a little vague as to the content.

This design is more about the texture and minimal colour use than the actual type. The stitched aesthetic of the letters is interesting, but doesn't really seem to have a reasoning behind it - at least not one that is clear from the front cover. The sub-title and author type is sort of odd, free floating and random, but is quite cool and different. Overall a weird cover, but then it might be a weird book.

This is a very bold and weirdly explosive cover since the illustrative elements are nature based. The type itself is very clear and nicely balanced down the page. The lack of colour is a bit odd, it doesn't really evoke 'glory'. The overall design is good though, and it has intrigue - I'd like to read it just based on the cover.

What I've learnt from this research:
1. The theme of the book should be apparent from the cover design, but shouldn't give away what the content is about.
2. Hand-drawn and digital type can work equally well, and work well together as long as they are balanced.
3. The overall cover should be balanced - top to bottom, left to right
4. Using to type as a main focus and incorporating illustration as a secondary tool can work well

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