Top 10 (Tuesday) Favorite Book Cover Trends/Elements


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I LOVE book cover design and have been totally guilty of buying a book purely due to the loveliness of a cover. I’ve been known to stand at tables at yard sales and flea style markets that are piled with boxes upon boxes of books, digging through each one with excruciating fervor and walking away with a stack of books that I can’t really tell you the plot of but that each has a gorgeous cover so screw it! Take my money! Sadly, despite this fact I could only come up with five styles that I really love. Well, six but I couldn’t find a good example for the sixth. Either way, here they are:

1. Embroidered designs
When I was younger than elementary school age my grandmother, who is an exquisite crafter herself, gave me an embroidery hoop and my first pack of iron on embroidery patterns and taught me how to embroider as a way to keep me busy on the nights she babysat. I fell in love and still find the art so amazingly relaxing. I absolutely admire the intricate designs people come up with and all the clever ideas floating around the internet. So, needless to say, when Penguin came out with their embroidered cover designs, I was floored with the amazingly, gorgeous designs that came out of the series. I would love to see this become a standard in cover design (even if it is economically unrealistic).

2. Typographic designs
Being a writer, reader, lover of words, and descendant of a long line of artsy people, I adore typography in all forms and when the title of a book is made into art work itself I get extremely excited!

3. Underwater photography
Little known fact about myself, I originally started college as a Photography major. My father is a photography hobbyist and I grew up playing with his cameras and learning by watching. In high school I carried around an old film camera and I can still hear my mother fussing at me, saying, “a dollar per picture” reminding me how much it cost to develop film and to be mindful of what I was wasting each frame on. One of the photography styles I have always admired is underwater photography and have always wanted to have a go at it myself, so when I first saw the cover for Michelle Hodkin’s The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer I was excited (and not just because my favorite Photography professor’s name was Dyer). Though (and thankfully) underwater photography has yet to take cover design by storm, I still get excited when I happen upon one.

4. Illustration/Watercolor
I love love love illustration and especially watercolor! The two are such fun art forms to explore and experiment with. Some of my favorite artists are more technically illustrators (though, I hate that art snobs insist so hardheadedly on separating the two) and the ones I admire the most utilize watercolors. There’s just a sense of other-worldliness and innocence with watercolor that you can’t really get with other mediums, which is why I really love it when it is incorporated with more adult themes such as the Lolita example above.

5. Paper cutting
Paper cutting is pretty much a dead art but the results are so beautiful it makes me sad that more people don’t try to preserve it. Hans Christian Andersen was known for sometimes creating paper cuttings while telling his stories. Though Kara Walker has described her art to be more closely related to “cut-paper silhouette”, I like to see it more as paper cuttings seeing as her silhouettes are utilized to tell a story much like Hans Christian Andersen. Sadly, most of the paper cuttings you see in book designs are typically done using computer software and not actually scissors to paper, but either way I still love the look the designs create.

And because I really do love this style, even if I can’t come up with any good examples, I’ll include it anyways:

6. Designs that continue to the back of the book
I really love when a cover designer doesn’t limit themselves to the front of a book and wraps the image around the spine and onto the back. I especially love when an image is cut off the front and wrapped around to the back to reveal the full image and sometimes even the full story the image is trying to create. It’s like a hidden secret that only those curious enough to pick up the book are privy to.

That’s my list! Hope you enjoyed it. If you wish to follow along with Top Ten Thursdays you can keep up with the weekly themes at The Broke and The Bookish.

Now it’s your turn, are there any particular designs that are absolutely snatch worthy for you? Or are you a better reader than I am and actually practice the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”?

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