Covering Covers

Yesterday’s design lecture dealt with all things to do with covering wise. We had a brief recap of the design process related to the cover of The Art of Being Normal, and how the designer produced the final cover (this incidentally convinced to buy the book in class). It was fascinating to see the designs which were rejected and in my opinion the correct design was used.

The discussion of the anatomy of a book was largely academic, simply a list of the various parts but the show and tell that introduced us the different covers and effects was fascinating. Learning the difference between embossed (raised on the cover) and debossed (recessed on the cover) and matte lamination (dull finish) versus gloss lamination (shiny finish) was fascinating. Having previously worked in printing some of this was familiar to me. The pop-up book was something to behold. I just can’t imagine having a brain that works this way. The same applies to the artwork we saw. There was one lady who did her pictures using only a typewriter – how on earth does a person even think of that? It drove home the fact that I am not an illustrator but I might fare well as a designer since the two are distinct from one another.

Book Cover Analysis

Today I am analysing Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell in hardback.


This is a grim story that in some ways is a bildungsdroman dealing with themes such as death, drugs and domestic violence, set in a mountain dwelling community. It is interesting to note that this is a monochrome design which in some ways reflects the stark storytelling, but also it is ironic since it encloses a deep and multi-layered story, anything but black and white. The bird perched on the branch I genuinely believe is there to show that the lines are tree branches so that the reader doesn’t think that the design is some sort of pop art or simply a pattern. The text is not uniform and almost resembles poorly typed copy produced on a cheap typewriter. I am not sure why this was used to be honest. I think that this cover is interesting and distinctive but I certainly didn’t buy the book because of it. I watched the film first without knowing it was a book first, but that does not colour my opinion too much. I think that this cover says little about the book. For me it doesn’t work, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I would always look inside, which I suppose is the job done, however the artwork and design here leaves me cold.  I have no strong opinion on this cover, which is probably the worst thing I can say about it. On the plus side I think it is originsal and a brave attempt to produce a standout design.


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