Whilst the origins of the English idiom ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ are ultimately uncertain; it is one that many people know. Popularised in 1946 by its mention in Murder in the glass room by Fuller and Rolfe, it still rings true for many aspects of modern life. However, it is becoming less of a taboo to judge a book literally by its cover. There can be no denying that the most important part of a book is found between its bindings and that that is how an opinion on the book should be formed: the content rather than the packaging, but the cover design industry is booming and even has its own awards and accolades.
Covers, despite what the saying may suggest, are important. They catch the eye of the bookshop patron and provide the first burst of information about a book which encourages the maybe reader to find out more. The covers give an indication of the genre, setting and target audience of a book and therefore are invaluable in the decision-making process of the reader, as well as the marketing strategy of the publisher.
However, it seems unfair to only give covers, and their designers, recognition regarding how they can boost sales and interests. Creating a cover, as well as the covers themselves, are an art form. They provide a pictorial summary using colour, graphics, and imagination that I am envious of. It is well-documented that well-designed covers sell books and allow them to reach their full potential.
In honour of covers and the work that goes into them, I thought I would share some of my favourite covers: (Most photos found on Google Images. Credit has been given)
More than this – Patrick Ness
This book was the first time I remember being completely swayed by a cover. It was unlike anything else and – just like the blurb – it made me want to know more. The bright colours, the cutout and the geometric pattern were utterly eye catching, and a brilliant indication of the mystery and intelligence found between the covers. Ingenious.
(Photo credit: Matt Roeser)
Vinegar Girl – Anne Tyler
There can be no denying that whilst I was interested in the story and in the Hogarth Shakespeare project, this was a cover buy. I am a sucker for pastels and pinks and well, this appealed.
(Photo credit: Vintage Books Twitter)
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald
I don’t think I have ever come across a more inviting cover, and the colour scheme is such a clever choice. Not only is it eye-catching it is also a really clever depiction of the tone and characters found in the story.
(Photo credit: Me – find my review of this book here)
The Vegetarian – Han Kang
I love the colour purple so my picking up this book was inevitable. It’s also just a wonderful design, and such a clever way to hint at the story within. The vagueness and whimsical (fantastical, mystical?) writing within. A clever and stunning cover.
(Photo credit: Korea Expose)
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
This is a stunning novel; inside and out. The cover is intriguing and very visually stimulating. However, the true genius of this cover becomes clear at the end of the book, when the story (sadly) comes to an end. Everyone needs to read this debut and everybody needs to appreciate the design of its clothing.
(Photo credit: Book and Brew)
Do you judge books by their covers? What are some of yours? Let me know down in the comments 🙂