Cover Design

One of the pleasures of working with books is the opportunity to see how different publishing houses and language markets package the same project. Last week, I was admiring the German cover design of a young adult novel that Stacey represents. The US and UK covers were attractive and effective, but the fairytale/art nouveau/Aubrey Beardsley influenced jacket that the German publisher put together was exquisite. Wunderbar. I was ready to learn German just to dig in.

Further to this, the online journal the Millions again features a handy (albeit too brief) side-by-side comparison of US and UK covers for finalists in this year’s Tournament of Books.   Predictably, I find myself gravitating to the American aesthetic. Call me parochial, but cover designs can be more culturally specific than their contents. When I was an editor, the awfulness of UK covers was something of a running joke.   But perhaps that schadenfreude was misplaced. Here, the British designs for The Cat’s Table and the 1Q84 are (I think) far stronger than their American counterparts.

What say you? For those inclined to see even more examples of cross-cultural cover design on display, have a look at:


2 Responses to Cover Design

  1. I love comparing book covers from international markets, or even between different releases of a book here in the U.S. It’s really interesting to see what aspects of a book are played up in all the different designs, and sometimes seeing them all together just makes the depth of content in the book seem all the more astounding!

    I tend to usually prefer the U.S. covers as well, but there are definitely exceptions.

  2. Lianne Simon says:

    Excellent! Thought provoking to compare the covers. However, without having read the books, it would be impossible for me to tell which covers were more effective in representing the books’ contents.

    I’m working through a cover design at the moment. I fell in love with a particular photo and built a cover design around it. The result would have been a beautiful cover for a fantasy novel. With a sigh I started over. The book is literary fiction not fantasy.

    Thanks for the visual treat. :o)

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