Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cover lover (teil eins)

This week's Top Ten Tuesday Theme is Ten Book Cover Trends I Like/Dislike. To argue against a popular idiom, I don't believe the clothes actually make the man, and as a result, I own some really ugly books that have some really great text inside. Buuuuut... in the same way a schmick haircut and a good pair of jeans can make an already intelligent and articulate man just sort of more, so too with a really great book cover design. (Don't think too hard about this metaphor. I'm not.)

There are a few book cover design trends that always appeal to me (and one that definitely doesn't); to save your feedreaders, I'm going to break them into a few posts. In this one, perhaps my favouritest of all the trends: hand-lettered titles.

I've always been a sucker for some good hand lettering. I love its informality, its imperfections, its humanness. In seeing the lines of the artist's pen, you get a glimpse of the human behind it. So it was the covers, with their gorgeous hand lettering, that drew my attention to The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and This is What Happy Looks Like. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of romance as its own genre (I prefer it by-the-way, in books) so the stories were not my favourite. But I'm hanging on to these copies because their art makes me happy. The combination of finer and heavier letters in varying fonts and sizes really works, So... good hand lettering is what happy looks like?

I'd like to shake the hand of whoever's responsible for the re-release of John Green's other books to align with the design of The Fault in Our Stars. This is pretty much everything I like in cover design right here. Limited colour palette, little to no imagery, stylised graphic symbols, the font doing all of the work, and hand lettering, yo. The same basic principle applies to Let It Snow, with the added bonus that it is shiny and silvery. Oooh!

Liar & Spy makes the whole hand lettering even cooler by pairing it with a moody watercolour illustration. (This book, by the way, is a perfect read-aloud for older tweens).

So, too, does this gorgeous edition of Coraline. The lettering is creepy and intriguing with just the right amount of prettiness, and works so well with the illustrations. I love it!

Do you love hand lettering or hate it? Is it a trend you're ready to see fade out, or should it march on forever? (In case you were unsure, I'm in the forever camp). What other book cover trends do you love/loathe?


  • Brenda Wilkerson -- I'm alternating between being so happy you can relate, and so sympathetically frustrated on your behalf. We put so much pressure on ourselves and our time!
  • Laura Elizabeth -- Ah, you do this, too? Holidays represent so much hope and anticipation and wished-for things that I feel sure we must look on them as miracle-workers. I hope yours is at least a bit miraculous!


  1. I know exactly what you mean about the jeans and haircut making a nice guy even more so... It's kinda like how neatly cut lawns and gardens are labeled 'a nice area' even if we have never set eyes on the people in the houses... Humans are a funny lot, don't you think?!! :P

    As for a the hand lettering, I like it on the Coraline book, but I'm not huge on it on other things, particularly romance. Maybe it's because I have the 'romantic' view of romance, if you know what I mean! You know, roses and scroll-y font. :D

  2. Great post :) I think hand lettering usually looks good too, but I can't stand the cover of TFIOS.
    Cora @ Tea Party Princess

  3. First time at your blog, and I love its nice, clean look and great content. I have to agree with you on the hand lettering. And I love the minimal nature of TFIOS and Let it Snow. Just in general, I really dislike covers with pictures of people - l think I prefer the limited nature of the covers on your list.

  4. I don't love or hate the hand lettering. It's fine. I tend to start to get grouchy about anything that is trendy, though, so if I see something a BUNCH then I feel like people are doing it solely for the trend instead of because it works with the book vibe.

    Cover trends I don't like are basically anything with a specific photo showing the person's face. I think most people would rather conjure up their own faces for the characters, hence the whole reading thing. I also hate it when books that become movies start using the movie promo poster as their cover. I understand why they do this, I just don't like it. And basically anything that isn't very timeless. When they keep switching up the cover art, it's kind of weird to me. Again--I understand why it's done, from a marketing perspective, but I don't really care for the practice.

    Good topic! I find a great cover to be a wonderful touch on a book, although these days with Kindles and stuff, I don't even see many covers (for longer than a quick glimpse).

  5. I'm a book cover designer, and I still love hand lettering fonts. In fact, I've used my own handwriten font on occasion for a customer's promotional material. I think it adds an authenticity to a cover's design, and sort of shows that there was a human behind it after all. Plus, handwritten fonts have so many possibilities and styles that you could never really write it off entirely without erasing hundreds of fonts.

    My current favourite trend in covers though is the dystopian/destructed look. The heavy grunge fonts and slightly military style of them are intriguing and adventurous. Having said that, book covers are really beginning to take on a movie poster look, which I guess is alright, but makes it a bit more challenging for an artist who might still lean towards simpler concepts. That's my disjointed rambly opinion.

  6. So it's kind of unrelated, but I like your spotty backdrop!


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