Cover Up

22 Jul

This book is designed and written by Hamish Thompson and I think it’s a great example of all the aspects of book design he discussed with us when he came to speak to our class.

The first thing that he talked to us about was the cover and spine. He gave us this quote from Charles Dickens: ‘There are books of which the backs and covers are the best part’. Which is funny, but is also quite often true! Hamish talked about the fact that the front cover is not the only cover of a book: there’s the spine (which I’ve already touched on) and the back cover to consider too. We don’t always put books down the ‘right’ way so you’re just as likely to see the back cover face-up as you are the front cover. Cover Up is a lovely example of the cover as a whole package: the image is really effective, and is continued on the flaps which you can pull out (this is a really nice touch). Hamish talked about flaps as a really good tool for placing text that you don’t want to clutter up the front or back cover (another nifty variation like that used in Stopover with the blurb on a sticker).

Inside, the book is really simply but nicely laid-out. I love the use of the coloured pages next to the title and chapter opening pages. I also think it’s really nice to have the title echo the cover by using the same font and design as is done here.

In the introduction spread, I think it’s really interesting to note that the outside margin of the text is much smaller than the inside margin. This is different to the rest of the text in the book, where the outside margin is the largest and often used for captions. It’s also in only one column. I don’t really find this a good or a bad thing: I guess that this has been done to differentiate the foreword from the actual text. It doesn’t impinge upon reading as the lines are still a reasonable length, but it could be a bit of a pain if your hand was in the way when you got to the bottom right-hand corner (as Margaret Cochrane pointed out, there’s no point in including text in a place where your hand might cover it!).

I think the main pages are really beautifully laid-out. I like the look of the text in two columns and I think this makes it approachable to read. I also like the use of the outside margins for captions. I think it’s nice to have the page numbers justified to the same place as the main body of text as this makes them very unobtrusive.

I also think it’s good to include the name of the artist entry (for example, ‘Evelyn Clouston’) as a header on the recto pages as a reference to where in the book you are and whose image you’re looking at. Like the page numbers, I think these are well-placed on the page so that you hardly notice they are there until you need them, in which case they’re where you’d expect them to be.

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