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One Red Paperclip

12 Jul
Look inside One Red Paperclip on Amazon.
Visit the One Red Paperclip blog to learn more about the story.

I’ve already discussed books with no title on the cover in this scrapbook and this is yet another cover that raises all the same questions.

I had no idea what this book was until I had a look inside it and read more about it. But I was attracted by the cover: I wanted to know what on earth a book that just had a red paperclip on its cover could possibly be about it!

However, even though it caught my eye, I’m still not completely convinced that it works. I think it’s a really nice idea (it totally reinforces the story in the book) but I’m not sure that the story is well known enough to get away with no title. I think that even including the title as it is on the half-title page would have contributed enough extra information without taking away the intrigue factor. Isn’t the title ‘One Red Paperclip’ still ambiguous enough to pique someone’s curiosity?

That said, I think this is a really nice example of design taking a risk: it’s left out all the ‘necessaries’ of a normal cover and is certainly conversation-worthy.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

15 Jun

This cover is another example of one that has no title or author and that uses instead a quote as the typographic element. It’s a very clean and simple design and I especially like the hyphenation of ‘extraordinary’ which not only avoids an unbalanced look but also emphasises the ‘extra-‘ part of the word. Looking at this cover, I can almost hear someone saying in an old-fashioned English accent ‘extraordinary personal beauty’. I think it’s an excellent use of typography, expressing a huge amount with apparently little (just words and a blue background).

This cover raises all the same questions as the Nineteen Eighty-four one designed by gray318 about how well known a book and author needs to be before you can consider taking the risk of including neither on the cover. I think it works again here as the quote chosen is so recognisable. But even if you didn’t recognise it, you’d probably be intrigued and take a look inside …

Where you’d find the magazine-like layout which I love! In terms of readability, I don’t know how great the layout would be (I can imagine getting a bit annoyed and losing the thread between pulled-out quotes and jumping from columns to no columns) but, my, does it look cool. I think it’s a great example of a classic book being repackaged in a way that makes it something new and different: it’s not just Oscar Wilde’s novel Dorian Gray, it’s the story reinterpreted and articulated by the designer (in this case, John Morgan for Four Corners Books). I think what’s neat about it is the way the internal design is commenting on the content.

Nineteen Eighty-four

4 Jun

Read about this design at Greater Than or Equal To and at The Book Design Review.

See another recent design of the 1984 cover here and read about it at The Book Cover Archive and The Penguin Blog.

This cover, designed for Penguin by gray318, stood out to me for two reasons. The first was because of the limited but bold use of colour: I notice that a lot of effective and eye-catching covers employ only one colour plus black and white and I thought this cover was a particularly good example of such use. I think red works really well as the extra colour. It’s bright, and it’s emotive. I know that it’s a colour combination I’m drawn to, and I’m guessing because of the prevalence of its use, it’s a combination a lot of people are drawn to as well.

The second reason I found this cover of interest in terms of design was the fact that its text is a quote, rather than the title of the book or the author. This prompted me to ask myself: how well known does a book have to be before you can do a cover of it without its title or even its author on it? And is leaving off a title and author as well known as Orwell and Nineteen Eighty-four taking too much of a risk? Are they what are going to sell the book, or are people looking for a new twist on a classic?

Personally, I love this cover. I love that it’s taking a risk. I feel like it’s saying more about the book inside than it could have done if it had the title emblazoned across the front. I feel like it’s offering a fresh perspective on something I’ve already seen a hundred times. And, given the comments on the links I’ve included, I think most people would agree with me.

I’m also a fan of the end papers. Again, it’s the detail. I like seeing space used in a way that reinforces the book as an object as well as a story.