Judging a Book by its Cover

“Design two different book covers, one using photography or illustrations, and the other with just type . Critique your work.”

I displayed quite a few book covers for research in a previous post, but here’s a few good examples that I like (not all of these are mine, I promise to return these!!)  I love the Rosie project it’s a great read and the cover works really well. (Thank you to my friend Rach for loaning it to me!)


Here’s another pic


Top left (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”) is the book I have chosen to design covers for. The tone of the book is similar to Catcher in the Rye. It’s written entirely in diary form by the main character, Charlie. It’s a touching book, both joyful and painful. The tricky part is that the existing cover is really good, and not something I’ll be able to improve upon. The text reflects his confessional style, and conveys the fact that he is a teenager, speaking to us the reader.

Anyway, the first thing I did was flick through the pages to refresh my memory, and brain stormed with the themes. You can see I  also looked through my fonts, to make a short list of possible ones to use, focusing on a handwritten style (because the novel is a diary)


The ideas I had were inspired by Charlie and his sense of separation from the world, but he is also a teenage boy, so I was thinking about his “voice”, tastes and style.

I chose image because of his feeling of alienation – as though separated by a sheet of glass from the world,



And these legs seem to fit his character well! Including the hesitant step. ( I got this through a creative commons search using the word “sneakers”)

Here’s some paper roughs (please excuse the shadows!)



I also needed to work on the plain text version, so I began experimenting with the typeface “Fancy Not”…

blue fancy not complete cover SCREEN

And Daniel… Its unreadable at smaller sizes, so I’ve mixed it with (controversially) with another handwritten style font. I was told that sometimes you can get away with this – perhaps this works OK??

daniel complete cover SCREEN

And in orange..

daniel red complete cover SCREEN

A couple of unsuccessful image based ones.I think the colours work OK, but the fonts are wrong, so I didn’t work them up any further, Futura gives a slightly wrong tone, and the next one is too playful.

black water droplets with green ornage little pot

The glass is added to my previous design, with the opacity down and a white background.

daniel red complete cover with glass SCREEN


Same idea in deep red and grey.

daniel deep red SCREEN

blue jeansReturning to the typeface Daniel, this time with a sans serif font for the blurb. I think my favourite font choice is Daniel, because it looks like informal  loose writing, but isn’t too young, playful, or sweet!

I quite like the text only versions I’ve done, but I think my favourite is probably this one. The only thing is, I’m very aware it looks like quite a few similar books! But I’m hoping it does hint at the subject matter of this novel (combined with the blurb on the back)  If I was actually being asked to fulfill a real brief, then at least I’ve used orange, which is a frequently used “carrying colour”!!! Ahem.


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