Of course books covers are a matter of personal taste. I hardly expect everyone in creation to share mine. But I just happened across a couple of new-to-me books where I had rapid, visceral responses to the covers and I thought I would share those with you.
Forthwith, the bad:
What is wrong with it?
Well, to start with, I have trouble reading the title. Some of what’s going on with light and shadow confuse my eye when I try to read the words. The letters on top of a black background stand out a lot more, for me at least, than the ones over the red background.
The author’s name is also difficult to see. It’s too small or the font is too narrow or the colors behind the name are too confusing … maybe all three.
Did you immediately see that this was a woman’s face with a weird design in red superimposed? I did not. It took my eye some time to sort out the face.
Also, what is the red filigree supposed to be? Is it really abstract or is it meant to represent a hummingbird? I saw a hummingbird shape here long before I found the woman’s face. Then I wondered if the shape was really supposed to be a butterfly. But it’s like looking at ink blots; I see birds and butterflies because my eye always looks for animal shapes. Maybe this is purely an abstract shape that isn’t particularly supposed to represent a hummingbird or anything? What do you see in it?
Anyway, right after I happened to see the above cover, I spotted this one and thought how much better I liked it:
The color scheme is simpler. Yellow is a hard color to handle, I’ve heard, but it looks fine to me here. Because the background color is semi-uniform, the title of the book is much easier for me to read. I like the font and color of the title, which is complex without being visually confusing.
The author’s name is no larger, but the white font shows up well and the lettering is simple and clear.
The imagery is also clear and immediately interpretable. There is a dragon. No question about it: that’s a dragon. Dragons are always good as far as I’m concerned. It looks like an important element in the book, but it doesn’t appear to be attacking the woman. That’s good too. I’m immediately interested in the dragon and the woman and what’s going on between them. There’s a lot more story implied by this cover than the former one. The tagline offered on this cover seems sensible: it’s enough to cue readers that there will be an important romantic element, but also clearly indicates to those more interested in the fantasy elements that yes, the dragon is important.
Given both of these books face out on a shelf, I know which one I would pick up for a closer look.
How about you? Agree/disagree?