Monday, September 27, 2010

5 Really Neat-o Title Fonts!

Once again, for your consideration we present the following covers with title fonts that stand out as particularly interesting, or that function extra well as part of the design.
The image to the right/above is the cover of the picture book The Beckoning Cat by Koko Nishizuka, illustrated by Rosanne Litzinger (Holiday House, 2009) While imitating Chinese calligraphy with our Latin alphabet can sometimes make typographers grind their teeth, I think this typeface adds a pleasing element and blends well. (If you click on the covers, most of them will "embiggen" themselves.)
The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle (Holt, 2010)
Am I wrong in thinking Firefly Letters looks like a fantasy cover? It's actually a book of poetry based on the notes by a Swedish suffragist about her trip to Cuba. No, really. Pretty neat-o font, though.

Frozen Secrets: Antarctica Revealed by Sally M. Walker (CarolRhoda, coming October, 2010)
Stunning cover image and typeface. Frozen Secrets is a standout.
Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Lane Smith (Atheneum, 2010)
Love the juxtaposition of the slender, linear "Lulu" with the elegant "and the Brontosaurus."
Wild Things by Clay Carmichael (Boyds Mills/Front Street, 2009)
The otherwise uninteresting, unbalanced cover image above (Wild Things) redeems itself with its zingy "ransom note" style title. Maybe. Do you agree?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shades of Gray

I wrote my last post on glowing things before Carol Brendler found this awesome survey by Orbit Books’ on fantasy novel cover-art. I was surprised to find that glowy magic is on the down-trend, considering how many glowing objects I’ve noticed in my recent searches. I’ve also noticed how color plays an important role in fantasy cover art, with glowing things and other fantasy subject matters.

I thought it would be a good discussion, until I started thinking about colors... It was hard to narrow the topic until I came upon this:

The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner, Kim Stanley Robinson (Centipede Press, May 2010)

Wow--almost no color at all, but wonderfully spooky. This cover jumped out at me because the artist did not use color for effect. Just shades of gray. Thus, my search for gray covers began. Here are some good examples of what you can do without color:

The Abandoned by Edward Linden (iUniverse, Incorporated, February 2010)

Eerie, right? More gray, creepy covers:

(Grove/Atlantic, Inc., September 2010) (Norilana Books, September 2010)

Two examples where the text stands out because of the lack of color in the design:

(Grand Central Publishing, June 2010) (Scholastic, Inc, April 2009)

This last book hasn’t come out yet. I wonder if it will start a new trend in fantasy cover art—the fabulous use of both color and gray:

(Viking Juvenile, October 14, 2010)

Monday, September 13, 2010

3 Cover Stories Too Good to Miss

Three, count 'em, three cover stories:

First of all, we have Adam Rex, one of my personal writerly/illustratorly heroes, and his post about all of the cover designs he came up with for Jon Scieszka's Guys Read: Funny Business, an anthology edited by Mr. S. which comes out this month. (Incidentally, I read once that Scieszka is pronounced "CHESS-kah," rhymes with Fresca. Right?)

Second of all, we have Betsy Bird at Fuse #8's recent post about artists who have more than one middle grade book cover coming out this year, "Now Let Us Praise Famous Jacket Artists-2010." Oh, man. Kids today are so lucky to have such talented people out there creating book covers. (I reserve the right to mention some of these again when next we talk about Pretty Neat-o Title Fonts.)

Third of all, we have the Caustic Cover Critic comparing some adult covers for books that are being repackaged for teens by Walker. He's placed them side by side in "Adults vs. Young Adults." The ones on the left are the teen versions--does the makeover make sense? Wha'd 'ya think? I do like the Life of Pi version , but I don't understand why the change was necessary. The original fits the story so well.

I know, I know. You were hoping for more typeface stuff this week, right? I ain't gonna disappoint. Here, we got this guy Paul Shaw's top 10 most important new typefaces of the decade for "Imprint," the blog for Print Magazine.

Coming next week: More about fantasy covers from Patti L. Brown. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Find Your Anne of Green Gables

On this last day of summer vacation, I was thinking that a fun trip would be to visit Prince Edward Island and find Anne of Green Gables. It has been over 100 years since L.M. Montgomery wrote this character into existence and many book covers have tried to capture the spirit of Anne.
Which one is your Anne?

Is she an older, mature Anne?

This 100th edition published by Putnam Adult (2008) dons the same cover as the first edition by L.C. Page & Company (1908). An interesting essay by Christy Woster (2007) looks into the mystery of whether the original cover was illustrated by M.A. and W.A.J. Claus or George Gibbs.

Does she have braids or does your Anne let her hair down?

(1) Cover illustrated by Philip Simmonds and published by G.G. Harrap (1925).
(2) Modern Library Classics (2008)

Is your Anne pensive?

Some have suggested the McGraw Hill-Ryerson Press (1964) cover was inspired by the 60's model Twiggy.
Lauren Child's interpretation makes me think of a teenage Clarice Bean (published by Puffin Classics, 2008)

Or is she "full of spirit and vivacity"?

Adapted by Deirdre Kessler, Illustrated by David Preston Smith (Nimbus Publishing 2008)
Alladin Paperbacks (2001)

Or maybe your image of Anne isn't fixed and you prefer covers that let you use your imagination, as Anne and other "kindred spirits" would do.

(New Canadian Library, 2008; and 1st World Library, 2005).
Broadview Press (2004), edited by Cecily Devereaux

These examples show the challenge of inventing a new cover for such a classic story and character. Here are some great sites that show many other faces of Anne:
Library and Archives Canada (

Or visit her on Prince Edward Island next summer.