Monday, April 11, 2011

More Than Meets the Eye

Watching a toddler enjoy a book by squishing, crumpling and maybe even tasting it brings home the fact that there is more to a book than just the words. Of course we all know that. And so do book designers.

Books for preschoolers capture the child by appealing to many senses. The books by Matthew Van Fleet are perfect examples.

Heads by Matthew Van Fleet
(Simon & Schuster, 2010)

Picture book covers often add something for children to touch and feel. This one uses real sparkles.

by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
(HarperCollins, 2005)

We don't outgrow the desire for texture on book covers, we just get more sophisticated with things like UV varnish, foil stamping and embossing. This kind of texture is where real books have e-readers beat.

Harry Potter books don't need much help drawing in readers but you'll have to hit the bookstore to really appreciate how the shiny metallic letters attract your fingers as well as your eyes.

Although the picture looks like a burning light bulb, your fingers will want to do the walking around the embossed spiral when this books is in your hands (Jacket art by Scott Meadows, jacket design by Ray Schappell and published by HarperTeen, 2010).

Some may think twice about touching this spooky face. I like the bumpy feel of the root-like beard. There's also some nice layering with gold foil around the border and the giant even has a jewel in one eye.

by Ari Berk (Candlewick Press/Templar Publishing, 2008)
designed by William Steele

Have a look at these covers the next time you are at your local bookstore. Then go ahead, reach out and touch one. Let us know how it stimulated your senses.


  1. I love, love, love texture, sparkles, strange finishes on book covers!
    There is a fab picture book called Darkness Slipped In by Ella Burfoot. Darkness, who is a character in this story has a special laquered finish which sets him apart form the actual darkness - Brilliant
    As well, Hollie Hobbie's Toot and Puddle: On top of the world has sparkly snow on the cover.

  2. Oh yes, I do love some texturrific covers, especially when they're not done in a "do it just because I can" way.

  3. I am drawn to glitter every time.

  4. I agree. You can tell the designers that put thought into using these techniques for the book's sake. Darkness Slipped In is a great example Steph, using a texture to represent the book content. Love the contrast between the gloss and matte finish.
    And you can't go wrong with glitter - who doesn't like a bit of sparkle their life.