From the cover for "The Glittering Court" by Richelle Mead.

From the book cover for “The Glittering Court” by Richelle Mead.

The Art of a Book Cover

In the five years I’ve been a blogger, one of the many discoveries I’ve made is this: there is an entire community of book lovers who go crazy (in a very positive way) over books and the world from which they come from. I feel quite at home in this world. This includes the amazingly talented authors who write these novels, the publishing houses who buy and market them, and of course, perhaps one of the most important things (because the presentation is everything, right?), the people behind the cover design.

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Prior to blogging, I was a book addict, but I really didn’t know there was actually a fanbase that catered to this addiction. One of the things this community is most passionate about are the covers that grace our favorite books. We gush, cry, dismiss and leap for joy over some of the designs that cover our most anticipated reads. The process of which has always been something that has fascinated me. Like the rest of my bookish friends out there, I love a good book cover design. I even admit to being a self-diagnosed cover snob. Most of the time, I embrace this because, much as they say a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover, let’s face, it often suffers that fate.

We like our books to be attractive on the outside because that’s our first impression of something. All of this is the reason why we’re taking a look at the process of a cover design. Today’s article is introducing what will be a 3-5 article series (with an option to continue) which will look at some of my personal favorite designs, some of the trends cover design is currently sporting and we’re going to visit with a few cover designers from completely separate entities and genres.

Books by Jenny B. Jones, Emery Lord and Rachel McMillan

Some of my favorite “typography” book cover designs.

Book - Isla and the Happily Ever After

One of the more recent design trends is typography (as seen on Stephanie Perkins famous series). While I am always a fan of using models (we’ll discuss this in a later article), I also love the typography so many designs seem to sport. Apart from Stephanie’s novels, some of my favorite cover designs using text as a primary feature are pictured above. What are some of your favorites?

Lindsey Andrews Interview

Today, we’re chatting with a cover designer who’s famous cover “remodels” used a text overlay to revamp one of YA literature’s most favorite and famous series, Anna and the French Kiss.

Welcome, Lindsey Andrews!

1. What does a normal book design process/project look like for you? (I.E. How much do you know about the novel when you begin designing?)

Ideally, I’ll have the manuscript to read before I get started. But, sometimes we only get a chapter or two. We also get something we call an Art Form from our editors that [give] us a breakdown of important information we should know about the book. This includes a summary, character descriptions, and any ideas they or the author already have.

After reading all of the materials and taking notes, I start with some general research. I try to find other book covers in the genre. I look up imagery. If the book calls for it, I research illustrators or photographers to collaborate with on the project.

Then I just start comping and coming up with as many ideas as I can. Once I’ve picked the best and polished them up, I share them with the editor. Ideally, they pick a direction they like and we keep working on it until it’s just right. When both the editor and the art director are happy with it, it goes to our Cover Meeting, where we show it to Sales and Marketing who ultimately approve the cover or not. And if it survives the meeting, we then share it with the author with the positive feedback that we all think this is the best cover for the book and then we cross our fingers that they love it too.

We actually work about a year in advance, so once the front cover is done, I often don’t return to it until months later to finish designing the rest of the jacket. And then it goes off to the printer to become a real book!

Click through to page 2 to read the rest of my interview with Lindsey as she talks more about the art behind a book cover design.