One would think these principles of cover design to be universal, and yet I’m staring at a couple Japanese novels on my desk, and can’t help but wonder if the standards of design are a little bit different (read: awesome) there. Japanese bestsellers, especially foreign titles, are often printed as bunko, which are similar in form and function to mass market paperbacks in the West. They do tend to be a bit shorter and slimmer than Western paperbacks however, and are usually only about two hundred pages long. Because of this length restriction, many Western bestsellers are often split up into multiple volumes. These criteria mean that cover designers have less space to work on per book, but potentially more books available. You might also notice an almost universal trend of more numerous and larger typographic elements on Japanese covers. As my team has been working on a YA cover, I’m specifically interested in that market. As a teaching example of YA cover design differences between Japan and America, one need look no further than America’s favorite dystopian series about ritual teen murder and bird-themed rebellion: The Hunger Games.
Zoom in to make the image big, then commit to getting yourself a physical copy to appreciate it fully—it is gorgeous in person.
Every time someone says “don’t judge a book by its cover,” I cringe. This clichéd phrase implies that the cover of the book is useless in discerning what the book is about and that the cover has no other use than to “cover up” the pages within. The phrase was quite popular in my youth, and I recall being reprimanded by friends any time I turned down a book because I thought the cover was subpar. For years I felt guilty about being so judgmental—until a classmate introduced me to the work of Graphic Designer Chip Kidd.
Whew! Ooligan Press has been busy over the last few weeks—hence the slight delay in this post. The bad news: this summer just keeps flying by! The good news: the excitement for We Belong in History is palpable. Here’s a brief recap of the major events that have taken place over the month of July […]
Things are really starting to move forward this week as we begin to finalize what the finished manuscript will look like. We’ve received material for our introduction, narrowed down the poems we will be using, and decided on a basic outline for all the interior pieces (including student work, William Stafford poems, and teaching material). […]
It’s official: We Belong in History is moving into the design department at Ooligan next week. This is an exciting time for us because, while the old adage says not to judge a book by its cover, we certainly want our book cover to be appealing. We want it to get across the ideas of […]