Before I dive into the complex world of book covers, I should confess that my rudimentary and frankly half-hearted initial search quickly turned into a passionate and intense hunt for cultural trends, typography, and design. It turns out that book covers are fascinating and not altogether unlike clothing fashion. Just as I wear styles first adopted by fashion icons who convince me of their chic-cool factor (I’m looking at you, overalls and turtlenecks), there are design bandwagoners for book covers as well.
Questions asked in the process of writing a cover brief for Sleeping in My Jeans: How should the cover of a young adult/suspense novel look? What should be on the cover to represent homelessness, hope, and the bond of sisters? Is the design going to be realistic or abstract?
It was the ’80s, and desktop publishing was just starting to take off. Bringhurst felt the sudden availability of digital fonts would overwhelm any inclination toward rational design and cause typographical chaos. He did what any perfectionist would do: write a book.
The publishing world has long recognized the link between a book’s cover image and its genre. A quick glance at Derek Murphy’s compilation of “cliché book covers” will obliterate any doubts. There are no shortage of dragons to grace the covers of fantasy or shadowy figures for mysteries. People have come to accept and expect these trends. And now, so have computers.
With the river books of Ooligan Press (Ricochet River and At the Waterline) sent happily upstream to the printers, the next big project for Team Design is focusing on Ooligan’s revised edition of the Sierra Club guidebook, 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. Originally published in 2001 as a trail guide for Sierra Club members, this collection provides trail descriptions, hiking difficulty rankings, and regional history. The second edition will include updated information, featured photographs, original illustrations, plant guides, and a new introduction. This title offered the design department plenty of creative potential, which began with researching and designing concepts for a fitting cover.
In recent years, multiple graphic designers—a few having dyslexia themselves—have created various new fonts designed to be easily read by individualizing each letter to create a smoother reading experience. This is done by creating larger openings in letters like c and e, as well as varying the thickness to make each letter distinct.