Book lovers, take a look at your shelf. What do you see? Not all of us can be Bookstagram stars with a plethora of breathtaking displays, but recently I’ve discovered that my books seem to follow a very similar color scheme. At first I thought this was a happy coincidence, but it turns out that publishers definitely know what they’re doing. In the book publishing world, marketing all begins with the cover.
Picture books have evolved over time to serve different agendas, from educational, such as teaching the alphabet, to more “edgy” topics in recent years, such as tackling what it’s like to be a child of divorce. With every change, however, one thing remains consistent: the design of a children’s book must keep a child interested and entice them to turn the page.
As the cover of a book communicates to the potential reader what lies within, many conventions have emerged to highlight certain genres, such as an old photograph that promises a memoir, or a shirtless muscular man that promises a romance novel. To investigate further, we’ll look at four popular books sold in both the US and the UK and see what each cover has to say about the same story.
The last time you heard from the Ocean in My Ears team, we were busy copyediting the manuscript. Well, now the copyediting is finished, and we have since turned our attention to the cover. Like many of our projects at Ooligan Press, this was a collaborative effort. Taylor Farris came up with the original concept for the cover that featured a watercolor splash, a denim textured font, and a clean aesthetic; Leigh Thomas built upon this design, adding the mountains and the reflection, as well as fine-tuning the details; and Riley Pittenger hand drew the illustrated car. Needless to say, the result is a cover that is more than the sum of its parts, but let’s go ahead and take a closer look at some of those parts anyway.