When you walk into a bookstore, unless you are on the hunt for a specific release or beloved author, generally an enticing book cover will draw you over to a particular selection. Maybe you notice the bold typographical choices, the striking illustration, the contrasting colors. While you’re admiring the feat of creativity in your hands and considering whether you’re willing to invest in the content within, do you think about the human responsible for the interesting cover?
Ooligan Press is mostly made up of students in either their first or second year of the master’s in book publishing program at PSU. This means that every student is working on a book project team or as a department manager in addition to taking another two or three classes. And who can find the time to create cover and interior designs as we juggle up to six books in development at once? The key is collaboration. By trusting each other as managers, creators, and book lovers with valuable feedback to give, we work toward a fully designed book that best reflects the essence of the final manuscript.
There are a lot of things that can make a book unreadable: the content, the prose, the plot holes. The list could go on and on. For me, nothing makes a book more difficult to read than badly justified type.
A few typographical terms still in use today have historical origins. As technology and the practice of digital font creation have advanced, some terms have been replaced by their digital counterparts in conversations surrounding graphic design.
The first step was to pick a font; this was not an easy task as there are literally millions of fonts out there. Luckily I was restricted to choosing from the hundreds that Ooligan already has the rights to. So I browsed through hundreds of fonts, tried out a couple dozen, printed out eight, then finally sent in five.
I’ve been pursuing book cover design in the past year because in a small publishing house like Ooligan Press, book covers play more significant roles than in large publishing houses that hold big name authors and titles. I am interested in the effects of book cover design on consumers who do not know the author or content, and what information a book cover should include in order to attract consumers.