Everyone is taught not to judge a book by the cover. I remember in elementary school, our classes would go to the library at the beginning of each year. There, our school librarian would demonstrate that the proper way to decide on a book was to randomly open to a page, read the contents for a few minutes, and proceed to gauge the author’s writing style and determine if the story sounded interesting. Even at a young age I thought, “who has time for this?” I said then and I say now, wipe out the wives tales and eliminate the euphemisms. The best way to judge a book is by the cover!
I’m not the only one who feels this way, as designers spend plenty of time, and publishers spend plenty of money conjuring up clever, enticing, and unique book covers to catch the attention of readers. It is quite a daunting task to make one book stand out amongst hundreds, maybe thousands of other books on a library, book store, or local retail book shelf. Yet, designers meet this challenge time and time again.
Probably the most popular book covers on the shelves today belong to the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers. The covers of this quartet of books all share a thematic design concept. Each cover has a black background with a single crisp photograph that contains some blood red attribute that is a symbolic representation of the major concept or theme of each book. These designs have become iconic to the books and even the movies created based on them. So much so that jewlery, t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise have been manufactured featuring the same designs. Even satirical book covers, t-shirts, and posters have been created mimicking the design theme used in the original book covers. The designs have become a part of the cultural phenomenon surrounding the series and movies.
It just goes to show the importance of designing a good book cover. Book cover design can be the epicenter of a major cultural trend, like with Twilight or it can simply launch a book to the top of the New York Times best seller list. Regardless, these covers are proof positive that readers completely judge books by the cover.