Today, we were joined by Becky Chilcott. She is a freelance designer with over 10 years’ experience. She explained that a book designer used to be able to create a book covers and pages freely. However, other departments now get involved such as people from Rights, Sales and Marketing. This is because they have to consider the international market and the consumer and measure if it is marketable.
When designing the jacket of a book, I’ve been told that you might not always have much of an idea what the book is about. This is because the author might not have finished writing it so you have to improvise and work with the information you are given, perhaps a paragraph, or setting and/ or character descriptions. You will also have to provide illustrators with a brief if artwork is required.
Choosing an illustrator will depend on what book you are publishing. For example Nick Sharott only illustrates books for Jacqueline Wilson and Oliver Jeffers creates small drawings with lots of space. A new author might use a new illustrator to establish a new series for example.
In class, we went on to look at the descriptions of the books and to imagine what this would look like. Everyone had slightly different ideas, as an array of covers would probably work for each book, it just depends on the artist’s interpretation of the information provided. We looked The Girl with all the Gifts, Noah Barleywater Runs Away, Opal Plumsted, Tampa and The Boy and the Bear and the Boat.
The 3 SECOND RULE- a book cover has only 3 seconds to catch the interest of a potential consumer, so it is not surprising that a lot of time goes into creating the right one(s). The place where it is sold may also be a factor in what the book will look like, whether it is going to be sold face out or on a shelf, in Waterstones or The Works. “If the book doesn’t sell, they’ll blame the cover” Becky informed us.
We were also asked think of how we would re-create one of our favourite books. I chose Here, Bullet by Brian Turner. To me, this cover looks like any other war poetry book, which isn’t always a bad thing, but I would have suggested something dark such as satin material washing over the page with a few speckles of blood and the title in silver or gray— Nothing to horrifying, but enough to spark an interest. Becky highlighted that the material would contrast well with the harshness of the rest of the imagery.