Genre of the Week- Science-Fiction

This cover of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro has a cover which is instantly reminiciant of the past with the deep yellow colour used for the matte laminated background and the girl in movement who looks like she is fading and blurred. This cover does not seem to give much away about the book.

The title is embossed and the words have been printed with spot uv, so that they stand out slightly.

This is published in a-format, by Faber and Faber, 2005.


Genre of the Week- Crime/Thriller/Mystery

Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress fits into the crime, thriller and mystery genres.

The title and the author’s name is embossed, and foil has been added to the underneath to create a metallic finish. The text at the top has spot uv on the top to make it look shiny. The rest of the book is matte laminated.

The capitalised text dominates two thirds of the cover, while the remaining third has the main part of the picture showing, which creates a good spacial awareness. The subtle codes behind the text also hint at what the book is likely to be about.

The book is smaller than a-format and is printed by the Corgi books imprint.

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In this week’s session we had a guest speaker, Ness Wood. She is a book designer with over 20 years experience and is currently working on her PhD. She has designed many popular books such as A Boy and a Bear and a Boat and Dog Loves Books.

She talked us through the process of how she collaborates with other people to design books. Later she showed us the slight differences that are made to a cover from a hardback to a paperback. As paperbook’s are made for the mass market they usually have to appeal to a wider audience so the covers are usually changed.Lionheart

Our task was to design our own hardback version of Lionheart by Richard Collingridge, already out in paperback (left). I chose an image of the boy and the lion as the story begun. I decided to add a colour at the top which then faded out, this was so that the title could stand out more. I decided to use a serif font to give it a more classic look and only used colours for the text that were already on the image, as below.


Genre of the Week- Academic Textbook/Reference Book

The French Textbook is guide for beginning. It has a glossy front and the pictures on the cover relate things in France, providing the prospective buyer with a small insight of what they might learn from the book. The inside spread differs from that of a maths textbook for example, as it has coloured pictures inside, relating to the culture and words. The chapters are clearly set out and the columns separate the information well. The colour scheme of the different shades of blue are also carried though on the back cover as well as the inside pages.

The Maths behind Book Covers

Today we learned how to mock up a book cover for a picture book, a fiction book and a hardback book with flaps. We did this in InDesign and used Photoshop to place the background on to it. This was a lot more technical than I expected, but not as difficult as it looked. This was in practice for one of our assignments where we will have to create a cover design for Just So Stories using different measurements to the ones provided today.

As well as adding a bleed and slug, we also added fold lines, which were 5mm dotted vertical lines where the gutter and spine intersect. This allows the printer to know which areas to fold- pretty clever.

Suzanne Dean is the creative director of Penguin Random House, she decides the look and feel of the book.  ‘Her job is to distill the essence of the novel its character narrative and themes into a visual form.’  An interview with her is here.

Genre of the Week- Cooking Book

This week I chose to analyse Jamie Oliver’s cookbook, Everyday Superfood. The photography has been done by the author himself!

This book is a bright yellow hardback, with a warp around over the top (below) which is blue. This is an interesting choice to have to completely different colours. The words on the hardback are printed in black ink, in the same font as the dust cover. A clear, text is also used.

The layout inside the book, is what one would expect from a cookbook, with clear instructions, and lots of bright, professional images. The subheadings match the front cover well as these are also capitalised.

Working with Type

Franz Kafka

It’s fascinating that a certain font can make us associate different things to it. Becky begun the lesson by showing us a range of fonts and asked ‘what does this font say to you?’. She then showed us what book covers they were used on (everyone got the one from Twilight) and also showed us how the same font can be used in varying ways. My favourite cover was Metamorphosis by Kafka.

She also showed us the finishes that can be applied to the covers, such as spot UV, foil, holafoil, super matte, glossy, emboss, deboss and dye-cutting.

TIP: When typesetting it is advised to do the first two pages to begin with and then once you are sure about all of the settings then the whole book can be done as this will save a lot of time. Also, it is good to look to see that these fonts have the option to put the type in bold and in italics, to prevent complications later on down the line.

Some typographers also add more symbols or letter options in the Glpyth panel of InDesign so these are also useful to check. The space between letters, the height can also be manipulated in this program, which is something we experimented with in class, I have also added these new terms to my Glossary.

In typesetting it is good practice to change any inch marks to quotation marks, otherwise this looks unprofessional.

Some Cover Finishes

Cover laminate– gloss or matte laminate prodides high sheen finish
Dye cut-
where part of the paer is cut away to reveal what is underneath
can be added over or underneath colour or other finishes
foil blocking-
used to print foil on clothbound hardbacks
Foil stamping-
can be added to softcover and hardcover books, involves making a custom metal dye, heating the dye and making an impression. Can also do this without colour (blind emboss)
Matte laminate
– feels softer but more likely to show marks
Screen printing– can be used for fine detail and large fill areas
Spot uv– used to apply a glossy finish, usually used on matte lamination background
Sprayed edges- egdes of pages sprayed
Super matt-
very velvety, colours stand out above
Uncoated-used to give classic feel, rough texture

Genre of the Week- Teenage Fiction

This week I chose The Host by Stephanie Meyer, the writer of the Twilight Saga. This is a very popular book amongst teenagers and the crossover market arguably, it was also made into a film in 2013.

The front cover is gloss laminated and a ring of foil has been printed under the eye to make it slightly shiny. This portrays the content perfectly as the wanderers in the book can been revealed by characteristic. The title ‘The Host’ is embossed so that it stands up subtly against the strong image.

The interior spread of the book is well set out, with a poem at the beginning and a drop caps used to indicate the beginning paragraph.

Unfortunately, it looks like the back cover ripped from a different set of books… the Twilight sagas. The colour scheme and font’s do not match the front of the book.

This is a a- format book, which is usual for this genre and it was published by Little Brown in 2008.

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Images in Cover Design


Laura Carlin

Illustration by Laura Carlin

Today Becky begun the class by showing us many techniques and mediums artists might use to produce the image of a cover such as embroidery, screen printing, illustration and photography, among many others!

She also informed us that you can pay from around £3- £1000 for an image, but there are some websites that offer many cheap images too such as They can be downloaded as a free comp image with a watermark on first which allows you to  experiment with it before deciding to buy it. This led us  on to different types of licencing, which I was interested to hear about. We were informed that publishers can’t always afford to buy the Rights Managed licencing where no one else can use the image, they will only usually do this if the book will be a huge success.


We were also introduced to Photoshop, I have used it only a couple of times in the past so it was really useful to have a step-by-step guide on how to cut out shapes with the lasso tool and add a background.