Graphic Design and Illustration.

Archive for ‘February, 2020’

Do You Judge a Book By Its Cover?

Most designers would add a “yes” to that statement. Lots of people would probably agree as well. Publishers go to great pains to create engaging covers that will entice potential readers to pick up the book and read it. Colours, typefaces, imagery and layout all go through lots of iterations in the hopes of finding the “perfect” cover for a book.

And then I ran into something quite different.

While celebrating both my 45th birthday and a slightly belated Valentine’s day, my wife and I ditched the kids for a weekend and had a little staycation in the downtown of our home city of Winnipeg. We were shopping in the Forks Market when I noticed a fun little experiment being done by one of the local shops.

It was a sign asking this question: Do you judge a book by it’s cover?

Underneath were a bunch of books wrapped in plain craft or butcher’s paper with only a brief outline of what was contained therein. No title, author info, or imagery to explain the book to a potential buyer.

The mystery book. What exactly was the book underneath this simple wrapping?

Now the wrapping itself does have a certain minimalist esthetic that was well done and I do appreciate. So it’s not like there was no graphic design attention paid to the wrapping. The string was a nice touch. And it’s not like there was no information about the contents being shared. Some argument could be made that everything you really need to make a purchase was laid out plainly for all to see. So it does make one wonder just how relevant all the goings on with cover design are to making a purchase decision. A daring thing for a graphic design website to make. And while I do like the mystery that this experiment created, it probably wouldn’t work for all books. Some books you just really need to know specifics. Especially if you are looking for something pretty specific like a particular volume or author. But it does show there are a lot of other options for book design than what most publishers lean towards.

The mystery book revealed. It was all I could do to wait until I got home after our staycation to find out just what I had bought.

So I bought a book. The price was right ($4 CAN) and I was intrigued by the mystery. Once opened, the book did look pretty interesting (and pretty much matched the expectations presented on the other “cover”) and I look forward to getting to it in the next couple of months. Enjoy!

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