Book and Covers #2

Photo credit: Amy Baxter / The Guardian

In the book club the old adage of can you judge a book by it’s cover often crops up and perhaps unsurprisingly you can indeed often judge the book by the cover.  I’ve no idea how the publishing industry works, do book companies recognise the inherent quality in certain books and make sure that the cover reflects this whereas for others they don’t put in the same budget or effort ?   There are also of course wider questions about the relevance of cover art in this age of ebooks.

Recently Faber and Faber in conjunction with The Guardian Children’s Books ran a competition to design a new cover for the iconic book Lord of the Flies.  A brief was produced and the competition was open to children between 13-16.  The overall winning cover (see illustration above) by Amy Baxter aged 15 has just been announced entitled ‘Into The Mouth of the Beast’ which Amy described as follows:

I tried to encapsulate all the feelings of the book in one picture, the primitive nature of the boys and their fear, all rooting in the form of the beast.

As well as Amy’s striking cover there are some incredibly vivid, skilfull and imaginative ideas in the winners gallery which you can view here

Looks like all you highly paid and charging designers need to look over your shoulders.



8 thoughts on “Book and Covers #2

  1. I definitely see value in cover art and I think it’s a pivotal aspect of a book’s sales. If you’re a new author with a new book, the only thing that’ll set your book apart from the thousands of other books that clutter the shelves of bookstores is its cover. If dull and unoriginal, it’ll simply blend into the crowd and subsequently door poorly at the sales desk. Covers count!

    • @The Dandy Lion

      I could’nt agree more, one of the reasons I love browsing in book shops is to appreciate cover art. The same was true when I bought all my music on vinyl the sleeveart was important however how much do we notice sleeveart now that a lot of music is delivered through electronic means. I worry somewhat for the book covers in the same way will it cease to be important if more and more people move to ereaders? a shame if that happens

      Of interest one of the most interesting books I’ve read in recent times has been The People of Paper by Salvador Placencia which embraces the physicality of the printed book in the way it is designed that cannot be replicated in an ebook.

      • Yes, I’m really quite sad about the ebook revolution. There’s something so sacred about holding a well-thumbed paperback, inhaling the scent of its old pages and admiring its aesthetic value. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be an ebook reader…we lose so much when we abandon the real book, the book that’s been about for centuries.

  2. @ The Dandy Lion – yes I’m still a book reader and not an ebook reader. I’m actually not as worried about the ebook thing as I first thought I would be. There is room in the market for both and at the end of the day it’s the content that is king so as long as people are reading then I’m cool with that. I think that one of the reasons competitions like this book cover art one are interesting is that they will hopefully encourage the upcoming generations that physical books are still things of beauty in themselves and that when merged of course with being a great story then as a medium it cannot be beaten.

  3. Whilst I embrace the thought and the process around the new Lord of the Flies book cover, I think it’s pretty terrible. I’m not coming from the perspective of protectionist overpaid designer either, I can assure you.

    It’s always the biggest danger in any kind of design ‘competition’ – somebody has to win if the organiser has to save face and if the standard is low then you’re in trouble. Having said that I thought the standard of the other entries was actually quite high.

  4. Pingback: Cover Up! Recyling Our Textbooks « newfoundlandtraveller

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