Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover, Unless It’s a Beaut

Recently, I’ve been noticing more and more beautifully designed books popping up at my local bookstore in Chicago. And here’s the thing — I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but when it’s a work of art in itself, are you really hurting the author by picking up a well designed book over a boring, mass-produced jacket that likely dons the hard covers of every other book published by that author (or every author under contract with the publisher) over the span of several years? I think not.

While I love reading, the truth is that I know very little about the publishing process. From what I’ve heard, however, authors have very little say in the design of their book cover, and that is a damn shame. After all, there would be no cover without the book, am I right? Still, were I to publish a novel, and were I then told that the following jacket designer was taking charge of the visual presentation of my words, I would hand over all rights. Seriously. Check them out for yourself.

Book by Maggie Shipstead, Cover design by Elena Giavaldi

Book by Maggie Shipstead, Cover design by Elena Giavaldi

With that in mind, I decided this blog should pay homage not just to authors, but to book jacket artists and designers as well. So I will be posting — in addition to book reviews,  photographs and general ramblings — beautiful or interesting jacket covers as well.

The first cover (book review coming soon) is for Maggie Shipstead‘s novel “Seating Arrangements,” and is designed by Elena Giavaldi.

What I most enjoy about Giavaldi’s design, is the homemade element — it looks as though she has been outside painting with water colors on the very island in which Shipstead has set her characters.

Secondly, I’m a big fan of the lobsters and the natural intrigue they create. Why lobsters? Are the lobsters in love? What do those adorable lobsters have to do with seating arrangements…oh wait…

But once you read the novel, you realize the lobsters actually take part in several of the inter-woven plots throughout the book itself. And truthfully, after finishing the book, I can’t think of a better image — except perhaps a whale — but for reasons you’ll understand after reading the novel, you’ll favor the lobster choice like me, I’m sure.

As I’m sure you can tell from Giavaldi’s portfolio, her design aesthetic is wide-ranging.

What do you think? Any jacket covers you favor? If you’re interested in other jacket cover designs, try a simple search in Pinterest; there are some pretty amazing designs out there waiting for you to discover, and who knows? Maybe you’ll crack a spine you may have otherwise missed.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover, Unless It’s a Beaut

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