Look, Dahlings, you want the best covers don’t you? And there’s nothing the intrepid cover fashion fanatic wants more than the latest on what’s hot and what’s not in the Young Adult Cover world. Well, so do we. Covers are important. A good cover can help sell a book and a bad cover can make it drag. We’re here to help, not hurt! But nobody ever got complete honesty without a little sting.
What works? What doesn’t? What makes us salivate for a new title? Read on to find out!
This week we’re looking at one stock image – Five ways, five covers and five critiques. See how different people have taken the same image to make their covers unique!
Image by African_fi.
Reincarnate, Beloved by Loren Manns
Oh Em Gee. Where do I start with this one? Drab is not fab but isn’t that type face just the cutest? I just want to get my hands on it and rearrange it a little. Tidy it up. Make it stand up and say, “Look at me! I’m <i>fab</i>ulous.” And what is going on with those whispy little smoke pieces? Frankly, they look like stink lines! Get rid of them! They don’t know if they’re coming or going or what they’re supposed to be doing. What they should have been doing was going, “Pop! Pop! Pop!” But they don’t pop. Also, I think one’s looking at me and it’s freaking me out a little. Make it go away!
Spirited: 13 Haunting Tales Edited by Kat O’Shea
The saturation in this one has been jacked up and, you know what? I like it! I’m not sure what’s going on with the last name down the bottom. Why hide editor’s name? Why be all blurry and obscure unlike the others? Show off your colours! It really is much harder than the others though it would seem to be in a place of prominence. I’m confused, cover picture! What are you trying to tell me? I’m really feeling the font on this one – which I think pops. The tagline is great and I think this is probably the best variation of this cover in terms of over all style.
Reckoning by Amy Miles
I can’t say I’m fond of this one except to appreciate that the designer knew their limitations. Instead of trying to do effects that look ridiculous, they at least kept it simple. Whilst blessedly free of any confusing photoshop additions, the font, colouring and placement of the author name all seem like baffling choices for me.”Reckoning” doesn’t pop at all, and the author’s name is lost amongst the folds of the stock model’s dress despite the attempt to use a contrasting colour. The result leaves it looking amateurish and boring. At least even a horrible cover will stick out – this one does nothing. I want to take its hand and tell it to fly, soar, break out and be different!
Dark Genesis by A. D. Koboah
There was an original idea behind this that I might have liked, but the end result is nothing but a mess. The problem with this cover is that there’s simply too much going on, and not nearly enough skill to pull it off. Both with photoshop and just aesthetically – it’s a mess! Douse it in water, call it a failed experiment and start again! The burning pages stick out and scream that there is an falsity of over confidence happening with the graphics department. There’s a lot of filler filigree used and it’s uneven and clumsy in its distribution. Even though, to be honest, I usually like filigree! But filigree is like a sword – you have to use it carefully or you’ll cut yourself. The whole cover screams novice. The conflicting fonts clash. I like the font used for Dark Genesis, but I think the colour’s completely wrong. Where as the second title is difficult to read and hard on the eyes. The author’s name is a blurred mess – what is it with blurry names today?!
The Seduction of Sebastian James by Rachel Van Dyken
To be honest, whilst this cover isn’t as well crafted as cover #2, it is my personal favourite. The texturing of the background, the darker colours, the title framing and the bold, simple elements all won me over. But those falling flowers… oh. Here’s a tip, cover designers: Look at your cover then turn your head away. When you look bac, get rid of the first thing you see that isn’t the title. The flowers on this cover is like having a fantastic dress and ruining it with too much jewellry. The rest of the design is simple and elegant. It feels like they add an unnecessary flourish that the cover would have been better off without. But as far as style goes, I think this one has it in spades – But that’s just me!
What’s your opinion? What’s your favourite cover? Comment and let us know!