Written on: 08/09/2004 by Maxdmaximus (2 reviews written)
Effective design, humorous, enticing
Book Cover Review
By Max Dalton
If a book cover doesn't attract attention to itself it will remain "on the shelf". A successful book cover will magnetise the reader to its contents, which begs the question: "How can a book cover best achieve its purpose?" The answer lies within its main elements: GRAPHICS, IMAGES, TEXTS and LAYOUT which must be incorporated to fulfill its mission. Typically, the reader will firstly be attracted by the front cover, the primary function of which is to encourage the reader to select the book for further investigation. The back cover of a novel is the next step in whetting the reader's appetite. The main purpose of a back cover is to summarise the storyline in an appealing manner in order to encourage the potential reader to take the final step of reading the book. The front and back covers of RED DWARF will be analysed in terms of how they use these main elements.
Graphics can be defined as colour, symbols and logos. With regard to colour, the most striking feature of the cover of RED DWARF is its title. A vibrant, rich red is contrasted with a bold white title placed in the middle of a lonely, stark planet. The title has a thick, red ring encircling it, further illustrating its planetary nature. On the cover is a blue sign with a faded white border and dull white text. The reason for the faded and dull white is that the cover designer did not want the text and border to detract from the other more important whites on the cover. A notable feature is a gradation of the white. The more rich and bold the white, the more it stands out so the designer has cleverly created an effect in which the eye is attracted to the different signs or heading in a specific order to signify importance. Moving to the less exaggerated feature, the background is a dense, murky space colour filled with sparkling stars. With reference to symbols on the cover, the most noteworthy is the lonely, stark planet which can be interpreted in different ways. One interpretation is that it symbolizes Saturn because of the ring around it. On the other hand it could be symbolizing a journey into outer space.
Finally, on this cover is the 'PENGUIN PUBLISHER'S" logo. This logo is white and black surrounded by an orange eclipse with a thin black border around it, which informs the reader that this particular novel was published by the popular publishing company, PENGUIN.
The novel, RED DWARF, has a wide range of images that are both colourful and effective. On the front cover of the novel there is a 3D illustration of a floating blue sign with a faded white border and text. At the bottom right corner of this sign there is a section missing, which has been separated into smaller pieces that are currently floating in the opposite direction of the sign. This damage evidently has been caused by a moving object, which is shown by a mark notifying the reader that this has happened. There is also a RED DWARF sign in a bold, outgoing red and white. Another image is the Author's name, printed in a rich, bold and also quite large white font.
The cover designer of the novel RED DWARF has used text on the front cover mainly for humour but also uses a mild amount of informative language. The heading RED DWARF is printed clearly in bold letters. There is also a sign that reads in a clear, easy to read font, "INFINITY. Welcomes careful drivers," which contains a reasonable level of humour considering that a ship has just careered through the sign at full speed. Not surprisingly, there is the Author's name printed in a bold, large font. This is a common use of informative language but the designer has done this in a very thoughtful way so it is noticeable and attractive.
On the top, centre of the cover is the title RED DWARF. The title of a novel is typically located here because it is without a doubt the most important source of information on the cover of any book. Located in the middle-left, is the blue and white sign reading "INFINITY, welcomes careful drivers". There are two possible reasons that the sign is located here: either because it is the most appropriative place to advertise itself as a humorous fiction; or because it fits perfectly with the streak so it passes through the sign causing the reader to read the sign and then follow the streak off into the distance. At the bottom of the cover is the name of the Author on one side and the publisher on the other.
The back cover of the novel RED DWARF has a wide range of intriguing colours and logos. The background, identical to the front cover, is a rich space colour filled with twinkling stars. This creates a lost and lonely feeling for the reader. The cover has an outstanding red and white title, RED DWARF, with a ring around it. Then there is a small amount of text in yellow, bold letters and yet another small portion of bold, yellow text with a smaller font than the previous. To finish the cover off, there is the 'PENGUIN PUBLISHER'S' logo that is identical to the one on the front cover.
The designer for the covers of the novel RED DWARF has used the front cover for image and the back cover for informative language and text. There are few images on the back cover. As on each cover it has the RED DWARF sign and also the streak from the front cover continues onto the back.
There is some very humorous and informative language used on the back cover of RED DWARF. The designer has used colour to create a mood or feeling for the reader. The most striking feature is the RED DWARF sign. Then there is, in large, bold, yellow letters, a strip of text reading, "THE FULL STORY". There is a smaller but still in the same yellow, bold font a strip reading, "When Lister got drunk, he really got drunk". This phrase contains information about one of the characters in the novel, Lister. The reader can predict Lister is the protagonist because he is mentioned all throughout this passage. Following this, in small yellow print, is a passage briefly outlining the storyline of the novel. There is also in very small yellow print the name of the cover designer, Dewynters. This is informative language, enlightening the reader who designed the cover. It is a very humorous passage, informing the reader that it is a comedy and encouraging them to read it if they have a good sense of humour. All the yellow print on this cover adds an interesting, Star-wars, space effect. It creates a feeling of adventure and it stands out to encourage the reader to read it.
The back cover of RED DWARF is especially well-designed with regard to layout. The eye of the reader is attracted to all the different features of the cover in descending order of importance. This is done both by size of text and where it is positioned on the cover. At the top of the back cover is the title RED DWARF. Underneath is the text reading, "THE FULL " This is almost a follow up to the passage of text underneath which outlines the storyline. Underneath the passage is the name of the company which designed the cover. The bottom of the cover is the best place to have this strip of text because it is probably the least important part of informative language there is on the cover. The designers have done it so it is only just noticeable and is the very last thing the readers' eyes flip to when reading this brilliant cover.
Based on the above analysis, the designer of the cover has used the elements of GRAPHIC, IMAGE, TEXT and LAYOUT to achieve its main purpose of successfully advertising the novel to the reader. It is vibrant and eye catching with a touch of humour.
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