Thursday, June 4, 2009
Meet My Bookcover!
At last, I have a jpeg of the final cover art for "Sunflowers" to post and share -- and here it is! (click image to enlarge)
At the risk of sounding like I've been drinking the kool-aid in the graphic design department (as it happens, I'm the chair of that program...boy, is that a long story), here's a little discourse on my cover. First of all, I didn't realize how important book covers actually were until we got into the drafts and discussions: with my Cambridge Univ Press scholarly book, it was important, but not quite in the same way. This one needs to appeal to not only readers but the 'gatekeepers'...the folks representing bookstore chains, the independent booksellers, etc, etc. It needs to grab attention and make everyone want to pick up the book--because people DO judge a book by its cover. I really wanted a van Gogh original image, and said so from the beginning. The design team had other things to consider, too, namely the "Sunflowers" title, which automatically limits the image somewhat. (As in, people would expect to see a flower or two.) I also suspect the one-word title vs five-word subtitle vs fifteen-character author name came into play when it came time to do actual typographic layout. Everything needed to fit nicely and look good.
I wish I could post the two previous drafts and share details about the discussions, but I bet that wouldn't be very diplomatic. Sufficient to say, there *were* discussions, and this is the final result. I'm pleased myself! Not only is a van Gogh original being used -- this is a detail from the August 1888 Sunflowers now in Munich -- but I particularly like the typeface for the subtitle and my name, which looks rather 19th-century. Choosing this particular detail of the painting lends a certain turbulence that hints at the emotional turbulence present in the story itself -- the crowding of the flowers, the lines of the petals. And a 'zoom-in' like this reveals the texture of van Gogh's brushstrokes, which is always hard to convey in a photograph.
Hope everyone likes! Feel free to share your thoughts...