Friday, July 23, 2010

Cover Critique: Firelight

Let me preface this post by saying that my design critiques of these covers are in no way, shape or form a reflection on the author, the content or the publisher. I know the authors have very little, if any, control over the design. These are strictly my thoughts stemming from my design experience.

There are some seriously beautiful young adult book covers out there at the moment. Firelight is one of those, and one of my personal favorites. First, there's the single striking image of this young woman's face. I'm always partial to simplicity in book covers, I think the "less is more" concept is exquisitely fitting and always catches my eye more than a busy cover with lots of fonts and transparent images layered on top of one another.

Perhaps it's the trauma of years of design work where marketing would seek to fill any gloriously empty space with type, or an image, or a giant starburst screaming "look inside for a chance to win!" But nothing makes my eye start to tick more than a beautiful cover ruined by trying to include too much, making it hard for the eye to focus on anything at all, let alone what they really want potential buyers to see. But I digress into boring designer-mode:)

Once her face and bright red hair grab your attention, there's the subtle scale pattern covering her eye that makes you want to read the premise of the book and figure out just why this beautiful girl seems to be sprouting scales. It actually took me several minutes to notice that her eye is slit like a dragon's (now the scales are making sense Jenny, way to be brilliant) and not that of a human's at all.
This cover is subtlety at it's finest.

Furthermore, dotting the "i" is a little flame, an inconspicuous nod to the title. The flourishes on the font are nice, balancing well with the graphic instead of overpowering it. Overall, this is just a really beautiful cover and I can't wait to see it printed to get the full effect.

Do you agree?


  1. love this cover and I have the book--but I haven't read it yet. Oh yeah it was the cover :)

  2. I agree with everything you said about it being a well designed cover, but unfortunately it would never grab my attention on the shelf. I just don't go for the "face" covers =(

  3. I love the colors and it is beautiful and this is being very nitpicky but the scales look strange to looks like mesh of some sort. Of course this is while you don't know what the book is about, once you do it looks like scales and makes perfect sense!

  4. what a great analysis! I didn't notice the eye slit until you pointed it out.

  5. I also love this cover and thoroughly enjoyed reading your critique of it! By the way, I also didn't notice that her eye was slit like a dragon's at first, but now that I see it, it makes the cover even more striking.

  6. I really agree! I was first drawn to the book by its cover and found that I would really like it. About three or four times after I gazed at it longingly, I found that the eye makeup that I adored was actually scales. A big "I see what you did there" moment ensued and I loved it even more!

  7. Oh wow, I didn't even notice her slitted eye until you pointed it out lol. I really love this cover, the scales are gorgeous.