Monday, July 5, 2010

Cover Critique: Beautiful Darkness

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.

Did I just drool? I think I did. This cover is breathtaking. I've seen 2 versions of it, one with the stairs as pictured above, and one with a wrought iron fence, but both version have this spectacular type treatment for the title.

The image matters little really, it's all about the piece of art that is the words "beautiful darkness". I love that the designer(s) didn't merely just choose a font from a list for this cover, instead, they hired artist/illustrator Si Scott to create a custom piece. It looks as though the type was wet, and then someone came by and ran their fingers through it to create the tendril-like flourishes that drip off the letters. Just gorgeous.

I also love that despite the fact that "beautiful" is used in the title of both this book and the first novel, Beautiful Creatures, the type treatment is not the same. Instead, Mr. Scott created a new design where the swirls interact with the letters in "darkness" differently than than they did with "creatures". It's exciting to see so much thought put into the cover design, and it most certainly pays off as this cover's color scheme and illustration set it apart.

Simplicity is such a wonderful thing in design work, and this cover keeps everything clean and clutter-free, accentuating the focal point. Even the authors names are small and unassuming at the bottom, making sure that the title is the first and only thing you focus on. Walking by the shelves in the young adult section, I know I would remember the title of this book even if I didn't stop to look at it. It makes an impression, makes itself memorable, and that is something every designer likes to see.

Yes, well designed covers make me happy. I can't help it:)

Seen a cover that's either gorgeous or absurd? Email me at and let's have a look!

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