Friday, October 1, 2010

Cover Critique: Sapphique and Rage

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.

A while back I stumbled across the first books in each of the above series and noticed they had some shocking design similarities despite being different publishers. I concocted a conversation between the two respective designers which you can read here if you want. Since the beautiful covers for the sequels have been released, I thought we'd revisit this conversation:

Sapphique Designer (to be abbreviated SD): Hey

Rage Designer (to be abbreviated RD): Howdy

SD: So, I've been working on the Incarceron sequel design and I'm almost afraid to ask how you're doing with the Hunger sequel. Please, please, tell me you used a color other than red.

RD: Um. What was the question again?

SD: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You used red? Seriously? What made you do that!

RD: Dude, the title of the book is Rage. What other color should I have used? Green? Green doesn't exactly scream "rage" now does it? No. It says "I'm envious of you" which seems to be what you are at the moment.

SD: Maybe I'm furious and now my face matches the color of my cover. I can't believe we did this again! Tell me you eliminated your black vignetted corners.

RD: Sure didn't! In fact, I made them more pronounced which I think adds to the overall menace when paired with the blood-red sword. I did however, forgo my nature elements in favor of some wicked awesome scrolls. I'm at the top of my game here.

SD: *$%@! I added scrollwork! I now have a prominent keyhole graphic comprised entirely of scrolls as a focal point. I also added some chains for symbolic purposes.

RD: Sounds super special.

SD: I hate you a little bit right now.

RD: Because my cover is more simple and visually stunning and yours sounds like something out of a BDSM novel with your chains and keyholes?

SD: No, because you are a design klepto. A stealer of designs with a dirty, dirty mind.

RD: Relax, I'm sure they're not as similar as the first two books, so maybe no one will notice this time.

SD: You said that last time. Before book 3, please call me before you design anything, I'm going to need you to keep your pilfering in check before this happens a third time.

RD: You call me.

SD: Really? We're going to have the "you call me" argument?

RD: Yep.

SD: Fine. But my book still releases before yours.

RD: You're an a-hole.


  1. Funny. Seriously. The last two lines just knocks me off. Even the first conversation you had with the hunger. Just funny! Did you think about sending a copy of this funny dialog to the actual designers of the cover??

  2. lmao!! I love your cover art conversations. :)

  3. Omg Jenny, this cracks me up...a lot haha thank you for making my Friday a million times better! :)

  4. "You're an a-hole."

    LoL Final word wins every time!

  5. Both these books look great! I am super excited to read them both!!! Super funny btw :)

    Books with Bite

  6. Ahahahaha very cute. The similarities are uncanny. But I love how Incarceron's cover is a key and Sapphique is a key hole. I hadn't noticed that before!

    Anyway, old follower, just popping in to say hi and have a great weekend! :)

    Tara | Hobbitsies

  7. All the big pubs go round robin with their designers, they all steal from each other. They say the best form of flattery is copying or whatever. The problem as a designer that it usually isn't even them right? It's the client. They give you a piece of paper - or the cover of another book and they say - I want it to look like this one. I mean they look like the same freaking book/series. The creative directors should be ashamed of themselves - or Penguin should be calling HM or whatnot.

    But then again, sometimes it is done on purpose, which is even more nefarious. Make it look like this book/series so maybe they will be mistaken by the unsavvy consumer and purchased.

    Evil marketing people.

    I loved your conversation though. Had me cracking up.

  8. Ash - I thought of you while I was writing this, I know you enjoy the conversation critiques:)

    GREYZ - Thank you! I'm glad people are finding them amusing. I actually hadn't though of sending these to the designers, you never know if something will be taken in the humorous, light-hearted way in which it was intended:)

    Melissa - Yay! I do what I can to make people laugh on Friday:)

    Ragan - I'm the type that has to have the final word, there's definitely some of me in "RD"

    Savy - I'm really excited for both too!

    Tara - Nice observation, I actually didn't notice that either! I was too fixated on their similarities:)

    ParaJunkee - Design clients can be so frustrating especially because you have no choice but to adopt the "client is always right" motto even when their suggestions make you want to cry. I was surprised at how similar Incarceron and Hunger were, and there was just enough time in between their releases for the cover to have been seen by the other publisher. You have to wonder how much influence one might have had on the other!

  9. This post totally made me laugh out loud! You're right in that they seem to be following a will be really hilarious if it continues into the next book :D

  10. *snorts and splutters with laughter* I swear I'm going to die of laughter one of these days, and it will be all your fault. *grins* Curiously enough, I've ignored both of these books, but your design conversations have made me sit up and take notice of them.

  11. La Coccinelle - Me too:)

    Danya - I can't wait to see if it happens one more time. I can pass off (barely) two as a fluke, but if they match 3 for 3 something's going on!

    Tammy - I will accept full responsibility of laughing you into an early grave, though I do hope that doesn't happen, I enjoy talking to you on our blogs! Just wait for next week, I have a doozy for you:)

  12. I love how dark (not in terms of color:)) the covers are.

  13. ROFLMBO !!! I seriously can't breathe that was so funny.

    I cam by to let you know I'm Tagging you. If you click on my name below it'll take you to the post with all the info :)

    The Bookish Snob

  14. That was hysterical! I'd never noticed how similar "Hunger" and "Incarceron" were. I like both covers, but the "Incarceron" is my favorite.

  15. Reena - I think they're both gorgeous as well:)

    Midnyte - Thank you, I'm glad!

    BookishSnob - I try, I try:) Glad you enjoyed it!

    Jennifer - It's crazy isn't it? I remember seeing the Incarceron cover in the bookstore and loving it, then I saw the Hunger cover on Net Galley and was like "Huh. This looks familiar." The fact that the second 2 are both red makes it even better:)

  16. Have you seen the new cover for Kelley Armstrongs "No Humans Involved" and Bree Despain's "Dark Divine?" They are the same cover, just different colouring. I found it so bizarre that they would re-use the covers, and I wonder if the publishing companies are aware of it.

    I included the links so you could see. I thought you might be interested :)


  17. Ashley - Whoa! I did not see that and I find it to be frustrating. If it was a stock photo, I have no problem with that, but designers/publishers should check to see if that photo has been used in a similar capacity before putting it on a high-profile author's cover. Thanks for sharing!

  18. That stock photo use is so dumb and annoying! How could they not realize that? Isn't that what they're paid to do? Annnnyways, Jenny I am in love with your blog and your book selections, so, I'm passing on the Cherry On Top Award to you. Come back to my blog (not a pick-up line, I promise, I'm married;) and check it out :)

    <3, Ashlie

  19. Haha great convo. I actually like the Rage cover, the Sappique one looks a little...I don't know, more juvenile or something?

  20. Seriously, can I tell you how much I love these?! I'm dying here... X-D

    Keep 'em coming!