Penguin Random House Book Brief

For our next brief we have been given the task of redesigning a book cover. The briefs are set by random house and there are 3 different ones to choose from; Clockwork Orange- Anthony Burgess, How to Be a woman- Caitlyn Moran and Emil and the Detectives- Kåstner. All of these books id never actually heard of let alone even read so my first port of call was to actually find out what they were about so that I could determine which one I would want to design a cover for. I done a little bit of pre research on the internet but felt I actually needed to go find them in a book shop.

So I took a trip to Waterstones. The first thing that struck me when I walked in was that I had no clue how to find a specific book in a book shop. It made me realise how much I rely on the internet and the help of amazon for sourcing my books. To my embarrassment I did have to ask the shop assistant to point me in the right direction for each of the books, but I’m making it my mission to be able to find a book without any help next time I need one.

I ended up finding two of the books that I needed A Clockwork Orange and Emil and the detectives, because of my prior research around the themes of the books and the fact that I felt the best way to generate ideas for my design would be to read them I felt that these weren’t necessarily the books for me. However I am glad that I took a trip to the book shop because it gave me the chance to see first had the designs of books that are currently on the shelves. I picked up the books that on first glance really stood out to me a photographed them so that I could analyse why the designs caught my eye at a later date. Although I didn’t find the last book, How to be a woman, after reading the blurb etc. I feel that this is a book more suited to me so I did order if from Amazon but found the place where it would have been kept in the shop.

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Anthony Burgess- A Clockwork Orange

Because I haven’t read the book my immediate reaction to this cover was why the glass of milk, although I feel that the reason for the image would become apparent upon reading the book I feel that it adds a real sense of mystery to the book because on first glance it is not obvious what the book is about. I do however feel that the cover is quite bland and uninteresting. I wouldn’t necessarily have picked this up but because I was looking for the book I did. I do feel tho that with classic books like these that the majority of people have read or know about already sometimes less could be more and that a simple pictures like this is acceptable.


Emil and the Detectives- Erich Kastner

Although there were several different versions of this book on the shelf this was the one which stood out to me. I think the most striking part that really grabs attention is the bright yellow contrasted with rich sepia toned image and text. Because it is a children’s book I feel that an appropriate images has been used because a child can immediately relate to the boy on the cover in some way. It also doesn’t give away too much about the book and only hints at a few themes from the book which I feel adds a sense on mystery. The cover also have a significant amount of white space making the cover easy to look at and the information on the front easily digestible by the lower age range that the book is targeted at.

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How to Tie a Tie (A gentleman’s guide to getting dressed)

This book caught my attention because it was the first one which really emulated and said what the book was about without having to read the title. From first glance it was obvious that the book was for men and that it had something to do with clothing or fabric. This is because an iconic tie pattern has been used which we can all relate to either ourselves or a male figure in our lives, the designer has used an appropriate image that is not too over-exaggertaed but hints slightly at the theme of the book. One thing that I don’t really like about the design is the fact that the blurb and barcode have been stuck on the back with a white sticker, I feel that this information could have been better of included within the design rather than feeling like an after thought.


Last Man In Tower- Aravind Adiga

I think the thing that stood out to me most about this front cover was how bright it was in comparison to a lot of others that were using black as a their prime colour or very muted colours. I did at first find the title difficult to make sense of due to the positioning on the type but on reflection I think it is a really good way of using type as image to convey the message of the book. I think maybe the cover is a little crowded as the typography is fairly closely spaced but it definitely caught my attention from the shelf.


Little Girl Gone- Alexandra Burt

First thing that struck me about this book cover was its simplicity. A lot of the other covers were crammed with visuals and typography and quotes about the book but this seemed to be the one that was the “plainest” of them all. I think the use of a simple vector based imagery is really effective. It gives a small insight into what the book is about without giving too much away as well as using a simple 3 colour palette which is easy for the viewer to look at and make sense of. One criticism I have about the cover is the line of type which says “home is where the harm is” at first I was unsure wether this is was party of the title of the book due to its large point size you feel it is an important piece of information but from research it turns out it is not, and it feels slightly unneeded. I also think the point size of the type is too big on the back of the book and that the design could have been improved by continuing it on to the spine and back of the book.

These are a few of the other books that caught my attention;

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Although the book shop didnt actually have How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, I went to the section where it woulc have been to see the type of imagery and style of deisgn the books in the same section are using. The book is in the humour section and alot of them were written by comedians so quite often the books featured the pictures of the comedians, however others did feature comical and quirky illustrations. The typography was more often than not very fun and script like and the covers were often busy and full of quotes and imagery.



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