The more technical side of the module was introduced to us today as Becky Chilcott, a book production designer, briefed us on the basics of production and what is to be expected in this part of the course. For most of the session Becky went through a slide-show containing various book covers she has been able to produce, as well as other book covers which have unexpected design fronts. For each example, she gave us the blurb of the book and asked us what the design might look like. One that came up was Jacqueline Wilson’s book ‘Opal Plumstead’, which tells the story of a schoolgirl suffragette in a time when war is impending. We were not told the author’s name, only the blurb. The class agreed that the story sounded quite dark and would therefore have a design to depict this. However, when we saw the cover design and author the class were very surprised since the cover did not reflect the nature of the story. However, Jacqueline Wilson’s illustrator Nick Sharratt is an example of how familiar illustrations identifies an author to their readers; without whom, sales plummet.
I learnt that a cover should not give too much of the story’s plot away; there needs to be a sense of mystery and subtlety which, done effectively, hooks the reader. As Becky said, there is no right answer with cover designs, not everyone will agree that the final cover is the best one.
For the last part of the session Becky got us to take the book that we brought to the class and come up with an idea for an alternative book cover. The book I brought was ‘The Girl On The Train’. I felt that this helped to get me used to thinking about effective designs.
Jacqueline Wilson. (2015). ‘Opal Plumstead’ http://www.jacquelinewilson.co.uk/library.php?b=73 [accessed 29 January 2016].