Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Adults versus Young Adults

Scottish publisher Canongate has recently launched an unsual line: they're having a number of their adult novels and story collections republished by noted children's book publisher Walker Books. The books themselves are the same, but the covers are done quite differently to appeal to a young adult readership.

Here are the first four in the series, with the YA Walker covers on the left and the current Canongate editions on the right.(Click for bigger versions.)


Looking at these, it's interesting to note that only the Kelly Link actually looks especially YA-oriented (to me, at least).What they all have in common are eye-catching slabs of colour. What do you think?

UPDATE: Patrick Insole, art director at Walker, added these useful remarks in the comments: "As the art director for the Walker editions of these books, I thought I might be able to shed a little light on the thinking behind these. I think there is often a perception that YA editions of books should somehow look 'younger' than their adult counterparts however, as Brian notes, there is nothing inherently 'adult' about the Canongate covers. Our brief was simply to create something completely different to the originals, rather than worry about making them consciously younger in tone. One interesting note is that the YA cover for Pretty Monsters, designed by the brilliant Will Staehle, is actually a reworking of a rough he did for the adult edition, which he also designed..."

7 comments:

Saskia said...

I only prefer the "I'm not scared" YA version to the standard ones.

Brian Busby said...

I was struck by the Canongate covers in that each, with the exception of I'm Not Scared (which I don't like), already had a YA look.

Ben said...

The YA covers win every time for me I'm afraid - to these eyes they all look bright and unusual and appealing, whereas the adult editions (with the exception of the 'Pretty Monsters' one) just seem hackneyed & unimaginative.

Patrick Insole said...

As the art director for the Walker editions of these books, I thought I might be able to shed a little light on the thinking behind these. I think there is often a perception that YA editions of books should somehow look 'younger' than their adult counterparts however, as Brian notes above, there is nothing inherently 'adult' about the Canongate covers. Our brief was simply to create something completely different to the originals, rather than worry about making them consciously younger in tone. One interesting note is that the YA cover for Pretty Monsters, designed by the brilliant Will Staehle, is actually a reworking of a rough he did for the adult edition, which he also designed...

JRSM said...

Saskia, it is definitely a huge step up on the basic thriller look of the adult version.

Brian: You're right--I can't believe I didn't realise that.

Ben: The adult 'Monsters' is really groovy.

Patrick: Thank you for that--I'll add your remarks to the post.

Lu @ Regular Rumination said...

Ooh the I'm Not Scared cover is gorgeous! I like all the YA covers, lovely job.

Cat's Books said...

The Canongate covers certainly don't have a YA atmosphere at all...it seems slightly odd to me now, but as a teenager I'm sure I'd have been relieved - there was nothing more humilating than buying a YA book with a consciously child-themed cover.