Thursday 19 September 2013

Standing Ovation

The usual approach when designing the cover for an autobiography or biography, at least when the subject has any sort of fame, is to use a big, dull, flattering studio portrait photo. Do a Google Image Search for 'biography covers' for endless examples. It's the obvious way to flog a book about a famous person, and any designer who tries to go against the publisher's marketing people is almost always going to be fighting a losing battle to do anything different or more interesting.

That's why covers like the following, for physicist Stephen Hawking's memoir, are so welcome. Even people who know nothing about black holes or A Brief History of Time are likely to know one thing about Hawking: his physical condition. To show an image that goes against that, and in which the man himself is not immediately identifiable, is clever and intriguing.

All credit to Kathleen Lynch of Black Kat Design for the cover.

Sunday 15 September 2013

50 Shades of Tired Puns and Cretinous Cash-Ins

About 18 months ago I looked at the woeful array of cretinous and usually self-published books hoping to cash in on the 50 Shades of Grey bandwagon of crap. To my horror, even as the original books are being turned away by charity shops, it's still happening! All of the following books are being released in the space of one month later this year, and they're only the worst-looking that I could find in a quick survey. Truly, we live in terrible times.

12 Across: Fuck Off (4, 3)

The courage to be kicked in the head by a wet horse

50 Random Nouns

Nothing says "erotic" like a bent, diseased prick

A rare example amongst these books of a pun that makes actual sense

This may have been the highlight of somebody's modelling career

Yes, this seems a sensible topic to shoe-horn a title based on witless erotica into

50 Shades of Not Knowing How the English Language Works

Terrifying, but not in the way they think 

Jozi is slang for "syphilitic discharge"

They go in as cucumbers, they come out as gherkins

Thursday 12 September 2013

Gauld in Wimbledon

The splendid Tom Gauld recently created the cover for the new Nigel Williams novel, published by Corsair.

He has now produced a triptych of conjoined covers for Williams' most famous work, the Wimbledon Poisoner trilogy, featuring more of his weirdly expressive stick people. This is a series of books I've been meaning to read for years; now I have the perfect excuse.

Click for a much bigger version

More Tom Gauld action in these posts.