Book Cover Award Thing 2016: Round 3.2

More graphic design points!


The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass – Jim Butcher : Artist/Designer – Chris McGrath(Artist)
They’ve just gone with the same plan as they use with the Dresden novels. Big blocky text. Not sure it works as well here. The series title is in quite large lettering compared with other covers but gets lost next to the big name and title. 1 point.

The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin : Artist/Designer – Lauren Panepinto(Art director)
A nice balance than the Butcher cover but also an easier task, given the more plain background image. 2 points.

The Grace of Kings – Ken Liu : Artist/Designer – Sam Weber(Artist)
Very nicely done. The artwork is compelling but creates natural space for the text. 4 points.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers : Artist/Designer – Christoffer Meyer(tbc)
An interesting way to handle a very long title. Cleverly the length of the title is used to suggest the visual journey down from the stars to the planet. 3 points.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers : Artist/Designer – Christopher Doll(Artist)
Fun but busy. Nicely works in with the image. 2 points.

The Shepherd’s Crown – Terry Pratchett : Artist/Designer – Paul Kidby(Artist)
The title kind of gets lost among the ground. 1 point.

The Shepherd’s Crown – Terry Pratchett : Artist/Designer – Jim Tierney(Artist)
Much more engaging use of text on the page. 2 points.

The Traitor, Baru Cormorant – Seth Dickinson : Artist/Designer – Sam Weber(Artist)
Same artist as Grace of Kings and the same artwork trick. A single strong image against a dark background leaving plenty of room for text. 4 points.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street – Natasha Pulley : Artist/Designer – David Mann(tbc)
Lots of detail but cleverly manages to highlight the title. The author name is a bit less obvious. 4 points.

Updraft – Fran Wilde : Artist/Designer – Stephan Martiniere(Artist)
It’s pretty good but I actually don’t like the lettering of the title. It looks heavy and physical but not really in keeping with the artwork. Nice idea but I don’t think it quite worked. 2 points.

Updraft – Fran Wilde : Artist/Designer – Tommy Arnold(Artist)
The slightly transparent lettering  is still clear enough to stand out but it has an airy feel. Text has left plenty of space for the wonderful image but also compliments it. 4 points.

Uprooted – Naomi Novik : Artist/Designer – Scott McKowen(Artist)
Less conventional lettering but still readable and clear. All the parts work together giving a feel of a page from a picture book or illustrated manuscript. 4 points.

Uprooted – Naomi Novik : Artist/Designer –
More plain but still very nicely done to create a unified effect. 3 points.

War Factory – Neal Asher : Artist/Designer – Larry Rostant(Artist)
ASHER!!!!!! 2 points.

Way Down Dark – J.P. Smythe : Artist/Designer – Nameless Hero(tbc)
Brilliant. The only thing I don’t like is the little person in the corner. I suspect they felt the effect of feeling you at the base of towers wasn’t quite there without something to ground it. Still, the vertigo effect from this cover works even at thumbnail size. 6 points.

Karen Memory – Elizabeth Bear : Artist/Designer – Cynthia Sheppard(Artist)
Strong title that fits with the artwork. 2 points.

Rolling in the Deep – Mira Grant : Artist/Designer – Julie Dillon(Artist)
Good use of colour in the text that fits with the watery theme while still standing out from the artwork. 3 points.

The Deep Woods – Tim Pratt : Artist/Designer – Galen Dara(Artist)
Nice art but the text is just sitting there. o points.

Voices in the Night: Stories – Steven Millhauser : Artist/Designer – Janet Hansen (Designers)
6 points. Damn that’s clever.


6 responses to “Book Cover Award Thing 2016: Round 3.2”

  1. The US cover of the Jim Butcher novel uses a serif font rather than the blocky sans serif font Orbit uses for all Jim Butcher covers. I find the serif font more fitting and less dominant, though it also has an odd turquoise colour that doesn’t fit in with anything else on the cover.

    Though Jim Butcher’s novel are a rare case where I prefer the US covers, going back to the original Orbit covers for the Dresden Files series (which looked just like battered manila files), before the started using the same Chris McGrath paintings the US uses.


  2. The Butcher cover says to me that the only important info is JIM BUTCHER – and given that he’s a big name starting a new series there might be a good reason for that – but it totally wrecks the art which I otherwise quite like. Contrast with the second Updraft where despite the title going over quite a lot of the art it’s done in a much less obtrusive way – I think there’s some mild translucency in the lettering, which is less brash and a less bold font, etc.


    • I think the Butcher book is a marketing conundrum for the publisher – pull in the huge Butcher fanbase or reach out to newer readers? They went with the first with that cover but I think a different edition with a less Butcherish cover might be cleverer (maybe just for an ebook verison)- particularly as this is a completely new series


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