Book Cover Thing 2017: An Aside on Diagonals

Previously: Start, Longer list, Culling, Artwork

One aesthetic trick I think works really works nicely with book covers is the use of the diagonal implied by the oblong character of a book cover.

authordiagonalI’ve made this one into an extreme example but the elements need not create two regions quite as starkly or as abstractly as this one.

It seems to do a lot of things:

  • create a sense of movement
  • organises features of the cover into more areas
  • allows for different colour contrasts without being too busy
  • introduces shapes other than rectangular blocks

I mention it because I noticed most of the covers in this years list are a lot more centrally aligned – either creating a simple vertical line or implying one by using partial symmetry along the cover’s central vertical line.

An example that is both extreme and very subtle (and why I used purple in the abstract example) are the great cover designs for Heather Rose Jones’s Alpennia books.


That silk curtain/drape does a lot of work – suggesting secrets in line with the alchemy elements of the books, romance elements, aristocracy but also as a graphic design element.

Some interesting diagonals in the cover list I’ve got this year:

Borderline Artist/Designer: an unsung hero| by Mishell Baker, Saga ISFDB or Amazon Entry

Central Station Artist/Designer: Sarah Anne Langton | by Lavie Tidhar, Tachyon Publishing ISFDB or Amazon Entry

Final Girls Artist/Designer: Julie Dillon| by Mira Grant, Subterranean Press ISFDB or Amazon Entry

This next one uses a variety of different oblique lines rather than the main diagonal of the cover rectangle.

Firebrand Artist/Designer: Michael Heath| by A.J.Hartley, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry

These last two are just a bit off from vertical but still make some use of the effect:

The Drowning Eyes Artist/Designer: Cynthia Sheppard| by Emily Foster, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry

Too Like the Lightning Artist/Designer: Victor Mosquera | by Ada Palmer, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry


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