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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Challenger Park, hardcover and paperback

Designer name to come

A while back, I wrote about some of John Gall's designs and to an interview with him in Step Inside Design. One of the things he talks about is the difference in designing for hardcover and trade paperback:

"There is definitely more freedom in hardcover design. Hardcover sales are generally review driven, so the cover doesn’t have to come on as strong and, I think, less people buy them on impulse because of their price. They’ll read a review and look for the book. The paperback does not have the fortune of being timed to the review attention, so the cover—we’re talking front list here—has to say something like “Remember me? You were waiting for me to come out in paperback? Remember? I’m the one the New York Times really liked, you know, the one about the guy with narcolepsy who likes the girl in the plaid skirt. …”

The latter part of the above quote makes what's below that much more perplexing. The hardcover hits the astronaut aspect hard, which is right on w/ respect to the book:

Gall doesn't talk about what might be going on with paperback designs that take a different, almost unrecognizable approach (although disappointing sales is my first guess):

Would you think this is the same book? I certainly wouldn't.

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Anonymous said...

I would have never associated the two and feel they are both weak. Typographically they are interesting, but otherwise they seem like litteral explorations. On about the challenger incident and the other about an actual park. I think in the end a good book cover has to be a logical and pleasign balance of the subject matter and the metaphore needed to convey both the mood of the book and the layered nature of writing. It's a fine balance. You go in one direction or the other too far and you have yourself one of these type of covers. The upside? These two covers are not ugly. That is the other part of the bood cover design formula: At least make it nice to look at—even if it is lost on all other levels.

Anonymous said...

I recently heard Gabrielle Wilson talk about this cover development (the hardcover) at length. It was interesting to see the many concepts (eight or more, none similar) that were tried and thrown out, many of which I preferred to the end result. It seems there might have been 'too many cooks in the kitchen' on this one.

Knowing the back story on the hardcover, much of which involved keeping the image realistic as well as integrating the family with the space concept, I don't understand the paperback at all.

Tania McCartney said...

Are they really the same book? Not having read any book blurb, what the hell is this book about? I'm off to amazon to take a look...