An Analysis of Cover Art by an Ooligan Novice

This is my first term at Ooligan Press, and like the others in the program I love books. I love to read them, and I love to analyze them inside and out. I chose to look at all the Ooligan covers—past, present, and in development. The two that caught my attention the most were The Survival League and Forgive Me if I’ve Told You this Before. One cover I think is amazing, and the other one I think needs some improvements.

The Survival League, by Gordon Nuhanović is an older Ooligan Press book, and the cover shows that. At first glance it’s an intriguing cover, but after looking at it for awhile I noticed there were some flaws. The typography used for the title and author name of the book do not match the seriousness of the story. The author name is a typewriter style font that is laid out in a whimsical manner, which is okay for a children’s book but not an adult novel. The typography of the title of the book uses a similar typewriter font. The typewriter font, in my opinion, is a nod to the time period of the story, in which case it was a good effort. The overall tones of the cover are dark, and from far away the details of the cover are indistinguishable. Up close, the contrast of the colors is more apparent, but not enough.

If I were to redesign this cover, I would take what this cover is trying to do and twist it. The background image would stay black and white, but I would have the main image be of ruined Croatia after the war. The cross would still be there, but instead in the red, white, and blue of the Croatian flag. The title would be a sans-serif font, maybe Lucida Sans. The author name would be in a serif font, like Baskerville.

Forgive Me if I’ve Told You This Before by Karelia Stetz-Waters is a newer Ooligan Press book, and I adore the cover. The prospective reader gets most of what the book is about by the cover, which is what I think the cover’s job is. The cover screams YA lit, which is a good thing because YA lit is very popular and that’s the genre of this book. The warm colors invite the reader in to relax. The font is different and interesting, which reflects the personality of the main character. The background image is of a rural area, which is where the book takes place. There is also a girl on the cover, which makes sense because the story is about a girl. The girl is hidden behind the title, and that is also reminiscent of the character because she doesn’t have that many friends and gets made fun of.

I think what ultimately sells a book is the cover art. If the cover of a book is poorly designed, then readers will not give that book a chance, even if it is the next great American novel. Everyone always says don’t judge a book by its cover, but honestly readers do judge a book by its cover.

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