I thought it would be interesting to look at book covers for one of my reviews as the way a book looks is extremely important. The cover has to portray instantly what the story is about, the genre or tone of the book and be eye-catching to encourage a reader to pick it up and buy it. I haven’t tried to design one myself yet, but it is a challenge I look forward to.
One series of novels that I have always been drawn to by the covers is the Isabel Dalhouse series. The novels are written by Alexander McCall Smith and the Cover Illustration and Design are by Adam McCauley.
McCauley has designed really effective book covers for this series, as they work really well as individual books but also as
a series. He uses a similar layout for all the book covers; the titles are spaced over 3 individually coloured lines and the illustrations use only black, white and one other strong colour. Each covers illustrations are quite simple and stencil- like. McCauley makes good use of negative shapes and block colours. This can clearly been seen in the skyline along the top of ‘The Comfort of Saturdays’.
I think the covers may have been layered up digitally but McCauley may have also used screenprinting to achieve the covers, or a combination of both. The stencil like illustrations are placed carefully on the covers to create strong compositions that make the most of the simple shapes.
McCauley uses bright and bold colours which are very eye- catching. He uses only black and white for the illustrations and varies the third colour, which makes the background. The colours are very flat but McCauley adds depth through perspective and ‘cut- outs’ through to the colour behind, as seen in many of the buildings.
The typography is very fun and the scratchy quality of the letters give a nice contrast to the clean cut lines and shapes of the illustrations. The spines feature a single illustration form the front cover which are very attractive when lined up on a shelf. The back covers also have either an illustration from the front on them which creates a nice continuity throughout the book cover.
I think these book covers by Adam McCauley are very successful. I admire his use of block colours from his limited palette and stylised illustrations which work really well for an adults novel. They are very appealing covers, and my favourite thing about them is how well they work together as a series.