When people talk about books, they often talk about the contents of those books — the plot, the characters, the themes and motifs. And rightly so! But oftentimes, I don’t hear people talk about the aesthetic aspect of books — the cover design, the page layout, the excellent (or not so excellent) choice in fonts — and I find that rather disappointing. How a book is packaged and designed is just as much a part of the book as its content! Plus, I like it when people take notice of good design.
Which brings me to introduce with much pleasure a new column, A Book By Its Cover! Every Friday, I’ll feature a book edition which cover design I find interesting or just plain pretty.
Today, I’m kicking off this column with John le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Cover illustration by Matthew Taylor. Cover design by Buckley and Kulick.
Isn’t the cover so deliciously eerie? Love that the man’s glasses pops out against his darkened body and the subdued crowd, creating in the reader an immediate sense of panic and suspicion not too much different from that felt by Smiley and his men as they hunt for a Soviet mole. Also, love the blocky text arrangement. I noticed that the author and title are indented into the cover, giving it a sort of letterpress feel. I like the added texture!
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Readers — What do you think? Does a book’s cover matter? What are some of your favorite book covers?