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Bookmarked Blog
We have all heard people say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but we have seen some truly gorgeous books hit our shelves this year that just scream ‘read me, I’m beautiful!’ With that in mind, we have rounded up some of our favourite covers from a year that for other reasons may not have been our favourite. We asked our book buyers, staff and also the Senior Book Designer at HarperCollins ANZ, Hazel Lam about the books that commanded their attention from the shelf.
 


Hazel Lam has been in the publishing industry since 2013 and has covered almost all genres and categories you could name. We asked her a few questions on book design to get some insight from someone who creates the very first impression we ever get from a book.
 

What makes a great book cover?

I think it is so difficult to define what makes a great cover, but a great cover to me is something you see in-store that immediately grabs your attention, and you just can't walk away from. It should be enticing and intriguing, convey the feel and contents of the book but leaves enough room for the reader's imagination to go wild. I think design solutions for great covers are unexpected but also have a sense of familiarity to the audience. 

Phosphorescence by Julia Baird
 

What do you consider when designing a cover?

It is different for every book but generally, the contents of the book and what is the best visual representation of it. The audience, who would read the book and what would appeal to their aesthetic and the author, usually an author has spent years writing their book so I think it's important to design a cover they would love and be proud to share with the world.


 

What are your favourite covers of 2020?

I find that I do my best designs when it is a book I enjoyed reading or a subject I love. This year Phosphorescence was a favourite of mine. I adored Julia Baird’s book and really wanted to do it justice with a beautiful, covetable and intriguing cover that people would want to gift to their loved ones as it is one to be shared. Another is Boy on Fire by Mark Mordue. I was super excited to work on that one as I am a huge Nick Cave fan. I found the illustration by Angie Rehe online and thought it was incredibly striking and quintessentially Nick Cave and paired it with an elegant font to make it feel like a special and important bio, which it most definitely is.

Boy On Fire cover design

Boy On Fire cover design by Hazel Lam. Photo from @harpercollinsdesignstudio

 

Some of our favourite covers here at Dymocks came across the desk of our National Fiction Buyer, Kate Mayor. Somehow, out of all the gorgeous covers from the year, she managed to break them down some into categories and why they appealed to her. 
 

JAPANESE NOVELS


People from My Neighbourhood Earthlings

“I can’t get enough of the quirky designs jumping off the covers of Japanese novels of late. The pink-framed micro-suburb on People from My Neighbourhood by Hiromi Kawakami and the adorable porcupine creature on Earthlings by Sayaka Murata really catch your attention and set them apart from other fiction."
 

PATTERNED COVERS


   

"I also really like pattern-based designs that we are seeing more of lately, and two of my favourites from this year were Weather by Jenny Offill and Uncanny Valley by Anna Weiner, not to mention the gorgeous Aussie cover of Trent Dalton’s All Our Shimmering Skies!"

"And my favourite series covers from recent years are Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet, which released its finale this year with Summer.”

 

Ali Smith's Seasonal Quartet

Photo from Penguin Books UK

 

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