Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BILB – Part Two

In my last post, I wrote about BILBs (Because It Looks Bad) commonly found in websites. It occurred to me that some of them were painfully obvious (what professional uses tiled graphics in the background of his/her website these days? Well, some of those who use Twitter).

Bad design in print, however, is more ubiquitous – you see it in free newspapers, advertising postcards, low-class magazines, and even the Yellow Pages. The designer in me cringes at rows of glossy tires and poorly kerned prices. But the consumer in me will go, go, go if I need the service and the price is right. I hate to have to say it, but sometimes good design does not matter in the big picture.

The issue gets grayer and grayer as the prestige of the job goes up. When I was in Borders today, I pondered all of the different book covers:

All those fonts. All those pictures and/or drawings. All those colors.
What makes a good book cover? What is it that makes the publisher (I’ve heard authors have little input) say, “Yes, this is the look for this book?”

One of my graphic specialties is book cover design. I know in my heart that I can design a new cover for nearly every book in any bookstore. But can I design one that will earn a publisher’s “yes”? What is BILB for book covers?

I have a sampler of book covers at my design portfolio site. I did my best to avoid BILB in these covers. The question is, are they BILG enough for the marketplace?

As a professional book cover designer (among other things), I have to believe that is so. Perhaps a client may say “no” or want to make changes. The belief that I can, though, must and will not change.

This will be my summer of sisu. If you don't know what that is, ask any Finn. Or read this.


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