Cover Design: Jo Hunt

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There’s that old saying, ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’. But you know what? We all do – yes even teacher librarians like myself. Unless we are hunting down a specific title, it is often the cover of a book which will first attract our attention. Young children, especially pre-readers, choose books almost entirely on the cover and their attraction and emotional response to it and publishers and graphic designers take great care in creating an appealing cover.

In an age of visuals, cover design matters. There is little excuse these days for poor cover design. Graphic design can be expensive, but I firmly believe that it is a worthy investment. If you have invested time in writing a book, then time and consideration needs to be given to ensuring the cover is an accurate reflection of the quality and content of the story contained within. I am utterly fascinated by the story behind certain book covers and the choices that have been made and I also enjoy seeing foreign editions of books and the different covers that are created for different audiences. As an author, one really has little input into the cover design as the publisher and graphic designer are the experts in the area; authors create the story, graphic designers capture that story in a piece of cover art, publishers ensure that cover art fits nicely with what is trending and their overall list. I was incredibly fortunate with ‘Raising Readers’ that Kristina Schulz and the team at UQP did allow me to have some input and as Jo Hunt has said below, I do have some rather strong opinions on cover design! Ha!

I admit that I was nervous about the cover of my book…what if I hated it! As soon as I knew Jo Hunt was the designer on the job my anxiety levels decreased considerably as I always check the imprint page of each new book I read to see who did the cover and in many cases Jo Hunt has designed some of my favourites. I am yet to meet Jo, but she has kindly shared her insights below on creating the cover of ‘Raising Readers’

Cover Brief

Megan had some strong thoughts about the cover design, and sent some covers she loved. Fortunately for me, a couple of them I had previously designed for UQP, these were Steven Herrick covers, ‘Love Ghosts & Nose Hair’ and ‘A Place Like This’.

Megan suggested a modern. clean, minimal approach with great typography. Sophisticated in style and strong use of colour and shape. She prefers primary colours and HATES pastels.  One of the main concerns was that the book didn’t look too academic, similar to a teacher’s resource, it had to appeal to both librarians and parents.  Overall, a strong type-driven cover, perhaps with a clever little illustration/photo/motif to pull it together.

When reading the manuscript I imagined a little girl on an armchair, with her legs over the arm, reading a book. This is often how my son reads his books.  I first visualised this by finding some references on the internet and then doing some little sketches. I wanted to keep it graphic and have a stong sense of shape. Stripey stockings also came to mind, which I think ties in nicely with Megan’s sense of style:)

Cover Option for ‘Raising Readers’. This is NOT the final cover.

I chose three bright colours which I think worked well together and avoided pastels! I did another colour option for the same cover with playful colours in the title and a cream background. I chose a serif font for the title, this to me says ‘literature’ and ‘reading’ but I also complimented it with Megan’s name which was in a modern looking sans serif font.

When I submitted the covers, along with some other photographic and illustrative options, the feedback was to also include a boy somehow. I added a brother, initially on the same armchair but this looked too cramped so I placed him at the foot of the chair on the stripey rug. When finalising the cover I positioned the boy on the spine and the back cover, just a little pop of colour.

Stripey inside covers were Megan’s suggestion, try looking at them without going cross-eyed:)

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  1. Carissa on Apr 20, 2019 at 9:47 am

    How interesting! I actually saw the cover illustration as a mother reading on the chair with the child copying her. Great message either way. ?

  2. Lisa Kerr on Apr 28, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    I thought the two children were to represent Megan having two girls. I love the cover. So quirky and unique. Definitely makes you stop and pay attention.

    • Megan Daley on Apr 30, 2019 at 9:10 pm

      Oh I’ve never thought of it like that but now I see it!

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