|My latest: Book of Lies, |
published by Orchard Books 24 March!
I'm taking a break from blogging about writing this time, and moving on to something that can strike hope, fear, joy and despair into the heart of all authors... sometimes at the same time. Yes, you guessed it: book covers.
Covers are so critical to the success of a book. The most amazing book with the wrong cover will struggle; the most average book with the most amazing cover will do well. Them's the facts.
When I first saw the cover for Book of Lies, I was still writing the story. It was love at first sight for me: an amazing cover! Actually possibly the most amazing cover in the history of covers! Though instead of thinking, ok, average insides will do the job, it somehow turned the pressure up a notch to get the story just right.
Considering how important they are, there is very little out there about the shadowy figures behind cover design.
So introducing Thy Bui, YA and middle-grade Art Director for Orion and Orchard:
Thy started her design career at Warner Music UK. The three years on sleeve design gave her a unique insight into the visual world of teens and young adults; the move from music to books was an obvious transition. She joined Orchard Books as senior fiction designer at an exciting time – Orchard were building their middle-grade, teen and YA lists, having acquired incredible talent like Ally Carter, Teri Terry and Jonathan Meres .
At the beginning of 2015 Thy began her role as Art Director for middle-grade to YA fiction, working across the Orion and Orchard list. It was an unique opportunity to work on two distinctly different imprints, and to work with amazing debut and prizewinning talent including Annabel Pitcher, Dawn Kurtagich and Leo Hunt.
I decided to do this blog recently when a reader, Carina, asked me about how you become a cover designer. I emailed Thy, and her reply was so generous and detailed that I asked her if I could blog it. Here it is:
Thy on becoming a cover designer:
I went to university in Australia and did a Design degree focusing on Visual Communication – graphic design, illustration and typography. The following are known for being good for those graphic design (2 dimensional design as opposed to product and industrial design) focused:
- London College of Communication
- Central St Martins
- Kingston University
- University of Brighton
- Cambridge School of Art
My advice is to completely immerse yourself in book design and design in popular culture – music, fashion, games, film, food, interiors/furniture…everything – as design, and good examples of design and inspiration, crosses all arenas.
And also to bear in mind the importance of type. Keep an eye out for good use of type, and if the degree chosen offers a typography elective, take it.
Design talks and events are also great, I've yet to go to a GLUG event, but they are meant to be inspirational and good for networking. There's also OFFSET in Dublin.
Below are a handful of book cover related sites to check out. There is so much out there, independent designers, design agencies, illustrators etc…so this is just a starting point:
And also follow publishers' instagram/pinterest boards. A lot of them are set-up by the designers and they're a little more inspirational than the actual websites which are set-up by the corporate bods as a business tool rather than celebrating the design side of publishing.
And finally, let her/him know to expect to work VERY hard, you need a good portfolio to get into a Design degree. Design is challenging work and not just about making something look pretty. Fantastic design is almost always about a creative concept/approach, followed by great execution.
...and a final word from the author who shamelessly put all her Thy-designed-covers down the side of the blog:
I know how lucky I've been to have Thy as my cover designer for all my covers, from Slated to Book of Lies. I wrote this in the acknowledgements at the back of Book of Lies:
...thanks to Thy Bui, the very amazing cover designer who has done all my Orchard Books covers. I kept looking at the cover for Book of Lies while I was editing it, and thinking, I have to make this good enough to live up to this cover.
Very true. All I can say is that I hope the insides have lived up to the outsides.
And now for a giveaway with a difference! A copy of Book of Lies, signed by both designer (Thy) and Author, me (Teri):
To enter, please leave a comment to this blog - say hello or ask a question, and then tell us what is your favourite ever book cover and why.
A winner will be chosen at random at noon on 28th March (UK time), using a random number generator.
Note added 28 March: this giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Sabrina!
Here is Thy holding up two of her creations at my launch event at Waterstones Islington on Saturday.
Thanks, Thy! For being there - both then and now.
|Thanks to Candy Gourlay for the photo|
AND here is most of the Notes from the Slushpile Team at the same party:
|From left: Kathryn, Candy, Jo, Teri (me!), and Addy. Missing are Nick and Maureen.|
I'd say photo by Candy, as it is in her photos, yet - strangely - she is in the photo...