A Defense of Traditional Publishing (Part Four) | The Steve Laube Agency
Napoleon Bonaparte, is supposed to have said, “Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu’un long discours,” translated “A good sketch is better than a long speech.” That has morphed into the modern phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words,” which is a fundamental truth when talking of book design.
Another cliché states, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but we do it all the time. We are a visual people and our eyes are drawn to images that capture our imagination. In my opinion, the title and the cover vie for preeminence as the most important part of the presentation of a book to a potential reader.
I wish every author could attend a cover discussion meeting at a major publishing house. In that meeting the art director displays all the cover samples created by a designer in a room full of people (editorial, sales, marketing, and management) and opens it up for discussion. There can be as many as twelve very different designs from which to choose. Often one cover immediately jumps to the front. But there are occasions where the typeface is good on one jacket but the colors are better on another. The art director takes copious notes and has the designer work through it again.