Despite the recurring admonition to refrain from judging a book by its cover, I routinely do just that. When it comes to books, movies, TV shows, musical works, etc., the artwork is an important element for me. Obviously the contents are of greater importance than the artistic veneer; yet, I think sometimes the art is passed over all too quickly. Again, the treasure of a good book or musical work is in its innards–not exterior components– and I would never pass up a good book or album just because I don’t like the cover. If that were the case, then many a great title on my shelves would be elsewhere right now!
The cover art is in many ways the first impression you have of a work (not always, obviously)–it can say a lot or a little, can draw you in or turn you away.
Musically, there are simply too many examples I could point to, but this is one of my favorites in recent years: Strongarm’s Atonement. Not only was this one of my favorite albums musically when it came out, but the artwork has always struck me. It’s incredibly simple, but the message is clear, especially if you read the lyrics. And it’s not just the message the image communicates that has endeared it to me, but the particular style of art it is–it looks like a painting. Many of my favorite album covers are similar to this one.
For books, one of my favorite covers belongs to a volume edited by Richard Horsley, several sections of which I read last year: In the Shadow of Empire: Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance.
Here I not only love the helmet, but again the simplicity, the connection the art makes with the title.
I’ll also mention another recent book cover I love for pretty much the same reasons–it’s Mark Reasoner’s Roman Imperial Texts: A Sourcebook.
The cover of this book is superb–the black background provides excellent contrast for the for the statue and the font is perfectly suited both in style and color. This jacketing is also my favorite–that soft, almost velvety feel (perhaps someone could tell me what that technical name is for this kind of paper?).
So, these are just a few examples of covers that have caught my eye. What about you–what are some of your favorites?
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