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Ellen Blum Barish

Ellen Blum Barish

So, can one really judge a book by its cover?

I’ve been asking myself this question for weeks now, as my publisher and I have reviewed multiple versions of the cover of my forthcoming memoir. I have come to the conclusion that it may be the single hardest working page of a book.

Consider its task. How to capture the feel, mood and essence of a book – in a quick glance – by way of image and type? Do you go literal? Play with metaphor? Place the focus on type or make the image the star? Where do you place the type? And how much? Do you go with sans serif? Serif? Bold? Italic?

There are so many options. And no one right answer.

I learned this when I ran variations by many people whose taste I trusted. Every consult added a layer of insight but no two people agreed on one version. Every single person saw something different which speaks to our individual DNA; the wiring that provides us with our preferences.

A book cover is, ultimately, a piece of art. And art is subjective. As it should be. We all come to it with our own histories and lens.

So yes, I think one can judge a book by its cover. That judgment may move someone to know more. Or not. It may encourage a person to buy it. Or not. It may do a good job of reflecting what’s inside. Or not.

All of these are judgments which are subjective and natural responses to what we call art.

As it should be.

Elated to share the cover of my memoir, which is scheduled for launch on May 6 at Bookends & Beginnings Bookstore.

Stay tuned for details.

 

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