Digital Media Design


Graphic Design – Type & Language – Production of Media Artefact: Book Cover

Graphics Design

Subject: Graphic Design
Unit: Type and Language
Tutor: Philip Shakeshaft

Assignment: Production of Media Artefact – Book Cover Design, DVD Cover or CD Cover

Final Design of my Book cover

Typography - Book Cover Design

Typography - Book Cover Design

An examination of the Typefaces used in this book cover.

The title typeface ‘Steam’ is a  purpose designed font for the Books’ cover and was designed to represent the steam and smoke coming from the chimney of the Steam Engine pictured on the front cover.

The font was originally based on the Serif (slab serif font?) font Rockwell Extra Bold which was then modified and now appears more Sans Serif rather than Serif with all the cloud type flourishes.

In denotation terms the title literally says steam which of course is expected to come from a steam engine and this is the main title of the book about steam, steam engines and in general the world of steam and the people in this world of steam.

In connotation terms the typeface also suggests that this could be a fun book, maybe a humorous look at the age of steam. The reader could expect to see stories from characters from the world of steam recounting their funniest memories of Steam and individuals in the world of steam. The cartoon shape of the characters could also indicate that this theme will be repeated inside the book and most probably complemented with drawings and pictures in a cartoon like style.

The colour of the text is white against a blue background that is light clouds against a blue sky which infers a sunny day again in connotation terms a happy fun book, also possibly indicating a light and enjoyable read.

The sub title text ‘The New Best Seller By Ian Hunt’ uses the Sans Serif font Times New Roman, all in caps but with the first letter of each word larger than the rest to emphasise each word.

In detonation terms it says that the book is both new and it’s also a best seller by the author Ian Hunt.

In connotation terms the use of Time New Roman the preserve of the broadsheets indicates that this book is a quality product targeting the more serious and educated reader.

From the back cover the title ‘100 years of Steam’.

In denotation terms it means that the book covers literally 100 years of steam.

Looking at the connation of this text firstly it’s a San Serif font which is in embossed gold and appears raised from the books cover this could indicate a degree of authority, suggesting this book has been written by an expert in their field. This could also be seen as a testament to the quality of the book. The colour gold also gives that feel that this is a quality product.

A mixture of typefaces is used for the recommendations for  the book; the quotes themselves use a serif type font (Academy Engraved LET) with the names of the newspapers from where the quotes came from using another san serif font but this time a bold Times New Roman font.

In denotation terms they are the names of the newspapers with the quotes taken directly from them.

In connotation terms though the bold font used for the names of the newspapers indicates the gravity of the paper and gives it an authoritative feel, an expert’s opinion of the content of this book. Again because of the source of these quotes this could also be seen to indicate the type and demographic of the readership, that is middle class C2 to B possibly. Age wise it most probably also indicates that the older reader would be more interested in this book and has in fact has been targeted by the publishers.

The introduction to the book uses the Sans Serif font Times New Roman. The first word STEAM is capitalised to emphasize the books overall subject and to indicate it is in fact looking at the general term Steam rather than just a specific part of the Steam World e.g. just Steam Engines or just Traction Engines.

In denotation terms the introduction says that it is a History of Steam Engines and Traction Engines over 100 years between the years 1890 to 1990.

Looking at the connotation again the use of the Time New Roman font as used by authoritative publications including the broadsheets ‘The Times’ and the ‘Observer’ indicates that this book should be viewed in the same terms an authoritative look at the history of Steam by an expert in their field.

The colour black is used, a neutral colour, but it is also associated with serious and authoritative publications.


Graphic Design Book Cover Typography

Graphic Design Book Cover Typography


Book Cover Research – Graphic Design Book Cover Typography

Slide 2 – Harry Potter Children Book Cover Design

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire Childrens Book Cover

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire Children's Book Cover

A stylised childlike typeface is used for the Harry Potter title, similar to a Times New Roman font.

The title is written in Red a Primary colour, used to help both identify and emphasise that this book is in the Harry Potter series. I’m not sure if Red on Green works visually.

The P in Potter has a representation of the scar on Harry Potter’s forehead a significant feature of the stories, which the reader will identify with.

The actual title of the book ‘And the Goblet of Fire’ uses similar typeface but all caps, which helps it stand out from the series title. The change in background colour assists with this suggesting the designer may have had second thoughts about Red on Green.

The target audience here is primarily children but the typeface is quite sophisticated, suggesting it could also be attractive to an adult reader.

The Authors name is printed in another and this time indented typeface, which suggests carved in stone, stamped in steel, solidity.


Slide 3 – Harry Potter Adult Book Cover Design

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire Adult Book Cover

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire Adult Book Cover

The same book as the previous slide but this time aimed squarely at an adult readership.

The typeface is less stylised more like a broadsheet newspaper e.g. ‘The Times’

A serif font Times New Roman font is used which targets a more sophisticated reader yet this is still a children’s book suggesting that they have identified that a proportion of their readership is Adult and rated C1 to B possible A.

The colours used are Black and White with Gold for the books Title which suggest quality.

Slide 4 – Terry Pratchett, Thud – American

Terry Pratchett - Thud Book Cover American Edition

Terry Pratchett - Thud Book Cover American Edition

This book cover was produced for the non European market (American).

Typeface similar to Arial (Sans Serif) but with some flourishes but overall seems to infer a target readership which is more used to reading comics, tabloid newspapers rather than broadsheets.

This is especially apparent in the typeface used for THUD all caps and large font.

This typeface also suggests the book is for children, which it is not. Teenagers, Young Adults and Adults tend to read this book.

The overall suggestion here is a less sophisticated readership.

Slide 5 – Terry Pratchett, Thud – European

Terry Pratchett - Thud Book Cover UK Edition

Terry Pratchett - Thud Book Cover UK Edition

UK/European version used for the cover of the same book as the previous slide. Although this time with a very obvious bias towards a more sophisticated readership.

The main title is in a stylised form of Times New Roman suggesting a previous era e.g Medieval, oldie worldly

The books title itself ‘THUD’ remains true to a Times New Roman font the choice of the broadsheets which also infers a similar sophisticated audience will read this book.

Slide 6 – Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange Book Cover

A Clockwork Orange Book Cover

The cover of this book sends out completely the wrong message here.

The typeface is a simple form of Arial font (Sans – Serif) combined with the choice of colour leads you to think it’s a children’s book, comic about the circus etc.

Anyone who knows the book or the film directed by Stanley Kubrick, its violent and inappropriate subject matter would exempt a child from reading it.

There is in fact no guide here to who the book is intended for.

Slide 7 – A Journey to Paradise

A Journey Into Paradise Book Cover

A Journey Into Paradise Book Cover

Overall the choice of title typeface seems to be all wrong, it’s understated similar to Arial or Tahoma and the font size is too small.

The chosen font colour also seems to be wrong this cover seems to need a large title in a primary colour e.g Red

Due to what seems to be the wrong message being sent out by the title the publishers have added a lot of small explanation text below the picture to get the message across.

However if we assume instead that this book was targeting a more sophisticated readership then a understated title and typeface would make sense, think reference book.

Slide 8 – School for Husbands

The School for Husbands Book Cover

The School for Husbands Book Cover

The typeface suggests the 1950’s to me and France

It also looks similar to the opening titles of Bewitched

The text says school and that combined with the font choices, the height variations and mismatched characters say primary school to me (St Trinians).

As to target readership I’d say across the board but possibly aimed more at the mid 20’s, mid 30’ age group.

Also aimed at the more sophisticated reader

Slide 9 – Red Comet

Red Comet Comic Cover

Red Comet Comic Cover

This is a typical dramatic typeface for comics of the 1950’, 1960’s eras.

It’s in 3D, Red and Blue primary colours, the arch shape suggesting space flight and a comet’s tail.

Think sensationalism a dramatic headline ‘The World Ends Monday’ etc.

The text boxes at the bottom of the cover uses a typeface typical of comics of 1950’s which are still in use today and are firmly associated with this form of media.

Slide 10 – The Secret Lives of Great Artists

The Secret Lives of Great Artists Magazine Cover

The Secret Lives of Great Artists Magazine Cover

This is all about connotation

The typeface and fonts used here are pure Tabloid, sensationalism, this will be an exposé of the lives of Great Artists.

They were chosen for this purpose to lead the reader into thinking the subject of the title would be covered in this way and to make it seem more current than it is, when in fact this is really a historical look at their lives.

The chosen colours match those of newspapers and magazines of today, think Private Eye, The Mirror.

Slide 11 – Inside Linda Lovelace

Inside Linda Lovelace Book Cover

Inside Linda Lovelace Book Cover

This is not a great book cover.

The typeface would seem to be more appropriate for a book on computers and was probably used because it was in vogue at the time 1970’s.

I seem to remember this typeface, font design used on science fiction Film and TV programme titles of the 1970’s.

The text at the bottom appears to be positioned to provide a form of censorship but as it is curved it appears to have the opposite effect by following the suggestion of the curve of a breast.

This text also provides an Anchorage ‘Deep Throat’ and the image open mouth.

Graphic Design Book Cover Typography

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