Covers I like and dislike

I completely disagree with ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. That book cover was created to make you want to read that book. If that cover puts you off reading the book then it’s doing a bad job.

I agree that just because the cover is good or bad, doesn’t mean the story will be the same but with the amount of books in the world, I pick books up at the library if I think they look interesting. Pretty covers make me more likely to read the book, ugly covers make me less likely to read it.

I compiled two lists of covers that I like and don’t so I can compare the features that I think make good and bad covers.

10 covers I love


Book: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Read Status: To be read
Why I like it: The colour scheme works beautifully. The mix of blues and golds is really nice and represents the desert really well with the gold being the sand and the blue being the sky. The swirling pattern around the edge really draws you in to the title and author’s name. The night sky over the city and person riding the horse is such a typical image when showing the desert but with the rest of the imagery on the cover I think it works beautifully. I love both types used. The words ‘rebel’ and ‘sand’ vary in point size, beautifully encircling ‘of the’. The gold colouring ties in beautifully to the pattern around the edge too. The type for the author’s name is a beautiful slightly serif font that stands out from the rest of the cover. I think this works wonderfully as it shows the author is not part of this world and is obviously apart from it. I think the use of full caps for both works well too because of how eye-catching it is.


Book: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Read Status: Read
Why I like it: I picked up this book on a whim because I thought the cover was really nice. The man and woman passing each other in the night works so perfectly with the story, especially how they’re both surrounded by birds and stars. The slight hints of red on the cover are placed so perfectly. The girl’s scarf connecting the two figures is another nod to the plot of the book which I love. The title type reminds me of the type they would use on a poster for a circus which is why I think it fits so well. Everything about this cover is alluring and intriguing and fits perfectly with the amazing story inside.


Book: Perfume: The story of a murderer
Author: Patrick Suskind
Read Status: Read
Why I like it: The swirling intricacy of the cover illustration is a huge contributing factor as to why I love this cover. Every element of it relates to a plot point or theme in the book. The roses are all to do with how sweet they smell and capturing scent. The fact that they’re white is to do with the innocence of the girls’ Grenouille kills. The fruit is for the girl who drives Grenouille to find how to capture human scent. The skull is to do with the deaths and it being masked by the flower shows how Grenouille holds their scent over their life in terms of importance. The scissors are representative of the girls’ hair being cut. The ribbon could have several connotations. It could relate to blood or life because it is red and flowing and about to be cut by the scissors. It could also be a comment on how perfume is always dressed up and wrapped in a bow and in a pretty bottle. This cover is one of the best I have seen at showing what is in the book whilst not giving away the plot to first time readers.


Book: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Read Status: To be read
Why I like it: The red is a really nice bold tone which grabs your attention right away. The shape of the cutouts in the red are reminiscent of the shape of windows in a stereotypical palace of a Caliph. The girl seen through these holes gives you a idea of the main character without showing you her fully, allowing the reader to create their own picture of her in their head whilst still showing the importance of the character on the cover. The depth of field in this cover is what I really love about it, It makes me think there’s more to this book, its story, its characters, than meets the eye and really makes me want to read it.

Book: A series of unfortunate events
Author: Lemony Snicket
Read Status: Read multiple times
Why I like it: Brett Helquist’s illustrations are one of the things that will always remind me of my childhood. His creepy style works so well with Snicket’s writing. The UK covers of this series are beautifully eerie and black which reflects the mood of the series really well. The ghostly trees and thorns on the black background and spines add to this effect. I really love how the spine colour matches the title colour as well. I think they all just fit so wonderfully together as a series and the cover illustrations show the children’s journey throughout in a great way.

Book: The Inheritance Cycle
Author: Christopher Paolini
Read Status: Read
Why I like it: Each book in this series introduces a different dragon. Eragon is all about Eragon’s relationship to Saphira (The blue dragon). Eldest is all about rivalry between siblings and dragon riders, introducing Thorn (The red dragon). Brisingr is all about Eragon’s training, his mentor and his mentor’s dragon Glaedr (the gold dragon). And Inheritance is about fighting for the future of the dragon riders and the world the series is set in, ending with the birth of Firnin (the green dragon). John Jude Palencar manages to put across the personality of each dragon with his illustration style beautifully. Saphira is kind and loving, Thorn is menacing, Glaedr is wise and Firnin is a symbol of hope. I think each dragon sets the tone of each book before you’ve even started it which is why these covers are among my favourites.

A Darker Shade final for Irene

Book: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E.Schwab
Read Status: To be read
Why I like it: I saw this cover, not knowing anything about the book and immediately wanted to read it. Will Staehle’s cover is designed so beautifully, I just want a copy. A huge part of this book is that the protagonist jumps between different versions of London called Grey London, Red London and a few others. This cover perfectly illustrates that with several of its features. Firstly and most obviously, the illustrated character on the front is doing just that. Secondly, the author’s name and the title alternate colour on each word to further show this jumping between. The white background makes it look like the character is in the blank space between worlds. The colour scheme is bold and from what I know of the plot, fits really well. I love everything about this cover, it looks like a simple idea but it’s executed brilliantly.

Book: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Author: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Read Status: Read
Why I like it: This cover, as well as the book, is a parody of the original. It shows Elizabeth Bennett on the cover, as the original does, but following the twist on this classic, she is a zombie. Although I find the cover it’s imitating boring and dull, I really love this one because it plays on the original’s dullness and uses that to make the fact that there are zombies in this book not a big deal. It really makes you look twice at the cover because the concept sounds so ridiculous and the change is subtle enough that you could mistake it for the original. But then you read the book and realise how perfectly zombies fit into the world that Austen wrote and this cover shows that although it sounds ridiculous, it really isn’t.


Book: The Luxe series
Author: Anna Godberson
Read Status: Read
Why I like it: This series is set in 1899 Manhattan and is all about a group of fictional socialites that live there. The whole thing is about gossip and materialistic excess and I think the covers illustrate that really well. The huge flowing dresses and the cursive, gold type scream of this in a way that made me want to dive straight into this world. Each book also has the girl who is a huge focus in each one on the cover. Normally having a photo of a person on the cover on a book is a massive turn-off to me liking that cover because so many have been done awfully and have been irrelevant to the book. These covers however are an exception to this because they reflect the theme of each book, the girls on the front are accurate to their in-book description and the cover is composed in a way that means the girl herself isn’t the most important thing on it. The carefully thought out design of these covers makes them an exception to my dislike of covers with photos of people on.


Book: The city of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Read Status: Read
Why I like it: The simplicity of this cover is one of the best things about it. This book is full of secrets and this cover gives none of them away, creating intrigue and excitement. The light bulb with the city’s name as the filament is perfect. The entire city is underground, without light bulbs, it’s completely in darkness and it can’t function at all. Without it’s filament, a light bulb can’t work. This cover perfectly shows the city’s utter dependence on light bulbs. This light bulb, like Ember, is the only thing lighting the darkness. I think this simple cover works beautifully and looking at it, I just see the question: What happens to an underground city when the lights go out?

These are just 10 of the many book covers that I love. Upon reflecting on why I like these book covers, the most common theme, especially among the ones I’ve read, is that they are relevant to the story and tie into what the book is saying.

10 covers I dislike


Book: Skulduggery Pleasant
Author: Derek Landy
Read Status: To be read
Why I dislike it: I absolutely cannot stand this cover. The type just irks me so, so much. The different weight of the letters, the kerning, the wobbly baseline, the different point sizes, everything about it just seems messy and I just don’t want to look at it. This series is one of my close friend’s favourites but I have been so put off reading it by the covers. They project the book as childish and cheesy which has turned me off to the series almost entirely. The only thing that has kept it on my to be read list is the plot description given to me by my friend.


Book: Gone
Author: Michael Grant
Read Status: Not to be read
Why I dislike it: I know almost nothing about this book, mainly because the cover never made me want to pick it up. I just find this cover doesn’t tell me anything about the story or make me want to read it. Where as the simplicity of The City of Ember’s cover makes me intrigued, this one just makes me shrug. It didn’t ever look like an interesting read so whenever I saw it on a shelf, I’d just glaze over.


Book: Goosebumps
Author: R.L.Stine
Read Status: Read some
Why I dislike it: It’s a universally acknowledged truth that the goosebumps’ covers are as cheesy as they come. I have a soft spot for cheesy horror, so that element worked in it’s favour here but I still think they’re really ugly.  The wobbly, dripping type and the clichéd illustrations make it hard to take these books seriously. I think R.L.Stine is a really good horror writer and the plots of these books were very compelling. Although I don’t like these covers, they are so ingrained in my childhood that I couldn’t imagine anything else in their place.

Book: Cat Royal series
Author: Julia Golding
Read Status: Read multiple times
Why I dislike it: The original covers for this series were absolutely gorgeous, but unfortunately, just before the last book came out, they went through two cover changes. The fact that they went from beautiful illustrations of the setting for each book with beautiful typography for the titles to these is really annoying. I first read this series when the second book was coming out in 2006 so I’d had the idea of what the protagonist, Cat, looked like in my head for 3 years when these covers came out. The main reason I hate photos of faces on covers is because it completely stops me from imagining the character in my head, especially if the photo doesn’t match the description that well. This is one of my favourite series but I will always use this cover change as an example of cover changes that were awful.


Book: The merciless
Author: Danielle Vega
Read Status: Not to be read
Why I dislike it: The colour of this book is the thing I find really off-putting about it. It’s so violently pink. I also think that the colour of the type and the logo doesn’t work well with the pink either. The colour is just to vibrant for me and makes me want to turn away because of how pink it is. This is mostly down to personal preference but I just don’t like this cover and pink is not my thing.

Book: Vampire Academy series
Author: Richelle Mead
Read Status: Read multiple times
Why I dislike it: This series has gone through 3 cover changes and I don’t like any of them. I love the series itself and Richelle Mead’s writing draws me in so much but the covers represent the compelling story really badly. The first, uses a photo of a face, which I have mentioned is a book cover pet peeve of mine, however this one looks nothing like the description of the main character, not to mention it’s a different girl on every cover representing the same character and says nothing for the plot except that the protagonist is a girl who goes to private school. The second set of covers is even less relevant to the series. The illustrations on the front have not relation to the plot at all and the blood dripping from the top corner is completely unnecessary especially as blood isn’t a big deal in the series. The third set of the covers is the most preferable but it still keeps those photos of the girls as a ghostly background. None of these covers say anything about the main themes of this book which are love, duty and friendship.


Book: Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Read Status: Not to be read
Why I dislike it: There’s something about the title type that I really don’t like. I find it quite difficult and confusing to read. It’s also a very ambiguous cover. With a negative of a forest and swirly type, I would guess that it’s some kind of paranormal romance but it seems very run-of-the-mill and like there’s nothing that really sets this book apart from the vast amount of YA paranormal romance in the world. This book seems like it would be full of tired clichés and it doesn’t appeal to me.


Book: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Read Status: To be read
Why I dislike it: The blue and the orange together is something I’m not a fan of. I think they clash and look quite garish. Although I haven’t read Outlander, I know a bit about the story and it sounds really interesting but this cover doesn’t entice me to read it at all. It just looks like a medieval historical romance and there’s nothing to hint at the science fiction element of it. I find this really disappointing because I think if more people could glance at the cover and realise it had science fiction elements, it would be more popular.


Book: The mortal instruments series
Author: Cassandra Clare
Read Status: Read City of bones, the rest to be read
Why I dislike it: This is another series where they put their main characters on the cover and gave me preconceptions of what they’re like. Other than that, I think the covers look fine, I like the type for the titles apart from the ‘of’ being underlined, that I don’t quite get.


Book: Divergent series
Author: Veronica Roth
Read Status: Divergent and Allegiant read
Why I dislike it: Although I like the covers for this series for the most part, the thing that puts me off about them is the symbols. I can’t see any relevance to the book. Although they are very aesthetically pleasing, they don’t tell me much about the series. There’s a skyline of Tris’s Chicago which is, of course, relevant but it comes second to the massive symbols on the cover. I find them very misleading and would have liked them to tell me more about the world or faction system.

Looking at the elements of book covers I don’t like has helped me think about what to avoid when making my books. Photos of people, badly used typography and dull or irrelevant imagery are three of the things most likely to make me dislike a cover.

 I think that researching these covers has made me think about cover design in a lot more detail and the conclusions I have drawn about what makes me like or dislike a cover will inform my work going forward.


My classics collection

These are all the classics that I owned when I started this project. Some of them are physical, some are on my kindle library. Discounting the doubles, I have 29 and I have read 18 of them. I intend to read more of my collection because they’re ones I’ve wanted to read for a while but haven’t and I think I most want to cover books I’ve read for this project.

This means that the books I’m working with will likely be in the collection below.


Survey Results

After my initial question to the people I know about what their favourite books are, I decided to create a survey about classic literature to get a better understanding of what people have read.

I shared my survey with my friends and they shared it with people they know, my mum sent it around her work so I’d have responses from a variety of ages and backgrounds.

In the end I got 48 responses which I thought was a good mix.


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I decided against asking for personal information such as age, gender, ethnicity, etc. on my survey because I wanted to gather general public opinion and didn’t want these categories to affect the way I saw the results. I wanted it to be based on people’s opinions and not judged by their age or gender.

Question 1

I thought that almost all of these books were very well known so I was surprised at the difference between how many people had read them. I noticed that the ones that are the most read have all been on the school curriculum at some point. I studied Lord of the Flies and Of Mice and Men in school so I expected all respondents my age to tick them as they were mandatory for English GCSE.

I was surprised how few people said they’d read Moby Dick. It’s always been one I thought lots of people had read so I thought more of my respondents would have. This could be one to focus on because it’s one that I love immensely that few people, according to my results, have read.

There wasn’t a single book on my list that was unread which I thought interesting. Even the books I considered lesser known are still being read.

Question 2

45.83% of respondents said they enjoyed all of the classics they had read and 52.08% said they enjoyed some of them. I think this is a promising statistic because it may mean that my target audience is more open to reading the books I’m making than I originally thought.

Not a single respondent said they enjoyed none of the books which means that if I create a variety of books, it is highly likely that the people I show them to will like at least one.

Question 3

Many people say they don’t have the time to read more of these books. As this has come up as a common problem, it will be one of the ones I will try to find a solution to in my work. I think because we all live such busy lives and a lot of these books are very big, the more engaging a book is, the more likely you are to want to read it and get back to it ASAP.

Question 4

Many people say they would like to read more so they are potential people I could reach with my work. I know, personally, when I see a book that I’ve been wanting for a while with a really nice cover or bind, it can be the tipping point to me buying it.

Question 5

Having more time came up again in this question fairly often so it’s definitely going to be something to keep in mind during this project.

Question 6

Almost everyone had a different idea on what made a book a classic. The three factors most said were good writing, a compelling story that can reach a wide audience and it’s still relevant. I think that it’s a mix of these and many more that make a book a classic, if it were these three factors alone, there would be a lot more books regarded as classics.

Question 7

I left many books out of question 1 to see how many people would pick up on it and what they thought of the list I had created. The majority of books on the list were American or English and a lot of children’s literature was left out. I also left out things like Harry Potter that have only been called classics recently.

I think this worked very well because many respondents gave me a list of the ones I thought I’d left out and some of them I’d never even heard of. This helped to expand my definition of classics and made me realise that I will have to only focus on a few books.

There were a few respondents who didn’t think I’d missed any so they are people I could potentially reach with classics they haven’t heard of.

How to cut these books down to only a few is something I’m going to have to think carefully about. I need to think about why I want people to read these books and whether I should bring attention to the lesser know classics or classics that aren’t English or American.

Initial Research

For my initial research, I asked people to tell me what their favourite books are so I could see what kind of things the people I know like reading. The response was overwhelming, so many people told me what they love reading and I got a huge variety of responses.


This research will help me to think about my target audience and how to reach people who haven’t listed classics as their favourites. So many of these books are influenced by classic literature so maybe people could be persuaded to read them by the work I make.



Working on a live brief was really exciting and made me really carefully consider everything I was doing and saying to make sure I maintained professionalism. Collaborating on a film with a group was an opportunity to experience what it’s like to be part of a production team.

I feel as though we divided labour pretty evenly between us. We all took a lead on the tasks we had the most skills in which meant we were well equipped to create really good work. Getting experience in sound recording, filming, editing, creating film storyboards and making graphics was really valuable and enjoyable. Although I wasn’t able to attend every filming and editing session, I felt very confident in my group’s abilities and when I was there I contributed as much as I could.We worked well as a group, all contributing ideas and taking responsibility for the tasks we were given.

Everyone’s opinions were heard during the process because we all asked for each others input and thought so we could have a well rounded perspective and create something we were all happy with.

When it came to the planning, the amount that we did meant we were well prepared by the time we went to film. We wrote shot lists, planned storyboards, wrote potential questions and talked to the client about what they wanted. We put all of our paperwork together in a folder so that we could refer back to it whenever we needed to. We also created a group chat so that all of us could talk and arrange when to meet to film and edit.This helped a lot with organisation.

Most of the problems we faced came up during filming. The camera battery ran out on the second day, we couldn’t get equipment out at times, there was a lot of background noise on the audio and some of the audio wasn’t even recorded. Despite these issues we had 3 very productive filming days and got all the footage and audio necessary for the film.

For the editing, I mostly just advised and pitched in ideas when cutting everything together. This gave me the opportunity to sit back and look at it with a clear view. The film went through many revisions because we carefully heeded the advice of our tutors. I think this helped us to create a professional looking film. I am particularly happy with my work on the graphics and type. I think they worked out really well and looked classy without looking too standardised and corporate. I feel as though a few of the shots are still slightly discoloured but I think I might just be being hypercritical.

I have learnt a lot about collaboration and that I don’t have to take on every task myself during this brief. Relying on other people has improved my collaboration skills immensely. We have worked hard together to create a documentary that I am really happy with.

Final Film

I am really proud of all the work we’ve done on this film, it was so worth it for the end result. I am really happy with what we’ve all created and think we’ve made an excellent film.


The editing process was done over a long period with all of us pitching in at different times.

Charlie and Rosie began the edit during the première pro workshop to get the audio and footage down so that we had something to work with. They did a really good job with editing the levels of the music and choosing the clips for the intro and the audio didn’t really change that much because we thought what they did worked perfectly. They used the ticking clock shot, that Danny took, first which set the scene for the film really well.


We all then came in to see what Rosie and Charlie had done to work as a group to continue the edit in a meeting where we could all contribute. Charlie and Rosie had logged all the interviews which made the editing process go much quicker and was really helpful when matching up the audio which Rosie took the lead on.


There were parts of the audio that needed serious work so Danny took that away with him to work on as we felt he was the best at audio editing and could do the best job at fixing it.

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Once he’d done this it made it much easier for him, Charlie and Rosie to continue the edit, adding in the visual with really clear and crisp audio. Later that day we discussed what sort of type we wanted for name straps, credits, titles and subtitles and decided we wanted to use a smooth, sans-serif font that would look professional and also work well with the Viscom and Bramley Baths logos we were adding at the end.

Charlie and I looked at a variety of sans-serif types and tried them in full caps and lower case with correct caps to see which we liked and felt worked with our film.

In the end we decided on Avenir Medium. We really liked the names in caps but thought that having the names, the roles of our interviewees and subtitles in full caps was a bit too bold so we settled on having the names in full caps and the roles and subtitles in  lower case with correct caps.


Our titles went over quite a bit of revision. Initially we thought we should have the logo at the beginning to tried that.

We didn’t think this worked so we tried using the font Charlie and I picked out instead.

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We felt this looked better but having the ‘Over 60’s classes’ in lowercase wasn’t working but if we put it in full caps, it would clutter the first slide.

Before we changed this, we showed the film to our tutor. She gave us several changes that needed to be made. The film is a bit long and gets repetitive at times. There are sections where the audio levels need adjusting so that they all match each other and sections where the colour needs matching to all the other shots. She noticed that some of the audio was slightly out of sync as well. Some shots needed cutting and changing around so Rosie and I spent some time making these changes. Talking to our tutor was extremely helpful because we hadn’t realised a lot of these changes needed to be made.

The next day Danny, Abbie, Charlie, Chinatsu and I sat down to review the film after Rosie and I’s adjustments. We added all the name straps and changed the titles slightly.

I am really happy with my work on the type and graphics for the film, with the other’s help, I was able to make some really nice graphics and name straps.

Abbie edited the logos so that they were white and transparent so that they could go over the footage at the end.

Once we’d added all the text and graphics, we showed it to our tutor again to see if there were any final edits we needed to make before submission. She told us a few clips needed cutting and replacing, some needed more colour correction and the name straps needed putting up for longer.

Charlie, Danny and I went through and corrected the colour on the clips our tutor highlighted.

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I think we did a good job on matching the colours up the best we could with what we had.

After this all that was left to do was for Danny and Charlie to make some slight audio adjustments and then upload the film.


Extra Filming Day

After the crit, we decided that we needed some more footage so Danny, Charlie and Rosie went in to film some more shots. They took a tripod with them so we could get more stable shots.

After they’d gone in, we had enough footage to get editing.

Group Crit

We had a group crit where we showed our work and explained our ideas to our tutors. These were the notes I took from what was said.

Pick the bits that aren’t shaky
There should be enough to edit together
Use a mix of shots, mid, wide, close ups
Work out times and dates to go back in
The community and docidoe shots are really nice
Watch the connotations of shots
Slow/stabilise the footage
Watch through full interviews to see if they work
Think about graphics, titles, music
Decide when to sit and edit
Plan group time
Good variety of shots
Next time take a spare battery
Construct a narrative through the interviews
Contact Tracey about new filming dates ASAP
Use a tripod
Shoot for longer than you think you need
Explain lack of time to Tracey to help plan visits

Getting these points from our tutors was really helpful with informing how we edited and planned our time going forward.


Abbie and Charlie wrote up the questions for the interviews so we were well prepared and could brief our interviewees before we began filming.

Questions for zumba gold participants:

Why do you come to Bramley Baths?

What do you get out of the class?

Who do you come with?

Have you met anyone else while coming here that has became a friend?

Did you notice a difference after the class?

Why do you keep coming?

Why did you come in the first place?

How would you describe Bramley Baths to other people?

Questions for Jack and Kevin

What is it that keeps you coming back to Bramley Baths?

Are there any other opportunities at Bramley Baths that you would want to get involved with?

How long have you been going to Bramley Baths for?

What is your favourite thing about Bramley Baths?

How helpful and friendly are the staff?

Has coming to Bramley Baths enriched your life?

Questions for Jennie:

How long have you been teaching at Bramley Baths?

What is it about Bramley Baths that keeps you coming back to teach?

Do you enjoy teaching the Over 60’s?

Whats your favourite thing about teaching these groups?

Is there many interesting people?

What other projects are you working on?

What was your life like before teaching at Bramley Baths?

Do you come here for leisure as well as work?

What do you see about the future of Bramley Baths?

We chose to use a directional road mic to make sure the audio for the interviews was good quality and we positioned ourselves near the interviews. We framed the solo interviews according to the rule of thirds to get a good composition for our shots.

Production stills from shooting interviews.

We got all our interviews done across two days which worked in our favour so we had plenty of time to review our footage.


Upon reviewing the audio and footage we realised that we has a lot of background noise for Kevin and Jack’s interviews because we were in the reception of the baths so we had the sound of people coming in and out. We also realised that some parts of the audio hadn’t recorded properly so we couldn’t use parts of the footage. In Jennie’s interview we realised that we had focused on her reflection, not on her face which was a slight problem.

Some of these mistakes can be fixed in post production with clever editing so we’ll have to see what we can do.