While working on Specials today, I was poking around in my Uglies folder and discovered this pairing:
These were the two covers first given to me by Simon and Schuster, who were good enough to ask my opinion. Like design departments everywhere, the artists misspelled my name, and also managed to get the title wrong. (It’s Uglies, people, not The Uglies.) And let’s not mention the coffee stains.
They’re both really good designs, though. But Justine and I, and everyone else we showed them to, prefered the one on the right. More importantly, S&S agreed, and used that as the basis for the final cover.
So why is it better?
Well, first the leftmost design: The expression is much more intense, like someone secretly watching a terrifying ritual unfold. The lines of grass across the face create a more interesting composition. On the other hand, I don’t like the squarish font of the title as much. And I don’t like the black boxes around my name, which remind me of those machines that insane people use to make sticky labels to put on everything. In trying to make the text readable, the cover winds up with one too many design features.
The one on the right succeeds by being simpler, more direct. Although the eye is smaller, its gaze isn’t muddled up by the foliage. The rounded sans-serif font (without sticky label backing) helps simplify, intensify, and focus the cover. (I also like the black/white treatment of the title, except that it wasn’t the title.) Instead of the terror of the rejected cover, we have something intimate and quietly intriguing.
So simple seems better to me. And I’m glad the final cover zoomed in even closer to the model’s face.
But what the hell do I know? I’m, like, a writer. What do you guys think?