insights, ironies and idiosyncrasies in communication and design

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Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Don't judge a book by its cover. Or its trailer.

Douglas Coupland's Glove Pond has been top of my Youtube favorites for weeks and weeks now, but somehow (strangely as I'm both an avid reader and a fiend of the digital world) I've ignored the growing phenomenon of the book trailer – appreciating this particular piece of work simply on its merits as a superb bit of motion graphics.

My passion for beautifully designed covers (Tony Meeuwissen's cover for Waterhouse's Billy Liar and the design group Bently/Farell/Burnett's Evelyn Waugh covers for example) has caused me to add several more Penguins to my shelves recently – Seven Hundred Penguins to be precise. Mostly though this passion causes me anguish. 

I have over the years passed on a number of (especially secondhand) books when the cover wasn't to my liking and quite recently I took umbrage to the particularly nasty looking dust jacket of The New Rules Of Marketing & PR, ripping the cover off and leaving the book sitting there punished and bare. (The thing is unquestionably hideously art directed for a book that's supposed to be all about new media and communication.) 

My real issue though with the book cover is not with design, but with representation. Well written text is designed to trigger imagined worlds brimming with complex and colourful characters – all of which is extinguished (every time the book is picked up) by glossy, sacharine modern photography designed purely to shift the the text off the shelves.

I'll probably (mostly) have similar issues with book trailers but for right now I'm revelling in stuff like the Coupland spot – and the knowldege that until book trailers appear on book review pages and literary forums (if they haven't already) most titles will be preserved – as whether you view the trailer will be pretty much up to you. 

Via The Guardian's Media blog.


sartor resartus said...

Meanwhile, we got the other fella out in the end, didn't we, even if it did take 10 years of our lives.

Rupert James said...

Is that a request?

Have some great Thaksin here somewhere. Now let me see...

sartor resartus said...

Re the matter in hand: