Sometimes the clothing should be strong and bold as the writing inside, even garish. Sometimes the clothing should be quiet and unassuming and yet so beautiful and pristine in its simplicity that it catches the attention of the passing reader who will want to pick it up. When I go into a bookstore, what catches my eye is what responds to the mood I am in when I am in the store. If I am in the mood for something quiet, I gravitate to a cover that is quiet. If I am in the mood for something bold and brash – which is rare – then I lean towards a cover that is something like that.
Often in memoirs the cover image is chosen by the author, or at least there is a sense of what it might be. With the Corcoran memoir, we deliberated on many photographs for the cover. The author absolutely wanted his brother Jack in the photograph, and he wanted one of him coming back from the war. We went through several different renditions of what this would be. We also wanted it to look like a photo album as there were over 60 photographs in the book.
In Vignettes the granddaughter wanted only a picture of the chest where she found the letters. It was very, very simple. The title was not even on the cover, only on the spine, but, because it would be given out only to family, this worked.
For Love Incarnate, the author wanted an image that felt energetically like Jesus to her.
Robin Brooks, owner of The Beauty of Books, has designed books for Viking Penguin, for the Waldorf Schools of North America, and for many private authors. After 31 years of overall graphic design, Robin shifted her focus last year so that she now only designs books. She designs memoirs, books on spirituality, art, and poetry. For more information or to contact Robin, please see her website.