Armchair BEA: Aesthetic Concerns I & II

armchairbeaSo excited to be a part of Armchair BEA this week! For those unfamiliar, this online conference takes place beside BEA (BookExpo of America) for those unable to attend. This is my first year participating and I’m already having a blast. Today we’re discussing aesthetics, both book and blog based.

THE BOOKS: 

How often do you judge a book by its cover? How often are you surprised by what you find? Do you strategize and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you are able to) and type? How important is it for the visual art on the outside of the book to match or coordinate with the literature art on the inside?

Ugh, I judge books by their covers far too often. This doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily by the book, but I’m more likely to reach for them in a bookstore or click on them on a website if the covers are pretty. Sometimes you’re often let down, a book can have a stunning cover, but this doesn’t mean the story inside is anything to write home about.

I used to not be too bothered with the condition of my books, whether I owned a paperback in a series and the rest hardbacks, or if the covers didn’t match, but I’ve become a vain bookworm! I was in a frenzy when we learned the publisher was going to change the cover art for the final book in Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Trilogy and I’m so glad they decided to listen to readers because look at how pretty the books look together.

bookhaulapril1

I’m actually trying to be better at accepting that just because a book isn’t in pristine condition or because it comes in paperback and not hardback, it’s still the same story and if I’m really serious about saving money, I need to buy more used and paperback books. I’m trying. I will say that it sometimes drives me crazy when models on covers do not match the ones in the book. There is one cover in particular that features a brunette on the cover, but the protagonist is blonde. I do not understand how that came about.

THE BLOG:

As a book blogger, in whatever form that takes, branding is important. Your colors, your fonts, your style of review, all of these things come together to make the “brand” of your blog – something that makes your reviews and posts and websites, all your various content, immediately recognizable to the people looking for you. What do you do to create a brand on your site? Do you think about these things?

When I first started blogging, I knew nothing about blog graphics or anything. My blog had a very simple look to it and I started incorporating my own photos to give it that “me” vibe. I wasn’t satisfied (mostly because I wasn’t that great a photographer) and spent every few months revamping my blog. Then I came across Canva when a fellow blogger did a post on how she designed her blog’s graphics. It was a lifesaver. I was able to make my own graphics and eventually found a consistent and pleasing design for everything. Finding the right colors, designs, fonts took a while, but I finally feel that my blog’s aesthetics reflect me as a blogger.

How important are book aesthetics to you? Do you make an effort to make sure your books match in series? Does it ever drive you crazy when the cover doesn’t match the content inside? How have you developed your blog’s look? Have any sites you’d recommend to bloggers looking to redesign their graphics? If you’re participating in Armchair BEA, be sure to leave a link to your own post in the comments!

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19 thoughts on “Armchair BEA: Aesthetic Concerns I & II

  1. I weirdly prefer paperbacks over hardbacks; I think the lighter weight feels better in my hands, and is waaaaaaay more convenient to toss in a purse or in my luggage.

    Totally agree with you with models matching the protagonists. The absolute worst for me was the cover of Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel. It’s a YA novel about a biracial teenager named Callie (who is also part fairy, which is neat) growing up during the Great Depression. She’s from a small town, and because everyone knows everyone, she’s able to sorta fit in there, but when she leaves her home, it’s super obvious that she can’t pass and she has to confront a world filled with prejudice. And the person on the cover doesn’t look like her AT ALL. The cover was gorgeous, but the person on it wasn’t Callie, and it made me angry.

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    • I hear that a lot with those who prefer paperbacks. I think one of the reasons I like hardbacks so much is I usually read on my bed and a hardback naturally lies open as opposed to a paperback (and I also don’t like bending the spines). Sometimes I wonder if the cover decisions are even made by those familiar with the book, at the very least they should consult the author.

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  2. I hate when my series books don’t match. A favourite series of mine, the Horatio Lyle series by Catherine Web, had a cover change on the last book of the quartet. I’m still so irritated. The covers were so perfect and the new design sucks.

    I make really simple graphics with photos and Photobucket. They have some fun tools. I’ve been meaning to check out Canva though.

    I’m with you on cover characters not matching the book characters. Like, who is it supposed to be? I don’t really like faces on covers anyway, but that really annoys me too.

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    • Cover redesigns in the middle of a series does not make sense in my opinion. I’m still not over the cover redesign for the Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan, the first book’s cover is so lovely compared to the other two. I’m not a big fan of people’s faces on covers either, I really want to go into a book imagining them in my own way and that sometimes is thwarted by the models on covers.

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  3. I make a concerted effort to have my books match! Right now I’m trying (in a meandering kind of way) to match all of my Agatha Christie editions. I have a complete set of all her books, but there’s about 26 different editions throughout. I want at least my Hercule Poirot books to all match.

    As for Blog Aesthetics…right now I co-blog, so we’re still working on it, but when I was solo blogging my blog matched my own day to day style – which is to say mismatched, thrown together and out of sync with everyone else’s.

    Blog Aesthetics: https://forthesakeofreading.com/2016/05/12/armchairbea-blog-aesthetics/
    Book Aesthetics: https://forthesakeofreading.com/2016/05/12/armchairbea-book-aesthetics/

    Lexie

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    • I bet that’s quite a task with Agatha Christie editions, there are so many book and I bet a crazy amount of editions. But it will look so beautiful on your shelf, so I definitely think it’s worth it. It must be interesting trying to figure out a design that works for both of you, but it also gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another which is always a plus.

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  4. Hi! I’m Lonna, and I’m a professional graphic designer. 🙂 Yes! Yes, aesthetics matter. You would never know that looking at my blog b/c I just don’t have enough time dedicated to it. Have you ever seen my Web site at http://www.flylef.com. So embarrassing…it still has “launching soon” on it. I think your blog is lovely “A-lee-sya” (<– he he that was still on my copy board memory from the last comment) and very you. So, keep up the great work!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I tend to judge books by the cover too. I used the exact same example in my post, I am so glad they kept the original cover for The Winner’s Kiss. I love that my books match since I LOVE the trilogy so much. I love Canva, I started using it along with PicMonkey to try and make my own graphics. I’m still learning, but I like what I’ve made so far.

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  6. Pingback: Armchair BEA 2016: Wrap-Up Post | A Kernel of Nonsense

  7. I’m not fussy when it comes to book covers. I read and buy so many books (because our libraries usually have a poor selection of English titles) that I mostly buy whatever paperback is cheapest. If that means my books are mismatched, oh well.

    I changed my blog design when my blog turned one last year – I asked my husband to do the coding and my brother for the design and I’m still happy with the result. I try to make my own graphics using Picmonkey and Canva but I’m still a loooong way from being as good as I’d wish to be.

    I like your blog design, it screams “bookish” to me, and it’s very easy to read, which is very important to me as I stare at my screen for most of the day because of my work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t use to be so fussy, but I think I’ve spoiled myself and I don’t know how to go back. I really like your blog design, it isn’t too busy which I hate, when blogs are just inundated with tons of flashing things and then there’s pop-ups on top of that. I’m glad you like my design, it took a while to settle on one I really could be wholly happy with, so I think I’ll stick with this one for a while.

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