Children’s-book Cover Design: The World is Changing

I would assume this is successful because of the strangeness of the Gharfoul's appearance, and the tension between him and the mouse.

There is plenty of interesting stuff to read in Salwa Shakhshir’s Day 2 post from her Abu Dhabi publishers’ training seminar, but I’ll skip right to what concerns us here: كتب الاطفال.

We will have to admit, straightaway, that many Arabic children’s books have lousy cover designs. We’ll also admit that—while we might wish that good books could attract children without flashy front covers—books are being forced to compete with cereal boxes and TV programs, video games, and…well, other books.

In the U.S. and U.K., I imagine some serious marketing brainpower has been brought to bear on this issue. Anyhow, back to Salwa:

I'm going to assume this is not a successful cover, because of lack of visual focus, tension, and/or a "face" the child can grasp. But I'll have to survey some children, of course....

Finally we came to the topic of children book cover design, the part that I anticipating the most. Mario showed us examples of covers that were doing extremely well and had won awards, and ones that weren’t doing so well. The main thing he said is that if you’re doing children books, get children involved. He suggested coming up with surveys and showing children in the targeted age group different design concepts to see what they have to say. A thought that would seem like ABC to any children’s book publisher, right? But in reality this requires quite a bit of energy and effort to do, but one that I assure you I will be doing for our future covers!

Mario went on to show us how the children’s book illustration genre is changing. They’re becoming more unusual and striking, particularly as publishers are realizing that children today are exposed to so much more, and require even more stimulating art to attract them. Some publishers are opting to go to illustrators who have never drawn for children books to try out their style…hmmm… interesting…!

I love Bakkar, but I'm going to say...not trying very hard.

This blog post shows a variety of different covers and cover-design options.

The blog Jacket Knack picks the “best children’s book covers of 2009“; its sole focus is cover art for children’s books.

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