hard case crime – BRAIN PLUCKER http://www.brainplucker.com THE WONDER PUBLISHING GROUP BLOG Wed, 01 Aug 2012 11:00:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why Vintage Cover Art is Better Than Today’s Cover Art http://www.brainplucker.com/why-vintage-cover-art-is-better-than-todays-cover-art/ Wed, 19 Aug 2009 20:31:50 +0000 http://www.brainplucker.com/?p=189 (A post written all as “IMHO“)

Why is it that I like the vintage art better than today’s art? The short answer is it’s more expressive, i.e. it creates a visceral emotional response. Today’s art is more polished. God forbid that a paint stoke shows. The colors are more realistic. It is perhaps technically more accomplished, but that makes it more sterile expressively.

I know I’m speaking in generalities There are individual artist today that are fantastic. The whole lowbrow art movement has some amazing stuff. And I’ve seen some small independent artists that really move me.

My beef is with the commercial book market cover. There is an overwhelming homogeneous style that looks like they’re all being painted by the same artist. And the graphics that they’re putting on the covers looks like it’s all from the same graphic designer regardless of publisher. And there’s the shear amount of text that they’re throwing on the covers. Some of the fonts are so ornate, you can’t read the title!

Crappy Contemporary cover

There really should be a return to some of the design principles of the past. Simpler fonts, brighter colors, more iconic images. Why? Because most the images are first seen as a thumbnail online. More and more people first see a cover as a thumbnail.  This smaller size calls for a cleaner design. And some publishers get this. But then they go so heavy on the text graphics, leaving no room for art, therefore no emotional pull.

There are some publishers that have gone retro in a great way. My favorite example would be Hard Case Crime series. Wonderful stuff that is reminiscent of the Golden Medal books of the 50s. The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle cover shown is monochromatic, but what fantastic use of lighting.

I design most of the covers for Wonder Publishing Group. I usually re-porpose cover art in the public domain. Although there’s exceptions, these are things I try to keep in mind. Is the image expressive, kinetic, and iconic? Are the colors intense? Can the title be read when it’s a thumbnail image? And does the whole thing functions as a thumbnail? And of course, it has to look good full-sized.

And most of all–is it dramatic? Action and scenes are the great “pulling-in” elements of vintage art. After viewing the cover, the germs of the story are already planted in your mind.

You be the judge.

Hard Case Crime - Good Retro!

Hard Case Crime - Good Retro!

A New Cover Design for WPG title

A New Cover Design for WPG title