After months of working with cover art, I find myself still fretting over color.
For three months, I spent part of every week marching six year olds through the bookstore. (I do apologize to the bookstore for the reign of terror I inflicted upon them!) I just sat at a little round table in the children’s section and watched. I wanted to know exactly what they were drawn to. I know not to judge a book by its cover, but I am guilty. However, children don’t know the rule. When they settled upon a book they wanted to buy, I asked, “Why?”
The answer to this question either involved hype or color. The girls brought me some soft colors — usually because of some princess hype. When we removed that from the equation, color won. The big bright colors came in first place: white with lots of red, yellow, and bright blue.
The teenagers who participated in this study did really surprise me. They chose books based on popular YA authors, and if there was a movie based on the novel, that made it more appealing. They didn’t mind reading the book AFTER watching the movie. I have never broken that rule.
I was amazed at the appeal of dystopian literature. The teen romance section had entirely escaped my radar screen. In the end, I still stood by my philosophy: color matters.
Then the color “turquoise” struck my internal color sensors (whatever that means) like lightning. One of my most recent tips concerned the future popularity of this color.
So I have been doing my homework, sans kids. I will sit in a section like YA fantasy and take mental notes of the colors. It never changes from store to store. That section is dominated by black, red, silver, and gold. I didn’t see turquoise on the scene. I moved to romance – maybe one or two covers, not dominant by any means.
I think I have now studied every section – I don’t see turquoise in the old sections or new arrivals.
A friend went with me on my last turquoise hunt. She cut to the chase and talked to the people who worked in the store. No, they were not aware of turquoise as the new up and coming color for cover design.
What do you think? If you are an author, do you envision your cover in turquoise? If you are a cover artist, are you using a lot of turquoise?
Stefano Zuffi’s Color In Art is a nice study and examination of color theory and its application in art. Separate chapters are dedicated to red, green, blue, yellow, gold, black, and white.
The best in-depth blog on cover design and color I have found is http://www.lisatener.com/2010/02/book-covers-how-to-design-a-book-cover-that-sells/
Cover by permission of Johan Adkins.