Case Study 12

Title: M.I.A.

Author: A. L. Davroe

Designer: Cover Quill

Genre: Thriller

Graphics: The strongest part of this cover is the image: dead arm on dead leaves, all in blue-gray tones. The arm seems totally relaxed, without weight, and, in its paleness, without blood, as cold as the carpet of leaves.

Typography: There are three typographical elements here: one good, one questionable, and one bad. Let’s start with the bad. The ornaments in the upper corners serve no useful purpose; worse, they undermine the somberness of the cover. The image is of death, but the ornaments are light, swirly, even exuberant, and instead of highlighting the title they compete with it. They should be omitted entirely, allowing the title to be larger.

What about the title? It’s in a peculiar font for no apparent reason. The wide serifs don’t contrast well with the bed of leaves. It would have been better to use a chunkier font, whether sans serif or one with modest serifs. As for the font used elsewhere, it’s fine, at least for the author name. For the tagline it should have been semi-bold, to stand out better against the background.

And what about the tagline? It could have been tightened up to read: “Only the dead know where the missing go.” That would eliminate the question mark and the ellipsis.

Overall: A good cover, on the whole. The strong image partly makes up for typographical weaknesses. The author used a professional designer but may have deferred too readily to the designer’s judgment. It’s usually good, and often necessary, for an author to second guess a designer. That would have helped here.