Don’t (or Do) Judge a Book by Its Cover – Design Thoughts

Watching and reading all of the articles and videos related to designing of covers was very interesting! You don’t really think about the thoughts behind the cover or the poster or the intro because you become too focused on the actual media, that you just go immediately into it without a second thought.

It really made me think about the whole idea of “don’t judge a book by its cover,” which I always thought was so interesting to me. Personally, I think you should judge books by their covers. If you aren’t judging it by the cover, you are just opening a book or a show or something just for the sake of watching it. I feel like you have to acknowledge that cover to understand the media, to understand what you’re getting into.

It’s almost like first impressions, which we talk a lot about in Social Psychology. Do they matter, and if they do, why do they matter? Why do we make them? Are they fair? Are our first impressions right?

It’s human nature to make those first impressions, but the honest answer to the other questions is that it depends. Sometimes they matter, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they are fair, sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are not. It’s situational! And I feel like this applies to covers too! Because we never can be sure if the first impression is right, I think it’s important to not rely on first impressions, but I also think that it is completely fair and natural to make that first impression.

There is so much work put into designing these covers to give you that first impression. In a sense, the designer is retelling the story through another format. If you don’t like that telling, you may not like the book or the show or whatever media it is. But, you also may love the story despite not liking the cover. Why does it matter?

We make these assumptions and impressions so fast, too fast for us to even realize. You can look at a cover once and immediately decide your thoughts on it. But that makes me wonder, why?

Then that also makes me wonder, why are some covers easier to judge or quicker to be judged?

I just think it’s really important to acknowledge how designers choose to retell these stories in ways that can speak to the audience. The design is the first impression, they have to make it speak out and stand out towards the audience. They have to be so important that they are judged quickly, that attention is brought to them, and I think it’s okay if that attention is good or bad. Attention is attention and publicity is publicity.

I think my thoughts are kind of all over the place, but this is just so interesting to me on so many different levels! I personally love judging books by covers and making my own thoughts and impressions because then I like to see how they’ve changed by the time I’ve actually consumed the media! It’s like a journey to me!

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