Helen Yentus

Eat, Pray, Love

by Elizabeth Gilbert. Published by Bloomsbury, 2007.

Yentus makes inventive use of typography that reinforces the message of the words: ‘eat’ is constructed out of pasta, ‘pray’ is represented by prayer beads, and ‘love’ is a collection of petals.

What first struck me about this cover design is how dominant the word ‘pray’ is. It takes the central position, is in the boldest colour, and is underlined by the edge of a tile in the background. The loop in the end of the beads leads the eye to the word ‘love’. In contrast to the words ‘pray’ and ‘love’, ‘eat’ looks a little lost on the page.

The Tattoo Artist

by Jill Ciment. Published by Vintage Books USA, 2006.

The use of hand-drawn lettering on an arm creates a bold image. What is striking to me is that the words are not actual tattoos, but instead are painted onto a white mannequin.

Samedi the Deafness

by Jesse Ball. Published by Vintage Books USA, 2007.

The use of an architectural plan style for this cover is interesting, with the elongated ‘m’, which joins the uppercase ‘D’, drawing the eye and making the reader question where the letters end and the lines of the plan begin.

The Way Through Doors

by Jesse Ball. Published by Vintage Books USA, 2009.

Here the title is only half-visible on any given line, repeated top and bottom with strong visual support from the different layers of paper. In my opinion, this cover, although interesting, does not quite work, as it requires the reader’s eyes to do too much work in deciphering the title. Also, the author’s name is given much more prominence than the title, which may be intended, but makes the cover seem out of balance.

Words Without Borders

edited by Samantha Schnee, Alane Salierno Mason and Dedi Felman. Published by Anchor Books, 2007.

An excellent example of matching a typeface (Century Schoolbook) to supporting graphics in order to create a design that complements the subject matter.

Sun And Shadow

by Ake Edwardson. Published by viking, 2005.

Here Yentus links the words of the title, allowing the reader’s eye to flow down the page, with the letters flowing from an audio cassette on the back cover. There is also a subtle use of red text in the top right-hand corner, which does not overpower the design.


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