Saturday, January 19, 2013

By Its Cover: Unwind

Yesterday, we reviewed Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Today, we'll take a look at its cover(s).

This is the cover found on Shusterman's website

First Impressions
Looks pretty scary, right? Not the pop-out-and-spook-you kind of scary, but the tense, unsure-of-one's-future-or-whereabouts kind of scary. The color scheme is ghostly. Someone is definitely in peril. And I see a faint fingerprint, which - based on what I know from the book's summary - is probably supposed to be a commentary on individuality.

And if you'll indulge the graphic designer for a moment, I think the font choice for the title is really unusual. It's the kind of font I would normally associate with supernatural romance-action stories, possibly set at the turn of the 19th century. The font used for the author's name seems more appropriate, but we shall see.

After Reading
The cover is spot-on. There's suspense, there's scary stuff, there are cries for help... everything.

The title font is still way off, though. There are no eloquent, dashing werewolves or vampires or other supernatural creatures with ruffled shirts and monocles wooing ladies with many petticoats. I think I'm off topic.

Alternate Covers
The cover on the left is the one on the copy I read. It's very similar to the one discussed above, but I think the thin, staggered-height font is more fitting. It looks slightly futuristic, and it's offset just enough to make you mildly uneasy. It's exactly right.

I'm not sure about the effect of switching the hand from the left side to the right side; it was probably just a necessity of layout. (You'll notice, the image is flipped, so the one from Shusterman's website is the right hand, whereas this one is a left hand. Make of that what you will; I think it's insignificant.)

I really like the cover on the right. It's reminiscent of surgery and it clearly indicates that the main focus of the book is on the parts that make up a whole. It's stark and clean and white, like an operating room ought to be.

I don't love the tagline in the bottom right corner, though. (If you can't make it out, it says: "Three teens. One terrifying process...") That just feels like it's trying too hard to make you understand that this is disturbing. Like an overwrought voiceover on a horror movie trailer. Maybe the cover designer thought the tagline was necessary because the light blue and white color scheme looked too happy.

I had the same cover that Alex did (the one above and on the left.)  I got the impression of someone being trapped, trying to escape.  And, honestly, that's what really came about.  These were kids who had no choice, who were trapped in a destiny.  They were also running, always trying to escape, to make their own destiny.  All they wanted was to have a future.

I think the cover was very complimentary to the book.  It gives you that intense, trapped feeling which, I think, is exactly what the book is about.

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