The best of covers, the worst of covers? 11 January 2016 – Posted in: Uncategorised, News, Competitions

As publishers, we spend most of our time reading and editing texts. But books are physical objects as well as amalgamations of words, and at Cois Life we have always been proud that our books are not just written in Irish, but designed and printed in Ireland and to the highest quality. We like to think our books are beautiful as well as interesting! To make them so, every single element of the book has to work – not just the text but also the design. So at a certain point, once we’re happy with the text, some other questions start to take precedence. One of the most important, from the point of view of the final reader, is the cover. Last month we were working on the cover of Éagóir, Seán Ó Cuirreáin’s vivid retelling of the tragic miscarriage of justice that followed the brutal murders in Maamtrasna in 1882. This month it is a very different story, An tIriseoir by Michelle Nic Pháidín: a fast paced novel following a young reporter who leaves her native Donegal and a broken marriage behind her when she lands an enviable post in Dublin, but whose personal and professional life are turned upside-down when she’s sent back home to follow a crime story.

We thought we’d share the cover design process with you, to give an inkling of the thought that goes into every aspect of a Cois Life book. Here’s what our designer, Alan Keogh, had to say about the first drafts of covers he presented us with:
An tIriseoir 1: tries to convey the pace (and fashion – red nails/iphone) of the story with a stylish woman constructed using news print.
An tIriseoir 2: uses close-ups of the main protagonists as the story hinges on their relationship, again with the reference to paper (and the scar on the eye).
An tIriseoir 3: uses the halftone pattern of newspapers focusing on the eye of Bríd – eye references the idea of looking/journalism and the colours/eyelashes – fashion. again the scar under the eye. And the black top connotes the daily red-tops. title font suggests newsprint type.
An tIriseoir 4: a pacy fast-moving cover collaging the main characters and the police sirens.
An tIriseoir 5: more of a visual rhetoric using newspaper cutouts with a damaging burn on the relationship between the two. Font hints at newsprint type.

We’d love to know which one you like best, as potential readers. Come along to our Twitter account to have a look at all the covers for yourselves, and let us know what you think. There are books to be won!

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