Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The evolution of a cover

by Chasya

It’s impossible to go anywhere these days without seeing a book in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy series. It seems like everyone (on the subway, in the park, at my place) has got their hands on one or the other of these books. Impossible to ignore because of their bright and superbly and originally designed covers, I find myself catching a glimpse of them even when I’ve got my eyes shut blissfully on my commute into Manhattan. So when I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal and the various mock-up covers that Knopf’s senior designer Peter Mendelsund went through to get to the finished product, I was thoroughly intrigued. The covers varied from snowy and stark white to electrified font against an equally electric background. All were scrapped in favor of the now ubiquitous design that anyone who reads (and many who don’t) would recognize.

We often discuss covers on the blog, and it’s fascinating to get an inside look into what works and why. The range of reasons go from the cover being too literary to “just giving everyone a headache.”

What do you all think about the covers presented here? Would you have bought the book if it was packaged in any of the other options?


  1. I actually really liked a few of the scrapped covers. The all white one was great, as was the lighter version of the current cover. I think I actually liked that one better, to be honest.

  2. The ones that were called "too Scandinavian"--I completely agree! Well, I agree that they were very Scandinavian. I don't think it was too much and actually like them, although I think work better at selling stories like LET THE RIGHT ONE IN moreso than THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, at least to American audiences.

  3. I never looked at the cover when I purchased this book. I heard/read somewhere that it was amazing (it is) and purchased it based off that recommendation.

    The only covers I've been in love with recently are Philip Palmer's covers from Orbit and Hiroshi Sakurazaka's covers from VIZ. Those two companies know how to do covers for geeks.

  4. I think having the link between the "tattoo" in the title and then on the cover is a keeper. They compliment each other. Everything else had no obvious link.

  5. I also like the more "Scandinavian" covers. Definitely did not like the neon-colored versions (especially the magenta).

    However, I did not pick up the book based on the cover--a friend convinced me to read it.

  6. I think the "snow" cover could have worked if they'd used an indigo or navy backdrop instead of black.