Today, we’ve got an inside peek at how the cover was created for Birdy Flynn by Helen Donohoe, a gorgeous new contemporary YA in stores next week. We’ve got a Q&A today with James Jones, art director at Oneworld Publicatons and the brains behind this gorgeous book cover – plus your chance to win a copy!
Each brief is different, which is one of my favorite aspects of being an Art Director. With BIRDY FLYNN being a debut, it helped to see what was already out in the market, and to establish which audience we’d like to target regarding the genre. For me, it’s always about the book itself. I need to read the novel to get a sense of the author’s world. Whether it’s the whole thing or just a few chapters. Just until that point where I get what makes that book unique. Then my job is to portray that on the cover.
Do you always design covers in-house? When do you decide to send them out for artwork?
At Oneworld I design the majority of our covers in-house. I also freelance out covers to other designers and illustrators. Sometimes it is to help with the workload, more often than not it is due to the fact that I have an idea and I know it could be better executed using a certain designer or illustrator with far better skills than myself. Sometimes you receive a brief and you already have in mind which way you’d like it to go, which illustrator to use. This was the case with BIRDY FLYNN. I ended up working with a designer called Ed Bettison, who I’d wanted to work with for a while. He’s amazingly talented, and hard-working which is something I look for in everyone I work with.
How many cover designs did you go through for BIRDY FLYNN?
I briefed Ed a few routes to explore, and within those you have lots of different color variations and typeface alternatives. From the first visuals it was quite a smooth process. All were loved so it was just a case of which one we loved the most.
Is your use of color inspired by the characters in the book? Why or why not? How much is the main color of the front cover driven by the sales team and how much by the designers?
Ed sent in a few different color options per route so that we had options to choose from. One thing we knew we wanted was a slight darkness to the colors, along with some contrasting bright colors to really make it pop on the shelves.
What is your favorite element of the BIRDY FLYNN cover?
I’m a big fan of Birdy’s silhouette. It helps frame the text, and it was important for me to reference the main character on the cover. Another route we experimented with was just having the silhouette on there, which was also quite powerful. In the end, the final design with text won out as it added a bit more narrative to the cover.
Why did this cover ultimately work for you as a designer, for Oneworld as a publisher, and for Helen Donohoe as an author?
I think due to the fact that it deals confidently with a debut author’s piece of writing, and represents that character of the book in such a dynamic and bold way. It really connects with the reader and helps showcase Helen’s story to the world.
It is the summer and a group of children are playing down by a stream when they do a terrible thing. Something that Birdy tries unsuccessfully to avert. While the other children in the gang find it easy to forget what they have done, Birdy is trapped in the moment and feels bound to do something to make amends. But how does a child face up to responsibility and find the courage to do the right thing?
An uncompromising and uniquely powerful novel about growing up, making friends and being true to yourself.
Thanks to our friends at Oneworld, we’re giving away two (2) copies of Birdy Flynn. U.S. only. To enter, tell us in the comments how you stay true to yourself – then fill out the Rafflecopter form below to complete your entry and earn more chances to win. Contest runs through midnight (PT) on Wednesday, May 10th.