By September 17, 2018 0 Comments Read More →

Cover Trend Alert: Title Title Title Title Title

I’m a big fan of text-only and typographically interesting covers, so I did a big swoon when I saw the cover of Jill Soloway’s upcoming memoir She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchyand I was oh-so-pleased when a friend told me about Hey Ladies, a book told entirely through emails, and I discovered its cover also featured the title printed many times in different colors. I knew there were books out there using this kind of design, but I struggled to recall any others beyond Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, which was likely the one to spark my interest in these covers when it released in 2010. Below is a list of books I managed to compile in my search for more repeating title covers, linked to their full Booklist reviews when available.

The bulk of my collection represents the truest interpretation of the form: just the title, repeated. As many times as will fit. Straight up and down. My quest led me to discover that Maria Semple’s humorous domestic fiction Today Will be Different and Carola Lovering’s coming-of-age romance Tell Me Lies could both be added to my running list of covers with this form. It’s not only the content of the books but the meaning of the titles that this design plays with: from mantras we repeat to ourselves, to tropes or patterns we cannot escape, to countless emails with the same familiar greeting.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this design has also been paired with nonfiction titles exploring mental health and, in particular, OCD, as in David Adam’s The Man Who Couldn’t Stop and Jeff Bell’s Rewind Replay Repeat. 

Then there are the covers that use the straight repeat but with some overlap, offering different effectsThe echo or multiplicity of the title on Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter pairs nicely with the misadventures through the multiverse within, while the repetition on Speaking of Work suggests collated copies and other mundane office tasks.

Other covers repeat a title in a particular pattern to evoke a particular feeling. Kait Heacock’s Siblings and Other Disappointments repeats its title in a swirling cloud that suggests a kind of harried busyness, while the letters on the cover of Rebecca Schiff’s The Bed Moved tumble and jostle in a relatable millennial fashion.

The iterations may also be arranged for pure visual effect, as in the cover of José Saramago’s award-winning Blindness which mimics visual impairment with a blurry text cloud, or as in Geoff Nicholson’s Bleeding London, whose cover is a map foregoing any helpful indications of street names and populated instead with, you guessed it, the title.

I’m more obsessed with this kind of cover design than when I started my search; the sheer variety of effects that can be achieved by turning the text of the title into a graphic element is fascinating and impressive. If I’ve missed any great examples, drop your findings in the comments below!

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About the Author:

A former Booklist intern and current Booklist reviewer, Ellie is a reader and writer based in Chicago. She holds a BA in writing from Wheaton College (IL) and is the assistant to the president at Browne & Miller Literary Associates.

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