Armchair BEA, Day 2 | Aesthetic Concerns

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Armchair BEA

Today’s Armchair BEA topic couldn’t be more perfect for me had I chosen it. I love that one day of this four day virtual event is set aside to look at the ways graphic designers color the books that sit on our bookshelves or the amazing blogger’s in this community who prettify their work. Thank you, Armchair BEA organizers, not only for this fun topic, but this fun community event. It’s been a blast so far.  

Armchair BEA, Day 1 | Introductions and Diversity
The first topic of day two is all about book covers, so let’s begin there.  


Aesthetics, Part I: Book Covers  


The Books: How often do you judge a book by its cover? How often are you surprised by what you find? Do you strategize and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you are able to) and type? How important is it for the visual art on the outside of the book to match or coordinate with the literature art on the inside?

I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I’ll confess, I definitely do just this. When I see a cover like Kiera Cass’ ‘Selection’ series or even Morgan Matson’s fun, summer-like contemporaries, I’m all like, “Get on my bookshelf!” But of course, we all know that a pretty cover doesn’t mean the story inside will be good and vice versa. Still, a pretty wrapping on the outside will go a long way in ensuring a reader’s eye will be drawn to a new book. All we can do is hope the inside is equally fabulous. 

Another question today’s prompt asked is “Do you strategize and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you are able to) and type?” No, I don’t think I do this overmuch, but yes, I do prefer a series to match. For example, when Marie Rutkoski’s series was announced with new covers, I was upset that ONE of my books wouldn’t sport the same concept. Needless to say, the powers that be did decide to release the final novel in the original hardback cover, and naturally, I snagged one right away. Now, I need to read these books! 

I actually recently interviewed two cover designers over on Silver Petticoat (one of my contributing gigs). First was Lindsey Andrews who designed covers like the remodels of Anna and the French Kiss, and more recently, Richelle Mead’s The Glittering Court and also Sarah Kaufman, who is the genius behind Red Queen. It was fun to enjoy a peek behind the scenes of cover design. The job of a graphic designer has always fascinated me, so I appreciate these two talented ladies taking the time to converse with me.  

Before I close, I’ll share some of my recent favorite book covers.



What are your thoughts on book covers? Do you like pretty designs? Minimalist? Text overlay? Cover models? Share your thoughts about cover designs below – and share some of your recent favorites! 

Aesthetics, Part 2: The Blog 

The Blog: As a book blogger, in whatever form that takes, branding is important. Your colors, your fonts, your style of review, all of these things come together to make the "brand" of your blog - something that makes your reviews and posts and websites, all your various content, immediately recognizable to the people looking for you. What do you do to create a brand on your site? Do you think about these things?
As with everything, my sense of “style” has changed dramatically from those first few months blogging in 2011 to today. I used to overdress my blog in color (strictly my opinion) and other “silliness.” Now, I’m more streamlined, and overall, I prefer that look. When I would clutter my blog with nonsense, it just didn’t have the same effect as what I’m looking for it to have now. 

I believe “branding” is very important. Five years ago, I probably wouldn’t have said that, but today? You bet. I’ve learned so much more on this blogging journey and every little thing is important or I believe it to be so. Right now, I’m all about the minimalist look; less is more. 

Armchair BEA Question: What do you do to create a brand on your site?  

Honestly? I don’t know that I do anything specific, except (rule number one) to have fun with it, and I do work hard at the branding and content I put on this blog. I’m serious about blogging in that I want what I say to reflect what I honestly thought of something I saw or read, and I want what my space looks like to be inviting, and warm while still being professional because, again, I do take this world of book blogging seriously. It’s a hobby, but it’s also something I consider “work” (albeit a kind of work I don’t mind in the least!) because writing is an avenue I’m passionate about. Another change I made (recently) is a new blog name. Aside from my original name, this is only my second change, and I’d rather this “stuck” for a while. Changing things is always a risk, but I felt like the blog had outgrown my former name. It’s with trepidation that I swapped it out for something that is a bit more self-explanatory (tagline included). 

I just hope that comes through, and that, above all, Finding Wonderland is a fun place to hang out because that’s what “makes” this community what it is. Bloggers who love this community and enjoy being a part of it. 
How do you decorate and brand your blog? What are some of the best design tips you've received? Where do you find your blog design resources? Share your thoughts down below!

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.


  1. Your site has a great aesthetic! Well done.

    1. Thanks so much! I appreciate the kind words. Off to read your Armchair BEA post. :)

  2. Well said, Rissi. I really love pretty covers and look for them as often as I can, but they aren't the end all be all of a book. And I've always loved the look of your blog. It's nice clean with pops of color and looks professional. To me, a background that is too busy takes away from the words, and the whole reason we visit blogs like these are to read. Again, lovely post!

    1. Hi, Miranda! Great to have you visit - and thank you for the kind words. Your thoughts are my own. A busy background does sometimes distract, but I love that everyone can have their own idea of what's pretty in a blog design, and whatever works for the blogger is great. :) (I agree. It's the words we love about visiting blogging friends' websites.)

      I'm totally a cover snob. And I readily admit this. ;)

  3. Your design is gorgeous! I absolutely love it, it's simple yet beautiful. I usually get most of resources from ETSY.

    Tina The Bookworm

    1. I've started getting a few things from Etsy too, Tina. Although, fortunately for us, there are some free resources out there that are amazing. :) Thank you so much for the blog feedback and for visiting. :)

  4. I love covers that are tactile somehow (raised or indented letters, fabric-y cover, etc.). So fun. :)

    My post, if you'd like to take a look:

    1. Texture on covers is always a good branding. Raised letters always adds that last "touch" that makes a book stand out. :)

      Thanks again for visiting, Monica. Excited to follow your ABEA adventures. :)

  5. I actually haven't had any tips, but everyone's posts today are helping a lot. I'm forming ideas, I just don't know when I'll land on one that I love. Thanks for the great post!
    Gabriella M Reads
    My Armchair BEA post.

    1. How fun. It's always neat to learn something through these book blogger series - and isn't this the best community EVER!? :)

      Glad your forming some fun ideas, Gabriella. Have fun with whatever you do, that's what's most important. :)


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