I have a copy of The Maze Runner by James Dashner. It’s second hand proof copy and the cover is white, with a thick yellow stripe at the top and bottom of the page. The title is written in stylised and foreboding type that suggests something broken or decayed and when this lettering is combined with the primary colour and the infantile ‘Chicken House’ logo, you are left with a suggestion that this is a book for young adults. And that is exactly what this is.
The three pillars on which this conclusion are based are subtle indicators though, and the conclusion more subconscious than realised. The art of the cover design is rooted in the ability to convey to potential readers a sense of a book within the covers, and convey that sense in the three or so seconds that a reader takes per cover, when scanning book shelves for their next read.
A proof copy of course doesn’t have to compete for readership, they are sent out directly from the publisher to (hopefully) interested parties and the proof design is enough to give a hint of what to expect.
The shift in design from proof to (I’m assuming) hardback to paper back to trilogy cover is interesting through; you can see how the elements have altered and expanded with each version. The same type is used for proof, hardback and paper back while the image of the maze grows more clearly defined in each iteration. In the cover to the trilogy the maze is fully realized, and because of this the type is simplified, making the title easier to read and the cover less confusing.
Inside the covers it’s just as good, a hugely gripping story (so much so that I haven’t started 1Q84 yet as I want to finish this first. And I’ve been looking forward to reading 1Q84 for weeks), the blurb about it is here. And at the end of 2010 it was announced that the book was to be turned in to a film.