Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bad book covers XXXII

Positional Attacks, Johnson, Lulu, 2014

[Bad book covers index]

1 comment:

David Roberts said...

Yes, this cover isn't going to win any prizes for graphic design, but it's in a slightly different category from most of its predecessors in the series, which were issued by genuine publishers (e.g. New in Chess, Quality Chess, Chess Digest, Everyman, Pergamon, Cadogan, Olms) who you might have expected to have developed a bit of expertise in book production but who had patently fallen down on the job. Joel Johnson's book comes from, which is simply a print-on-demand self-publishing platform: it's a low-cost method of sharing your thoughts with the world. So the cover of "Positional Attacks" is probably exactly what it looks like: amateur artwork produced by an author using a freeware graphics app. Perhaps we ought to cut the guy a bit of slack.

What is more alarming about Bad Book Covers I–XXXI, which I've just quickly and queasily reviewed, is that these publishers had the option of a plain cover with just the title and author's name, but decided instead to commission the wretched artwork playing the gamut of poor taste and bad execution.

If you ever considered having a series of Good Book Covers you'd have a much smaller range to choose from. Off-hand I can think of only one illustrated chess cover in recent years that I could point to as attractive and well executed, and that was John Nunn's "Understanding Chess Move by Move", which has a nice integration of photograph, typography and colour; the result is simple, well balanced, and elegant. But even Gambit Books, which published it (so ought to know better), has subsequently issued such toe-curling monstrosities as Eingorn's "Rock-Solid Chess Opening Repertoire for Black", an excellent book defaced by a bewildering cover.