Judging a Cover by its Book: Choose the cover direction for LOVE, LIES AND SPIES

Cover voting is now closed. Thanks for all your help!

Our Dearest Swoon Readers,

Nothing could make us happier than to present to you the cover directions for Cindy Anstey‘s utterly splendid novel Love, Lies and Spies. We are sure that you are all intimately familiar with this humorous homage to Jane Austen, but if you have not made it’s acquaintance, please take the time to do so now. You will find the full text of the first draft here. We will wait for your return with baited breath…

We are all overwhelmed with the artistry of our designers, and rely on your good opinions to help us choose the most worthy cover to grace the front of this novel. Please make your preferences known below, and do remember that these are only cover directions… The chosen design will be further tweaked to utter perfection!

We will be soliciting your opinions until noon on Monday, the fourth of May.

Our gratitude for your help knows no bounds.

Affectionately yours,

The Swoon Reads Staff

Tip: Click the cover to see a larger version before voting!

Anna B.’s Keys Cover
Anna B.’s Keys Cover
The key pattern here was inspired by the beautifully balanced and sophisticated Penguin Classics covers, but I wanted to include an element of humor as well. Juliana is a practical, plucky heroine who is constantly finding herself in unladylike situations, so I thought it would be fun to hint at this by showing her running after a carriage (unacceptable behavior for a lady, but what else are you going to do?). I believe this kind of carriage was called a barouche (correct me here if I’m wrong!), apparently the fancy carriage of the first half of the 19th century.”* There are also a few quills, ink pots, parasols, and fans scattered around to hint at the time period, and I tried to make sure that Juliana’s clothes were accurate as well. I made everything black and white for my working files, with the intention of changing the colors to something more Penguin Classics-y, but the black and white was so striking that I had to keep it, though I ended up adding a few hits of red to add a bit more interest.
Liz D.’s Parasol Cover
 Liz D’s Parasol CoverThis cover was tricky to design because we wanted to represent the time period, the snarky tone, the romance, and, of course, the spies. I found this beautiful photo, and it ticked a few of those boxes but not all of them. The title is very descriptive, so I decided to use that to tick off the rest. The title type is huge on this cover, but I made it translucent so that it wouldn’t hide any of the image. The font is a little staid, but I added a knife and a gun to it. I like the tension between the beauty and the implied danger, and I think it still feels fun and light. For the final cover, I would tweak her silhouette to make sure her clothing is correct for the time period, and I’d refine the knife and gun to make sure they’re period-appropriate as well.
April W.’s Ladybug Cover
April W.’s Ladybug Cover
This cover design for Love Lies and Spies shows a softer, more romanticized photographic direction. I thought a light and bright image paired with heavy swirling type could show an elegant sense of visual contrast for this witty and light spy adventure. The scattered ladybugs could add a pop of color and touch of whimsey. If chosen the type would be reworked to better fit the parasol, perhaps with some of the lace elements propping up or interacting with the letterforms, the author’s name would be included more effectively in the design, and that hint of Juliana’s dress would be altered to match the regency period.
Liz D.’s Candle Cover
Liz D.’s Candle Cover
I wanted to design a cover where it feels like we’re the spies. So for this one, I used a photo of a girl taken through a window. We’re peering in at her, and there’s just enough light from her candle to see her, but the rest of the room is a mystery. It almost looks like a painting. I love the flourishes in the title type treatement, especially the way the I in Lies wraps around the candle flame.
Anna B.’s Silhouette Cover
Anna B.’s Silhouette Cover
This one was a bit of a department effort! Rich combined the textured background with the cameo and chose the color palette. I helped incorporate the silhouette into the background and hand-lettered the title type (except for the “and,” which is a beautiful font called Sweetgrass). I love the classic feel of the cameo combined with the more modern title type, and the interesting way that the cameo interacts with the background. While I was working on this, I found out that Liz had been thinking of using the same background pattern for a different historical book – like I said, a department effort! The tagline here is in a font called Mrs Eaves, which is named after a woman who sounds like she had a few things in common with Juliana.

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