Judging Books by Their Covers

Over the last few months, I've spent much of my time outside of work on my book, The Self-Styled Home, which is inching its way toward publication. (Official release date: March 2018). 

One thing my editor, publisher, and I have spent a lot of time working through is the cover design. Because this is a home decor book, it's extremely important to me that the cover is one that people will eagerly display in their spaces. It's not lost on me that the most successful and beloved design books of the last several years all have a striking visual presence and inevitably become part of their owners' decor. I want the book to sit out on people's coffee tables, consoles, and bookshelves, begging to be picked up and flipped through a few pages at a time.

If course, it wouldn't hurt if the book's design landed it in photos that bloggers and stylists share on Pinterest, such as this vignette showcasing designer/blogger Erin Gates's bestseller Elements of Style. I mean, how can you NOT want to take this whole look home?

Source: Swoon Worthy

Source: Swoon Worthy

Then there's this lovely vignette I spotted on the blog Waiting on Martha, featuring Carolyne Roehm's A Passion for Blue & White. I love the book, the flowers, the collected objects, everything.

I adore how books fit into this space by designer/blogger Paloma Contreras at the New Orleans Showhouse:

Here, designer and blogger Justina Blakeney shows how colorful books, including her own bestseller The New Bohemians, can be objects of layered beauty:

Source: The Jungalow

Source: The Jungalow

What if my cover was so good that it would just pop up in magazines or catalogs as a prop from time to time? OMGIWOULDDIE.

Source: William-Sonoma

Source: William-Sonoma

But creating a book that lots of people will want to display is not as simple as choosing a pretty color or picking a nice photo to put on the front. I also want my book's jacket to reflect the contents, and because the homes I feature inside don't share the same aesthetic, there's no one image that represents everything within. I also want the book to be able to fit into every style of home, from traditional townhouses to breezy beach houses, modern lofts, eclectic bungalows, and more.

It's a tall order, but we're making progress. My uber-talented book designer is Laura Palese, who has designed books for Gwyneth Paltrow, Chrissy Teigen, Laura Prepon, and more. She's a rockstar. We've landed on a tentative cover look, and while I won't be able to share images until September, one element that we're currently planning to incorporate is this embroidered linen pattern I first spotted on a pillow on Joss & Main:

Embroidered_linen_pillow

It wasn't easy finding a print or texture that could cohabitate with traditional, modern, coastal, bohemian, and other decor styles equally well, but I think this one's pretty versatile, don't you?. If you look closely, the fabric has a great linen weave, and I'm hoping we can recreate some of tactile effect with slight embossing. We'll see.  

What do you think? Do you have any coffee table books on display, and what made you choose them? Have you ever purchased a book based on looks alone, and where did you put it? Comment below...