Judging a Book by Its Cover?

I remember one of us asked Ben about the process of book cover-making. Here is a brief interview with the designer of the Flame Alphabet book jacket. You can hear about the materials used, how it was initially planned, and how the plan was modified at last. I also found an interesting article about this process in a blog named “talkingcovers.” I was surprised when I read that Mendelsund, the designer, started with an attempt to invent typographic characters, mirroring Sam who tries to invent new semantic forms. Then my question arises regarding the role of a book design and a book designer. Is it only a tool to boost the selling? Does it have to be symbolic? Should it give a kind of a summary to the readers? Can it be irrelevant? and do book designers usually finish the book before designing the cover?

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