Cover Vs. Copy

We’re not often encouraged to judge a book by it’s cover, but when my professor assigned us to redesign the cover of a book we have read, Sugar Nation came to mind right away.

1. The Medium is the Message- By looking at this book, I expected to learn about all the places where sugar is hidden in


the American diet and how to improve our nutrition. I was also hoping to learn all the reasons sugar is detrimental to our diets, in hopes that I would have more motivation to tame my sweet tooth.While some people wouldn’t consciously think a book cover, they may just like one more than another, how much I hated the cover of this book crossed my mind every time I picked it up. Here’s why:

The author had other intentions, which was to tell more of a memoir of how Diabetes has impacted his life. I blame this miscommunication on the cover of the book, which may seem harsh, but that’s the purpose of a book’s cover and graphic design in general, is to communicate with the viewer.

2. What Meets the Eye- I also thought that the colors and fonts chosen for the cover do not match up with the overall tone of the novel. Neon blue and white is far more uplifting and dynamic than the copy beneath the cover. The main focus of the book, as I mentioned, is his own and his father’s journey with diabetes, along with commentary on how diabetes is being treated. I’m not sure about you but I wouldn’t have come to that conclusion.

3. Start at Square One- The images associated with the title take a very literal approach to the title’s message. Once again, while this communicates a connection between our nation and sugar, the title and the imagery used do not match the narrative. The caption below also doesn’t match up with the image, because nothing about a flag in a sugar bowl is hidden or related to medicine. Basically, the recommendation here is to change everything, including the title of the book.


Rather than using the imagery of only sugar and the flag, I thought it would be more effective to communicate the role sugar has played in US History, with using entertainment events like pie-eating contests as an example. This also conveys that this connection between our country and sugar is not a new phenomenon, which is important when attempting to create change. The roots run deep.Moving forward, I started to understand why the diabetes piece may have not been included in the cover. It’s hard. Utilizing medical or diabetes imagery  can be difficult to convey in a visually-appealing way. After playing around with it, I decided to take a less modern approach to the design, to at least give it more of a memoir feel.

I’m not sure this completely solves the miscommunication between the book’s topic and cover, but removing the caption hopefully opens it up for more interpretation. If the assignment called for creating our own images over finding images, I may have been able to communicate the message further; but I still believe the title starts this novel off a different path than  where the reader is taken.

I believe this shows the importance of communication between parties, the designer should never just be fulfilling orders, but rather offering creative perspective to find a way for the most effective link between the written and visual communication.

What do you think could help either of these covers?

Campaign of the Week: #LikeAGirl

International Women’s Day brings to mind many bold and courageous females, continuous struggles for equality, and apparently, advertisements.

Always has caught my attention once again, with their recent release of another video, Stronger Together, for their #LikeaGirl campaign.

This campaign took social media by storm when it was released in the summer and again when shown in the 2015 Superbowl. To keep the buzz alive, Always celebrated International Women’s Day with a #LikeaGirl campaign video that showcases girls and young women, worldwide, displaying what it means to be a Like a Girl.

Originally, the ad related to athleticism, as that is an area where girls and women tend to be belittled or thought of as inferior. However, in this new video they address the many areas of life girls and women excel at, but are often not regarded as leaders in the field. This includes “calculate #LikeaGirl,” as a female student completes a math problem and “experiment #LikeaGirl,” as another student does chemistry.

While some have thought of this campaign as random, or worse, that it is capitalizing on feminism for corporate gain. To be fair, the company has boosted sales as a result to the Superbowl air time. Call me an optimist, but I think the new Stronger Together video solidifies Always’ intentions. As a company focused on the female market and needs, taking a stance on the empowerment of women doesn’t seem like a far stretch to me. Here’s why:

1. Rewrite the narrative: The tagline is powerful because it converts a phrase that is often intended as an insult, and shows why there is nothing about being a girl that someone should be ashamed of. Likewise, it is not uncommon to hear “time of month jokes” in conversation or in the media, so much so that they can be used to justify why women shouldn’t be trusted to lead a household, a company, or the nation.

2. Perspectives have impact: Sadly, I think everyone has heard the criticisms of female politicians being “too emotional” to handle foreign affairs, or the tongue in cheek jokes about wars that could start when said politician was menstruating. The #LikeaGirl tagline allows Always to cover all of these areas where girls and women need empowerment.

3. The new video also solidifies pre-teens as their target market, which is reaching girls at a time in their life when the Always brand has a new sense of relevance. As girls are entering puberty, Always wants their message to be clear, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Not to mention, this target market is also creating brand loyalty for potential lifelong users.

When it comes to the popularity of the ad, I think a great deal of credit goes to the strength of the tagline. It’s short and sharable—hence the Facebook impressions—it’s memorable, which helps sales; and it’s inspiring, which creates an emotional connection with the brand.

But more than anything, I think women of all ages resonate with this ad and just wish it came out sooner, so they could be the young girls empowered to inspire others.