Wednesday 24 October 2012

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A Novel Cover Up: Itch by Simon Mayo

A Novel Cover Up

A Novel Cover Up is a semi-regular feature that looks at how covers are made. Thanks to Random House Children's Publishers, I am fortunate enough to have a guest post from Senior Fiction Designer Dominica Clements, where she talks about the process that went into designing the cover for Itch by Simon Mayo. Other than the cover, all images in this post are copyrighted to Dominica Clements and Laura Bird and used with permission, and can be clicked to enlarge.

Itch by Simon MayoWhen we were given this pacy action adventure story to read, the first and most exciting part of the job was to come up with the right concept for the cover. We weren’t sure whether it ought to be narrative, symbolic, or typographic…

We worked on creating concepts together with the Editorial team and the design agency, Blacksheep-uk, and sought feedback from our Sales and Marketing colleagues.

We started out trying a narrative route, showing Itch on the front cover. For the figure we sought the help of the talented illustrator, Dominic Harman. You can see more of his work here.

Early Itch cover concept

As the cover design progressed, we felt that we also ought to explore a more iconic route. We tried incorporating various symbols relevant to the story, until we realised that perhaps the answer lay somewhere in between.

Early Itch cover concept Early Itch cover concept

Early Itch cover concept Early Itch cover concept

The final cover design shows a silhouetted figure of Itch, and the periodic table of elements in the background.

We’re confident that the cover answered the brief of creating an arresting cover that told the reader something of the excitement they could expect within the story. We’ve had some fabulous feedback from the children Simon’s met at his myriad school events via Simon's publicists, and the book is the bestselling children’s debut in hardback this year, so we think we’ve hit the spot. We’re now turning our attention to the sequel ITCH ROCKS which will be out on 28th February next year – look out for a cover with a new colour palette!

Thank you, Dominica, for such a fantastic guest post! It's so interesting to see the different paths the cover for Itch could have taken. Be sure to check out Itch by Simon Mayo, which will be released in paperback on 25th October 2012!

Enjoyed this post? Then check out the previous A Novel Cover Up posts.


  1. I really love this new feature of yours, Jo! I find it quite fascinating seeing the process of getting a great cover!

    1. Aww, thank you! I find it fascinating too! I really enjoy these posts!

  2.'s so much fun to get a "behind the scenes peek" at this!