What’s the first thing you notice about a book? Why are you attracted to a particular book on a library or bookshop shelf?
As many in the publishing industry argue, the design of a cover is a crucial part of selling any book. Moreover, covers then represent Speculative Fiction in particular ways, e.g., as something exotic or mysterious or frightening and so forth.
Using a special framework for analyzing visual images, you are going to analyse the covers of some books in order to:
(a) reflect on how those covers invite you to think about Speculative Fiction
(b) evaluate the way they represent Speculative Fiction.
Form a group with other students. Compare what you have found:
When analysing the design of book covers (and other images), it is useful for the students to be provided with a systematic framework for understanding the use of visual resources. The Blackline Masters (tables one and two, available above) strive to do this by drawing on recent research that has developed ‘visual grammars’ to complement written grammars.
The BLMs adapt that research, and focus on aspects of the images that are likely to be most useful. For more information, see Kress and van Leeuwen’s Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design and Pointer, Martin and Unsworth’s Reading Visual Images.
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