Friday Faceoff – Clouds in my coffee… #Brainfluffbookblog


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the subject this week featuring on any of our covers is CLOUDS. I’ve selected Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, which is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read…


This edition was produced by Random House in August 2004. They do have my sympathy – trying to get a sense of this remarkable book on the cover must have been an almighty problem. They have gone for the prosaic, opting to provide six cloudscapes, presumably to represent the six viewpoints that feature within the narrative. The trouble is that the overall effect ends up looking like a book about the weather. That impression isn’t relieved by the red textbox featuring the title, which simply looks like a weather warning when the cover is in thumbnail.


Published in February 2005 by Sceptre, this cover is far more effective. The vibrant blue is both beautiful against the deep crimson cover and gives a sense of the extraordinary nature of the story. I love the treatment of the title font, too.


This Spanish edition, published by Duomo in 2012, once again falls back on the idea of the cloudscape, this time adding a ship to presumably denote the voyage of one of the protagonists. While I think it is a really cool idea, it is completely spoilt by chopping the lovely image in half and presenting the title and author in the most boring textbox on the planet. The two sad efforts at clouds plonked in there by someone who must have winced at all that white, aren’t sufficient to ease the visual tedium.


This edition, produced by Sceptre in 2014, is far more satisfactory. This time we have clouds, along with paper and ink, denoting one of the themes in the book – the fragility of historical records. I think this cover has caught the sense of the book really effectively and is my favourite.


This edition, published in January 2004 by Hodder & Stoughton, is just beautiful. I love the vibrancy – once again, it’s a surprise to see just how changes in colour can impact the overall design. My niggle is that the title simply doesn’t sufficiently stand out – and because of that, this week it is a tie. I cannot decide between this offering and the previous one. What do you think? Do you agree with me?

32 responses »

  1. I have not yet had a chance to read this one. I do love the Sceptre cover the most, I think. It calls to me. I hope you have a great a weekend!

    • Thank you, Wendy:)). That colour scheme is wonderful, isn’t it? And yes – I had a fabulous weekend as we went away to the Isle of Wight to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

  2. I love the second to last one! I loved it before I read what you wrote. I love the white clouds contrasted against the beautiful pale pink. And without knowing what the book is about, I like how the papers at the bottom are floating up and becoming clouds which sounds like a theme in the book from what you wrote. The very first one does appear to be about weather and I would have never known from that cover that it was anything different.

    • Yes – I think it works really well. And given the book’s subject, it also manages to depict something of what it’s about, which is impressive. As for the first one… yes – it’s a shame they got it so very wrong.

  3. I agree with your pick, that one is my favorite as well. That first cover really seems more like a book about the weather indeed and with the six squares doesn’t really have a cohesive feel for the cover. I also like the second and last version.

    • Thank you, Lola – yes… I think that first cover gets it massively wrong – which is a shame as I can see what it’s trying to do. And yes – I do like both the second and last one, too, while being once more surprised at just how much difference a change in colour can make to the feel of design.

  4. How curious! The cover I’m most familiar with utilized font similar to the film’s poster, which I admit was very beautiful. Still, most of these are fine–what a strange approach with that powerpoint slide map version up on top!

  5. My favorite one is the Sceptre one – everything works, the color, the contrast, the design… Your favorite is really pretty, but for me it lacks a bit of a contrast – the font gets lost, and the details of papers are small, so in the end all my (admittedly half-blind) eyes catch is a blotch of pink.
    Good point with the last one – changing the colors rendered the cover muddy affecting the contrast and details, and they lost a lot of the appeal in the process.

    • Yes – I never fail to be amazed at just what a difference it can make to the whole mood and feel of a cover by changing the colours while keeping the design the same.

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