Monday, November 8, 2010
Word & Image: Book Covers of Buddha by Osamu Tezuka
Book covers are a great example of how word and image work together to create interest for the viewer through mystery. This mystery intends to pull people in to want to pick up the book, flip through its pages, and, hopefully purchase it. Above is the cover of Volume One of Osamu Tezuka's Manga series Buddha. In a previous post I discussed how word and image can work extremely well together when there is an apparent connection. However, in the right setting, the combination of word and images when there is no apparent relationship can also be effective. Word and image should work together for advertisements. Book covers are advertisements, but the non-apparent relationship between word and image works in these circumstances because of the mystery factor. In fact, book cover designers can us the expectation created from words to shock and interest the viewer.
The above image was picked because when the title Buddha is seen, people often expect to see the traditional image (seen below) or something along spiritual lines. Instead of an image of the Buddha, we see an emaciated man holding up a rabbit to the sky. Behind him is a beautiful background of sparkling and glistening stars. This juxtaposition of glamor against non-glamor already creates an interesting image. The juxtaposition of the entire image against the title creates more intrigue.
Of course connections can be made between this man and the story of the Buddha, but the point is it that this image is fairly unexpected. Because word and image do not completely match up in a clear way, it makes readers want to find out how they connect. To do so, they must read the book! Mission accomplished by the book cover.
First image from: http://www.amazon.com/Buddha-1-Kapilavastu-Osamu Tezuka/dp/193223456X/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_a
Second image from: porchlight.ca