2023 Fleming novel covers

mtmmtm United Kingdom
edited March 2023 in Literary 007 Posts: 15,150
The cover designs for the latest reprints of the Fleming novels, and the first published by IFP. I think they're very stylish.

https://www.ianfleming.com/007s-new-look/

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Some really nice palette choices there, and they look sort of retro and painterly despite being photographic and modern. Really nice work I think.

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TSWLM is very cool and evocative.
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Comments

  • CharmianBondCharmianBond Pett Bottom, Kent
    Posts: 539
    I won't rehash what I said in the other thread but suffice to say, I really don't like them. But looking through the design company's portfolio I just don't vibe with any of their work. It slightly disappointing for an anniversary year but if I were in the market there are literally hundreds of other covers to choose from.
  • ImpertinentGoonImpertinentGoon Everybody needs a hobby.
    Posts: 1,351
    Some are cool (GF, YOLT, TSWLM), some look like they aren't done yet (CR, FRWL and the one for Thrilling Cities you didn't link here). Overall, I don't see many people rushing out to buy these for the cover, but the huge 007 might make someone who doesn't own them yet pick it off a shelf in a bookstore, I guess.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 15,150
    CR's one of the best I think, to be honest: looks nicely painterly. Maybe the typography could be a bit sexier, I'm not sure. I may get one or two of them as I think they're a really nice job; I'll be interested to see how they print them.
  • edited March 2023 Posts: 17,368
    I think these covers from Webb & Webb Design Ltd are much better than a lot of the more generic paperback designs from previous releases (both Fleming titles and the continuation novels), even with the big "007" taking up most of the front cover. They have also succeeded in making a colour palette that make the books distinguishable enough from each other. However, some of the covers lack that element of "danger" to them which you'd like to see, and the final touches that would have made this a really great set of covers.

    The best of these covers do however show that even minimalistic covers can do the job. My favourites being YOLT, CR, TB – and despite noting above the lack of the element of "danger" to some of these covers, TSWLM.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,527
    Thanks for posting these, however I’m not a fan. I agree TSWLM is pretty sharp looking.
  • edited March 2023 Posts: 3,086
    They're a mixed bag for me. I really like the minimalist designs for TSWLM, LALD and TB. Gives an instant idea of what to expect from the books and if all of them were as clean as those it'd be a nice little release. I don't think the illustrations work quite as well on DN (the bird in the foreground is distracting and I think it'd work just as well with the water/building upon the shape of the islands in the background) MR, and GF (the last one of which is particularly bland looking).

    As was said, it just looks like some of them weren't finished yet.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,527
    I've got a full set of these covers including Diamond Smugglers and Thrilling Cities:
    9781612185439.jpg
    I don't know if they're my favourite covers, but I love the high contrast and pop of colour with the 007 logo. Very very happy to have a full set of these, and prefer them to these new covers.
  • Posts: 12,294
    I've got a full set of these covers including Diamond Smugglers and Thrilling Cities:
    9781612185439.jpg
    I don't know if they're my favourite covers, but I love the high contrast and pop of colour with the 007 logo. Very very happy to have a full set of these, and prefer them to these new covers.

    Those are the ones I have too, full set of the Bond stories. They’re a nice minimalist design for the most part, sometimes less is more; I prefer this over something overly busy in presentation.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,527
    Same here; once I also have the full set of Folio's that'll be (more than) all I need.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited March 2023 Posts: 15,150
    Not a big fan of the b/w geometric ones, not sure they say anything about the books at all (unless 007 goes to beat Le Chiffre in a tense game of darts :) ). Prefer these new ones.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,527
    They all sort of elude to goings-on in the novels in interesting ways, but yeah, they're also just kind of arbitrary geometric designs as you say. I like the black/white/red scheme though. They make great working copies that you don't mind getting a bit beat up.
  • edited March 2023 Posts: 17,368
    mtm wrote: »
    Not a big fan of the b/w geometric ones, not sure they say anything about the books at all (unless 007 goes to beat Le Chiffre in a tense game of darts :) ). Prefer these new ones.

    I'm with @mtm here. Not a big fan of those b/w ones. A b/w (and red) scheme is interesting, but geometric shapes alone doesn't do much for me.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    Can't decide what's worse: the cover designs or the fact that they had the gall to censor Fleming. Let's call it a tie.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited March 2023 Posts: 17,871
    Can't decide what's worse: the cover designs or the fact that they had the gall to censor Fleming. Let's call it a tie.

    I'm in the same camp as you. Plus, the 007 on these new covers looks ridiculously large. There's also no mention of James Bond whatsoever on the cover which seems an odd marketing strategy. It's certainly a long way from the classic Pan paperback covers of the 1960s where "James Bond" appeared in broad black text at the top of the cover:

    orig_249373_jpg_5000x.jpg?v=1674054377
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    @Dragonpol, nothing can beat those vintage covers. The texture, the mood, the magic they had. These new covers, like a lot of new covers or movie posters, is the same doubling down on crappy photoshopped designs that use cropped or borrowed images of real world animals or landscapes to create some kind of feeling. And it just doesn't work for Bond.

    I can see what they were trying to do with the 007 logo, as you don't see that logo being the biggest bit of type on any cover...but there's also a reason for that. The 007 should be a supporting element of a design, much as it's used in the film posters, and not be the dominant one that even shrinks the title of the damn book.

    The covers for L&LD, GF and OHMSS are particularly horrendous, above the rest. No cover for L&LD should be without at least a skull, but even the flames fail to conjure up images of voodoo or the macabre, which is an instant fail. The GF cover is just a literal gold background with a dull texture to it, and that's as boring as it gets. The OHMSS cover is perhaps most bizarre of all, as it just features what looks like a grenade going off in the snow, causing a snowplosion if you will, and if my eyes don't deceive me, there's a bit of blood splatter shooting out the left side of the snow blast, which makes no sense to me. Not sure if the cover is depicting Bond falling hard in the snow, causing him to get bloodied up, but even if he did blood wouldn't shoot out of him like he's been shot with a gun. Truly bizarre!

    I always hang my head seeing these kinds of designs knowing what I and other artists could pull off given the carte blanche. Nobody wants to add those things to their bookshelf.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited March 2023 Posts: 3,396
    It's decent covers, the Harper Collins' version are really mediocre, so these covers were still a bit better than the former, but it's still not saying much, these covers were just only a small inch better.

    These book covers were really I'm not a fan of, these covers made the Michael Gillette covers looked great in comparison (and that's saying something as I'm not also a fan of those covers too).

    My favorite Fleming Book Covers so far:

    20988875_1418389308250598_2842145179418298868_o.jpg
    This one is one of my favorite Fleming Book Covers, it's a shame, this cover didn't continued for the other Bond books.


    I also liked these:
    fleming2.jpeg

  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    I'm a sucker for covers that feel authentic to the 50s and 60s, like they could've been original covers, since we can't have the originals just reprinted. To this day, my favorite covers that aren't the original printed editions are the Penguin editions that came out for Fleming's 100th birthday in 2008. They hit that sweet spot of having classic, vintage flare but with a modern eye towards design, and they were also the editions I chose to pick up when I started collecting the books, so they have a special place in my heart:

    penguin11.jpeg
    penguin2.jpeg
    penguin3.jpeg
    penguin4.jpeg
    penguin5.jpg
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,527
    Agree on all counts @SIS_HQ, especially those first three covers in your post.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited March 2023 Posts: 3,396
    Agree on all counts @SIS_HQ, especially those first three covers in your post.

    Yes, I really love them so much; it's very "real art"!
    Very creative!

    I hope they continue doing those covers for the rest of the Fleming novels.

    Edit: Oh, it's called, The Vintage Classics!
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited March 2023 Posts: 15,150
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Can't decide what's worse: the cover designs or the fact that they had the gall to censor Fleming. Let's call it a tie.

    I'm in the same camp as you. Plus, the 007 on these new covers looks ridiculously large. There's also no mention of James Bond whatsoever on the cover which seems an odd marketing strategy. It's certainly a long way from the classic Pan paperback covers of the 1960s where "James Bond" appeared in broad black text at the top of the cover:

    I feel like most people know that 007 is Bond. Look at the movie posters for NTTD and SF: 007 logos so huge they don't fit on the things.

    I don't think the 007 looks too big here at all; it's the key design device, it looks great.
    I'm a sucker for covers that feel authentic to the 50s and 60s, like they could've been original covers, since we can't have the originals just reprinted. To this day, my favorite covers that aren't the original printed editions are the Penguin editions that came out for Fleming's 100th birthday in 2008. They hit that sweet spot of having classic, vintage flare but with a modern eye towards design, and they were also the editions I chose to pick up when I started collecting the books, so they have a special place in my heart:

    penguin11.jpeg

    Although the artist is very skilled, I find these ones quite naff. Filled full of stuff, various characters, dozens of different fonts, different graphic devices; they can't even decide to stick with the horizontal band device or not... they're neither retro nor modern and so over-colourful they're like kids' books. Way too garish and OTT and tasteless, not even in a knowing way. Look at that hideous font on Moonraker- and a drop shadow. Ugh.
    I prefer my Bonds to have more style. The Gilette ones were lovely (perhaps leaning on the psychedelic a bit too much for a 50s hero, but that's a nitpick), and I think these new IFP editions are a great addition.
    SIS_HQ wrote: »

    My favorite Fleming Book Covers so far:

    20988875_1418389308250598_2842145179418298868_o.jpg


    These Vintage Classics editions have gorgeous typography and palettes, I'm less keen on the illustrations as they look a bit too cartoony for me: I prefer not to see faces, especially if they look like comic book characters.

  • Posts: 17,368
    mtm wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Can't decide what's worse: the cover designs or the fact that they had the gall to censor Fleming. Let's call it a tie.

    I'm in the same camp as you. Plus, the 007 on these new covers looks ridiculously large. There's also no mention of James Bond whatsoever on the cover which seems an odd marketing strategy. It's certainly a long way from the classic Pan paperback covers of the 1960s where "James Bond" appeared in broad black text at the top of the cover:

    I feel like most people know that 007 is Bond. Look at the movie posters for NTTD and SF: 007 logos so huge they don't fit on the things.

    I don't think the 007 looks too big here at all; it's the key design device, it looks great.
    I'm a sucker for covers that feel authentic to the 50s and 60s, like they could've been original covers, since we can't have the originals just reprinted. To this day, my favorite covers that aren't the original printed editions are the Penguin editions that came out for Fleming's 100th birthday in 2008. They hit that sweet spot of having classic, vintage flare but with a modern eye towards design, and they were also the editions I chose to pick up when I started collecting the books, so they have a special place in my heart:

    penguin11.jpeg

    Although the artist is very skilled, I find these ones quite naff. Filled full of stuff, various characters, dozens of different fonts, different graphic devices; they can't even decide to stick with the horizontal band device or not... they're neither retro nor modern and so over-colourful they're like kids' books. Way too garish and OTT and tasteless, not even in a knowing way. Look at that hideous font on Moonraker- and a drop shadow. Ugh.
    I prefer my Bonds to have more style. The Gilette ones were lovely (perhaps leaning on the psychedelic a bit too much for a 50s hero, but that's a nitpick), and I think these new IFP editions are a great addition.

    I really like the skilful illustration work on the 2008 books, and they do feel quite Bondian. But there's no doubt too much going on here, with the placement of "007 – a James Bond novel" and "Ian Fleming" being the only coherent elements. Owning a couple of these myself, I also can't say I approve of the font choice for the typesetting either.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 15,150
    I wonder if he didn't do some lovely paintings for the covers and a designer cut and pasted them up into oblivion.
  • Posts: 17,368
    mtm wrote: »
    I wonder if he didn't do some lovely paintings for the covers and a designer cut and pasted them up into oblivion.

    Wouldn't surprise me if that was the case!
  • edited March 2023 Posts: 2,161
    Can't decide what's worse: the cover designs or the fact that they had the gall to censor Fleming. Let's call it a tie.

    I agree.
  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe "I tolerate this century, but I don't enjoy it."Moderator
    Posts: 13,907
    I mean this in the nicest way possible, but those new covers are trash. I am ready to do my bit in advising any new fan to avoid these 2023 editions, and instead seek out the many, many past editions of the Fleming books just waiting to be rescued from charity shops, 2nd hand bookshops, car boot sales, church hall sales etc...

    Just recently, I donated a pan copy of CR, because I had two. So there is now one more out in the wild, looking for a good home.
  • KronsteenKronsteen Stockholm
    Posts: 783
    As modern paperbacks the covers are fine. Some are quite effective and good looking - TSWLM and YOLT for example - but some look really cheap. CR is almost a disgrace... looks like an amateur fail in Photoshop....

    As 70th anniversary covers they're extremely underwhelming. Doesn't look like IFP wants to celebrate and honour their 70 year history.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 15,150
    I think CR looks great. What makes it look a Photoshop fail?
    How would they honour their legacy in a set of book covers?
  • edited March 2023 Posts: 17,368
    I don't think the CR cover look bad either. They could have made it stand out even more for sure (I would have spent more time on the red smoke effect personally), but among the books I regularly see at my local book shops and other stores, this one would have caught my eye immediately.

    I mean, the regular thriller cover these days is a silhouetted man or woman against a dramatic backdrop. I call it the "Lee Child effect", because every damn Jack Reacher book cover is just that!
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    I think people want the legacy of the books to be reflect through the covers through an attempt to make them truly special. No Fleming book covers should look like any old book you'd pick up off a shelf. A Bond cover should have a certain level of magic to it. Maybe an old school allure, a sense of mystery, feeling of danger, elements of sophistication or elegance, maybe some tasteful titillation. It shouldn't just be a gigantic logo and very underwhelming visuals that feel purchased from a stock photo website.

    I'm more partial to covers that have a painted effect/aesthetic to them, as I feel that suits Bond's stories. There's so much you can do with these covers, because each story has so much in them to pull visual elements from to make each book stand out from the rest. Anyone that just makes a gold cover for GF, without making any note of the fascinating figure of Oddjob or the haunting visual of a painted woman, has made an unsatisfactory effort. The voodoo imagery of L&LD, the elegance and tension of CR, the exotic danger of YOLT and the like give so much more room for astounding and unique cover designs than what we see here. If it wasn't meant to be a celebration of an anniversary, fine, but if this is what is supposed to mark a big milestone for Fleming's work, they fell really short.

    Of course, this crowd has already had their preferred choices for Fleming's work, in covers they love and had them for a long time. What I worry about are those who have yet to discover the books who will pick these up thinking they represent the genuine article, without realizing that not only do the covers sell the work short, but the work itself has been censored by people who don't respect the legacy of Fleming and the times in which he wrote. All of his work, whether positive and impressive or crude and negative, should remain as it was, as it teaches us of what that the time and style was like during the historical period in which Fleming was writing. If you take things out, you remove what made that work what it was during its time, and don't give us anything to be challenged by or learn from as more contemporary readers and thinkers. In doing so, it does nobody any good.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited March 2023 Posts: 15,150
    It’s easy to say what you don’t want when you see it though; suggesting that it’s easy to depict some incredible version of history distilled into one image is a bit tougher in practice though. ‘Put Oddjob on the cover’ isn’t all that much of an idea and dismisses pretty much every cover of GF ever printed. When expectations are so high that 70 years of history and all iconic characters should be represented, we’ll either end up with a mess or disappointment, probably both. They’re only book covers, they can’t do everything, and they’re not supposed to.

    There’s a different thread for discussing the edits: this is about the covers.
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