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  • Writer's pictureIshta Mercurio

Cover Collection 29: The Prince and the Dressmaker, written and illustrated by Jen Wang, designed by

Welcome back to Cover Collection, my mostly weekly blog series in which I talk about book covers that I really really love and what I really really love about them.

This is the second post this week, because I’m making up for a missed week, and I really do want to be more consistent with this series. And I also have way too many books to talk about! Including this book, The Prince and the Dressmaker, a graphic novel written and illustrated by Jen Wang, and designed by Jen Wang and Andrew Arnold. Check it out!

a dressmaker measures a prince's arm in front of a woman in a ball gown, all on a pink background

The first thing I want to talk about is the framing of the two main characters and how they are centered in the cover: they are centered between the title text and the name of the author illustrator, they are placed in the lower 2/3 of the cover, and they are essentially in the foreground—kind of, because the design has this fantastic depth to it. If you look at the top of the cover, you see that what appears to be the background behind the two main characters is actually a gown being worn by a third character whose face is positioned in the center at the very top of the cover. And that third character has her back to us, and she is looking back at us over her shoulder, her splendid hair being tossed behind her. I love the way this third character both stands out in a very striking way, but also blends in. This tells the reader a lot about who that character is, without actually telling us who that character is. It’s beautiful characterization work.

It’s also clear that the two main characters are close to one another: they’re physically close, but also they are very obviously emotionally close. Which is to be expected, because this is a fairytale! And we are left to wonder if this fairytale will have a happily ever after style ending. It’s a nod to the genre, without giving away too much of the plot.

I also want to give some credit to the book designing team for the choices of font in the title text. The way the word “prince” is very old-fashioned, scroll-style, medieval-ish looking calligraphy, and the word "dressmaker" is done in a much looser script, much more like thread, which is appropriate. It’s a nice moment where a bit of attention to detail really pays off and makes the cover extra special.

And finally, I want to talk about the pink. Pink is a very deliberate choice here, because this is a story about a prince first, and then a dressmaker second. And so the stylistic choice of using the color pink to dominate the cover of a story about a male character is a very deliberate choice, and I appreciate the deliberateness of using color, with the full knowledge of how we have come to code colors and to link them to gender identity, to inform the reader about this character.

This is a spectacular cover, and I haven’t even had time to say everything that there is to say about it. So it’s your turn! What do you love about this cover? Drop your thoughts in the comments, and let’s continue the conversation.

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