TOPIC / Book Cover Design
"Founded in 1908
the now legendary Mills & Boon created romantic heroes and heroines that reflected every decade: the dark and rugged sheikh-doctor-widower-businessman who meets the young, attractive girl-next-door-secretary-careerwoman. The winning formula rarely changed
, and today a Mills & Boon book is sold in the UK
every three seconds, with Harlequin
selling more than four books per second globally in 26 languages." —from back cover description of The Art of Romance
Romance fiction is not a genre I've ever embraced. I've never read a Harlequin or Mills & Boon novel. But when I saw the new book The Art of Romance: Mills & Boon® and Harlequin® Cover Designs
, I was instantly drawn to take a further look at the evolution of this genre which has such a recognizable aesthetic in our pop culture.
Thumbing through this book was very amusing, and I discovered a new found appreciation for the early covers in this visual timeline. The dialogue in the introduction of the book focuses mainly on the characteristics of the genre, the culture of the women through the decades, and the history of Mills & Boon and Harlequin.
A few pages go into deeper depth of the cover design and illustration commission/purchasing process. Here is a small excerpt: "Magazine illustrations by artists such as Jack B. Faulks, Colin Orme and Phillip Simmonds
were purchased by Mills & Boon and used as covers. Alan Boon
, like the magazine editors, had strong opinions on the covers, commenting in 1964: 'We go back to our nice young couple, nearly (and always fully) dressed with a bit of background, every object is clearly recognizable for what it is...'" I was disappointed the artist credits were not provided for all of the book covers presented. But, overall the book is a unique and fun look back at the last century.