Like purple, orange is a color that is very rarely seen in nature. But unlike purple, orange is also rarely seen from day to day, even in non-natural items that people pass by every day. It is the quickest to be recognized by the human brain because it is used so sparingly, which is why you see orange barrels on the side of a construction zone and hunters wear orange vests. Just like everything else, novel covers also rarely use the color, and so those that do already have an advantage over their competitors. It is with the little details that an orange cover will hold onto the attention that it has already grabbed.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
This is a classic novel that has become iconic enough that even if someone has never actually read it, they have likely at least heard of it. The cover is a gripping image that instantly captivates those that even just glance at it in passing. The orange background illuminates a shadowed figure, holding some strange object with a key sticking out. This cover actually spans from the front of the novel itself to the back, something that is not normally seen and really adds to the peculiarity of the entire piece of work; from the use of the color orange (which greatly coincides with the word in the title itself) to the strange drawing and the entire jacket being used. Everything about this cover is unusual, out of the ordinary, and perfect for capturing the attention of those passing by.
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Right below The Cat in the Hat, is Green Eggs and Ham when it comes to popularity and familiarity of Dr. Seuss books. This children’s classic has a straight forward use of the color orange, using it as a background to push forward the interesting title, strange creature and seemingly inedible food that takes up the rest of the space. Very little extra color is needed, as the white contrasts perfectly with the orange to make the letters and the creature stand out perfectly, and the green of the food really drives home the point of the title. Sweet simple and to the point, using an out of the ordinary color in a very ordinary way in order to captivate the audience.
The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes is a beloved character that has captured the imaginations of several generations. This cover hardly needs any more help to grab attention once readers see the author’s name and the famous character that will be travelling through the pages. But just for those that may not be familiar, the orange background is going to grab and hold onto their eye as they pass by the book on the shelf. It is then that readers will see the famous brown hat, along with other items illustrated on the cover that really create the air of mystery that Holmes is so famous for. The lamp and its single flame, the black umbrella and the glasses are each one piece of a whole that create a captivating effect. Then of course there is the small orange drawing on the piece of paper, almost unnoticed until the last moment. Each of these elements, the title, the character, the author, and the objects, are framed in a solid orange background in order to push them forward and capture the reader’s attention; and they do so perfectly.
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
It seems that older novels used the color orange much more than their modern counterparts. Maybe back when these classics were new and fresh off the print, orange was more widely accepted, but in today’s society, it sticks out like a sore thumb. This novel’s cover is able to stick out because of its pale orange background. Among other books that use a variety of other colors, the orange of this image is going to gain the most attention, because it is such a rare sight to see. Even though people can see orange in the sky during the sun rise or sun set, this image has created a completely orange sky that stretches across the horizon and makes the perfect background for the black, large letters of the title. Because the sky takes up so much room, when the eye glances across the people in the bottom portion of the cover, it lingers for a moment, just to take in something different. This is a wonderful use of the color orange, no matter what time period the reader sees it in.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
This cover has used a bright orange background in order to capture the attention of readers so that they can then read the text that spans from top to bottom. The informative text, standing out from the background in starkly contrasting colors like yellow and blue, allows readers to know that this is an international bestseller with millions of copies sold, that these are lessons on living, and the author is a professor. That final bit of information gives credit to the book because people are more likely to read something from someone they consider to be a “professional”. The little rocket ship and star doodles are entertaining, but what really grabs hold of the passerby is that the entire cover has been made from one, solid piece of orange background, that will capture attention just like the barrels on the side of the road or the vest of a bike rider.