So in Final Fantasy VIII, an adamantoise was roughly the size of two sea turtles stacked on top of each other. In Final Fantasy X, an adamantoise was about the size of a garage. In Final Fantasy XIII, they were the size of brontosauruses. Now in Final Fantasy XV, they’re PRACTICALLY FUCKING MOUNTAINS ON LEGS. In Final Fantasy XVI, will the whole world just exist on the shell of one giant fucking adamantoise, or have they finally hit their limit in XV?
what do you think of the cover of turtles all the way down? i didn't like it much when it was announced (it's very different to what i was expecting), but it's grown on me
so here’s the thing, Tutles All the Way Down is designed like an adult lit fic cover, not a YA cover, and your opinion on it is pretty much determined by whether or not that fact is in line with your expectations.
I think it’s a fine angle to take. The publisher was equipped with the rock-solid knowledge that this book would get a ton of attention and adult readership; it makes perfect sense for them to turn to the conventions of “higher” lit for its visual identity and eschew the par for the course cutseyness or heavy-handed representationalism of most contemp ya covers.
As for the design itself, there’s a reason I don’t normally review lit fic covers, and it’s because they tend to be both well-designed and abstract as fuck; reviewing them would be less about trying to pick holes in the near-immaculate design craft and more about disseminating the contents of the book thematically and semiotically, and deciding if the abstract imagery “fits” a story is wildly subjective.
That said, this one is both straightforward and fairly clever, playing on the multiple ideas presented in its odd title as well as the book’s theme of mental illness. The tightening spiral implies rather than represents the Literal Stack of Turtles the title makes you picture while also giving the impression of a downward motion, and moreover lends itself as a visual for the spiraling thoughts and destructive habits the main character struggles with as part of their OCD. The caution-cone orange is alarming, uncomfortable, even, a subconscious call to pay attention, stay alert; the hand-done, messy, textured slant of the letters is a bold contrast to the solid thickness of the spiral. The choice to do the author’s name with no delineation from the title is a choice of minimalism, of introducing as few elements to a thing as possible. There’s really only two elements at all, the black type and the spiral; the tan secondary type being done in the same hand-done style makes it more or less disappear. By the time you get to it visually, you’ve already accepted the weird raw dynamism of this thing, and don’t question the light scrawl off to the side. (And I’d make the argument that it also works because the cover’s subtly balanced: the secondary text is on the bottom left, while the spiral comes in from the top right)
The element that really elevates this, though, is the way some of the letters interact with the spiral, ducking behind or meeting it at edges. It’s a subtle but almost optical-illusion esque way of introducing depth (and possibly thematically reflecting mystery or hidden/obscured things; having not read the book, I don’t know if that’s actually a thing or not, but that would be my guess.)
TL;DR: I don’t personally have an opinion, but I can tell you why it’s well-designed; albeit by minimalist lit fic cover conventions rather than YA ones.
But, as Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand And started to order and give the command, That plain little turtle below in the stack, That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack, Decided he’d taken enough. And he had. And that plain little lad got a bit mad. And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing. He burped! And his burp shook the throne of the king!
Picked up some new toys for Pip today! I got him another set of stacking turtles to throw around, and these stacking boats! They’re easier to topple when they’re stacked the ‘wrong way’ and Pip’s had great fun throwing them around already!