In his series on the Hugo Novel nominees, Pablo Defendini of Tor.com is taking a look at both the US and UK covers for Ian McDonald's Brasyl.Our cover was designed by Jacqueline Cooke, illustration by Stephan Martiniere. The U.K. Edition Illustration & Design is by Dominic Harman, (another fine artist that we have engaged for our upcoming James Enge title, btw.)
Full analysis and subsequent discussion well-worth checking out, but I'm particularly gratified that Pablo got what the overlays of the title were meant to represent:
"The neon/florescent color scheme for both the painting and the type certainly communicates a sense of electric vibration, which ties in nicely with the concept of quantum computing (and certainly reminds us of Terry Gilliam’s film by the same name). Perhaps florescent or otherwise special inks were used in printing—the final effect is blindingly intense. Overlaying three instances of the title, off-register with each other and in three different neon colors adds to this vibration. It also complements the bustle depicted in the street scene nicely. Additionally, the three instances of the title relate conceptually to the three-story structure of the novel. While the choice of typefaces is somewhat orthodox, and could be perceived as boring under other circumstances, I think it works in this case: anything more complicated or ornate for the title would have rendered it much harder to read, when coupled with the three-instance treatment; and the simplicity and directness of the sans-serif typeface used for the author’s name serves as a nice contrast to the busy, hectic feel of the title proper. It also adds a solid, light-valued area to the top of the composition, which helps balance out the lightest areas of the illustration towards the bottom, and tie the composition together a little better."