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  1. #1
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    Book Cover Designs

    I'd quite like to get into book cover designing. I've already had an image used on my first (non-fiction) historical book, 'The Rise and Fall of the Knights Templar'. Hopefully my second (non-fiction) Templar book (out soon) will also feature some of my artwork. The first image here shows the designs I've submitted to the publisher as suggestions. The second two are mock-ups for covers to old stories of mine (one being a Hellraiser fan-fic, the other original), done simly as practices for designs for the fiction genre. I hope one day to approach publishers for work designing covers, as mentioned, and would appreciate any c&c on these things.

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    Last edited by dashinvaine; August 26th, 2007 at 09:50 PM.
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  3. #2
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    You need to look over the typography dude. There are some good books on the subject.
    This one for example.

    [url=http://galleryonefone.blogspot.com[/url] This would be my gallery in Sweden

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  4. #3
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    What's wrong with it?

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  5. #4
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    Thing with typography is that there are dozens of rules to remember. Rules that help the eye move around the page, rules that take in how colours interact with one another and how the eye gets tired...ya-da-ya-da...I took a type course last semester in college. If you can't find/purchase any typography books I recommend looking at Wassily Kandinsky's work during his time at the Bauhaus (look up the bauhaus as well..particularily the type aspect) ..you'll notice a lot of imaginary lines that line up text and unify pieces....also look at kerning (it stands for the spacing between letters). You may be able to google some rules on type if you're lucky...well actually you'll most likely be able to find something. Hope that rambling makes some sense...but type is very important ..particularily in books . lol lats for now

    EDIT: what program are you using. If its not QuarkXpress I recommend looking into that. It's the standard for print production

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  6. #5
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    Yes but at risk of repeating myself what's wrong with it? What rules have I transgressed in my ignorance? And it's done in photoshop, with downloaded fonts.

    Not a big fan of Bauhaus, by the way, unless it's the Bela Lugosi's Dead Bauhaus.

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  7. #6
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    Lol well in that case I apologize. There really is nothing wrong with it. The only suggestion I have is to justify the text at the back, as in make the title the same width as the body text. it leads the eye better. Other than that I don't see anything that I would change.

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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dashinvaine View Post
    Yes but at risk of repeating myself what's wrong with it? What rules have I transgressed in my ignorance? And it's done in photoshop, with downloaded fonts.


    there really are quite a few typographical "errors' here,
    in typography as in art there is no real "wrong"

    but more about stylistic consistency and cohesion ..like in all design
    its about sticking to the rules you have made for the world your design .

    for instance it is widely consider a no-no to have the same font at widely different heights as you do, in your examples.
    maaaan thats a faux pax

    says who? 99% probability your publisher or art director will. (or who-ever)

    believe me they will send it back to you and ask you to fix it.
    (thats the real definition of wrong right there )

    remember: these are a lot of the same issues raised re: your website.

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    Last edited by kingshaj; August 29th, 2007 at 09:38 PM.
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  9. #8
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    I like #1 and #5 the most. Probably because of the image used. #5 is going to give you the least amount of trouble with lining up the spine, but that stuff shouldn't be a real problem anyway. The two with the white covers tend to not work as well, at least if there's text on the very first page. If you have a 10pt cover weight than you'll probably be able to see through it. From a typography standpoint the only thing I would recommend is to do a better job with aligning the fonts. The fonts are heavy enough for a title and seem to fit the books. Most of what you have on the back cover should probably be spaced a little differently as well, and could probably be a smaller font size.

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  10. #9
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    make sure you center and align every element with some logic you can defend....

    ask yourself: is this centered with whats around it? aligned? if not is it a good reason....

    otherwise they'll send it back

    remember layman can see this stuff too, they just dont know whats exactly wrong.

    but they see it as sloppy in general.

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  11. #10
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    Hi.

    A couple of things: The title of the book and the author's name on the spine need to be relatively the same size. You're competing with other books on the shelf.

    You also have too many fonts on the outside back cover, also try the author's name in a font that's not outlined..maybe the same as the title.

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  12. #11
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    dashinvaine,

    Several things that jump out at me... first, the type generally seems to lack 'weight', 'substance' & 'character'. You can better manipulate the size, kerning, and character of the type in Adobe Illustrator or Quark Express (or any equivalent program), where about 99% of all the books & magazines use to create their type & logos.

    When you go to the bookstore and you look at the displays of books from a distance, the strength of design must really be able to catch the customer's eye. Your design is competing with hundreds of other books that are sitting right next to it, so obviously your design must be outstanding.

    Do you have the rudimentary knowledge of where to place type and such on a book cover? Sure. But to me, they overall come across as rather weak, both in type choice and illustration.

    As far as the type goes, everything looks quite flat. Not very substantial, which may be due to the choice of type, or due to your not adding (for example) under-layers to your type. Something, anything that would help dimensionalize your work. That could help make the type much more readable, especially from 10-15 feet away.

    Essentially, your cover designs look flat enough to have a 'wallpaper' effect. Nothing graphically 'pops'. Very bland.

    The illustrations look very insubstantial. On your samples #2-4, the illustration elements are weakly done. The Knight on the horse has major problems with anatomy and structure. The helmet/sword/shield combination simply lacks dimension and character.

    The back cover on #1-4 is the strongest element. I can sort of tell that it's a tunnel of some sort, but it is difficult to 'read'. At least it is a much stronger graphic element, and it seems to have a bit of character to the illustration. However, it's a stronger element, but not by much.

    The last 2 designs, again, are incredibly flat. You seem to have added a layer of sophistication to some of the type, but really only a very small layer, and not even that sophisticated. You simply stroked a colored rim around the letters, which is the easiest thing to do in Photoshop.

    I agree with kingshaj. This also applies to your website.

    So, you do have skills. You do know how to put together the elements that make up a book cover. This is a good thing!

    But I really think you need to go to a bookstore and spend some hours in there absorbing the BEST OF THE BEST of the kinds of designs that are there to behold. Even book cover design is an art.

    I personally believe that the biggest, best thing you can ever do for yourself is to acquire the ability to really know what the highest standard of professional quality is, and then to know exactly precisely how your work compares to it.

    THAT, more than almost anything, will guide you in the right direction towards knowing how to correct any problems in your design. If you do not have this ability, then you will constantly be spinning your legs, yet really getting nowhere.

    I believe you're able to step up your game quite a lot! I think you're off to a decent start.

    Good luck!

    Last edited by magnut; August 29th, 2007 at 10:47 PM.
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  13. #12
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    I designed book covers for years and the thing that always stuck in my mind from my art director/boss was his constant advice: "Give the Type Some Distinction!"

    *anybody* can type words out using a ready-made font.

    But only the talented and design-educated will be able to come up with the typographic conception *prior* to hitting illustrator or In Design (or whatever program you're using). And then find the font that fits. And then manipulate that font in illustrator, adding swashes here, connecting serifs there, adjusting kerning to equalize the spacial areas between letters, etc, etc, etc...

    My advice, is similar to the other bits of advice offered on this thread. But also...

    Get a hold of as many great book covers as you possibly can and start analyzing them. Start a notebook about design.

    When you really get into graphic design, the great thing that happens is your illustration becomes way way better because half of illustration is design!

    Good luck,
    kev

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  14. #13
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    Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I will return to these when I rally my morale. I wish I'd concentrated more in the graphics module of the art side of my degree (did joint honours with history) unfortunately graphics was on friday mornings, and the student night at the Worcester nightclubs, which I kept getting dragged off to, was on thursdays. I've just come to the end of an MA in Crusader Studies in London so am still surrounded by books, and a lot of their covers break every rule mentioned above (though I now see that others are better, and why.)

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