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Colleen Cowley
04-12-2013, 05:18 AM
Hi, all -- I've found the cover threads helpful and fascinating. I'm hoping to get feedback on mine and perhaps help others learn from my mistakes. (I didn't execute the design, but the mistakes would be mine regardless.)

Below is my cover for a contemporary fantasy. Does the genre come across? Do the image and typography work? What ought to be changed?

http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/colleencowley/media/cover275x399_zpse9c411c6.jpg.htmlhttp://s1275.photobucket.com/user/colleencowley/media/cover275x399_zpse9c411c6.jpg.htmlhttp://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y445/colleencowley/cover275x399_zpse9c411c6.jpg


Many thanks!

Colleen
http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/colleencowley/media/cover275x399_zpse9c411c6.jpg.html

alleycat
04-12-2013, 05:47 AM
I think it conveys the genre.

I'm not saying that what you have is bad, but I would have probably at least looked at doing a couple of things differently.

I understand why someone would have chosen a different font for the word Magic, but it's perhaps a little too different since one is such a formal font and the other is such a contemporary one (and one is blue on black and the other is black on blue). I might have look at using a less traditional font for the words The Opposite of. The fonts could have still been different, but have them somewhat related. Or perhaps had them both be the same tone; black on a blurred blue background. It's just a little jarring as it is. I'm not sure, it would just be something to consider.

I think the hands would be better if they weren't at the same level; for example, if the hand on the right was just a little lower, or perhaps reaching up just a little. And, since you have the light source as being the magic in the palm of the hand, I might have darkened the backside of the hand on the left. Maybe. Again, just a consideration.

These are all just minor comments not major criticisms of the design.

Colleen Cowley
04-12-2013, 06:12 AM
Thanks, alleycat! I appreciate the suggestions.

Gale Haut
04-12-2013, 07:06 AM
The lighting is pretty good. The graphic for the bricks I don't love.

The type for your name looks okay to me. I don't like the title. And I really, really don't like the outer glow effect around magic. Why does the font suddenly change and why the word "the" on a separate line? It looks sloppy.

ETA: The whole thing doesn't look sloppy--just the type choices I mentioned.

Colleen Cowley
04-12-2013, 07:50 AM
The graphic for the bricks I don't love.

You don't think bricks should be there at all, or you don't like the look of these particular ones? (We tried a version sans brick -- just black -- but it seemed blank in a bad way.)

The "The" on a separate line is an easy fix. Are you recommending the same font for the entire title, or like alleycat do you think slightly less, um, opposite fonts are the way to go?

Thanks for the feedback!

Cyia
04-12-2013, 07:53 AM
The edges of the hands look ultra sharp because of the bricks, so the cover comes off looking like separate layers. If you're married to the bricks, I'd suggest blending the edges of the hands enough to take the "crisp" effect off of them.

At least that's how it looks to me.

Rachel Udin
04-12-2013, 08:13 AM
Not in love with the bricks and it doesn't read "contemporary" fantasy to me either. Not sure without the synopsis.

The lighting on the bricks doesn't seem to match the lightning... but that may be just me.

The typography on the title needs work the line spacing (leading) needs work. (Bring is closer together) I also triple on what was said about the type. It seems like you're trying to get the type to say too many things. This means you're putting burden on the type, which means the image itself isn't strong enough to communicate what you want.

(This is why a blurb will help with building the concept.)

Get the type to say *one* thing.

Then get each element of the design to also say one thing, or one unified thing. (Color, etc). If you do that and get it to unify, then you'll be able to communicate the concept of your book more clearly and get a unified message in the art.

And you'll get a cleaner design.

I think from what you have up, you need to do some font hunting. Doesn't seem like you're striking what you want out of it.

Right now reads like Fantasy, probably YA. Very structured. I don't get contemporary. (If you had hands with a watch or some such, maybe you could slide it).

And I'm not sure what the book is about from the cover in tone or theme...

Technically executed, it's pretty good save for the type. Concept wise--it's not quite speaking to me. I'm not sure what it's trying to communicate about itself that's special, which doesn't compel me to pick it up.

slhuang
04-12-2013, 09:00 AM
Adding to the chorus saying the change in font in the title isn't working. (I can't say whether it's the change, period, or that the font for "Magic" is TOO different, but it definitely bothers me.)

The bricks don't bother me, but the hands do, and it's possible that what other people have said about the bricks are contributing (it's hard to tell sometimes what affects my perception of graphic design!). The hands bug me because they feel too different -- they feel to me like they've been photoshopped from different sources and don't match in size/lighting/etc.. I also can't tell if what's happening between them is supposed to be electricity or something liquid, though that might be the thumbnail size.

Hope this helps!

Gale Haut
04-12-2013, 09:01 AM
You don't think bricks should be there at all, or you don't like the look of these particular ones? (We tried a version sans brick -- just black -- but it seemed blank in a bad way.)

The "The" on a separate line is an easy fix. Are you recommending the same font for the entire title, or like alleycat do you think slightly less, um, opposite fonts are the way to go?

Thanks for the feedback!

Per the bricks, the execution isn't really there and they appear to be put in place as an afterthought without considering the relationship to the other graphic elements. Take a look at Cyia's beautiful covers in her siggy. The textures are beautifully added in both, and they are also relevant to the covers central message/messages. On the other hand, these bricks look like what you described them as, a quick fix to make the image less blank by using some easy stock that was at hand. Of course, I'm not necessarily saying a texture isn't the answer or that bricks can't work--I just don't think you're quite there yet with this draft.

I agree with many of Rachel's points about the type. She generally gives good critique and has an extraordinary eye for type. What I was personally saying wasn't that you should do a particular thing with the type. I was just pointing out that what you are doing isn't working. You could certainly try using the same typeface for the whole thing (I personally don't like the serifs for this typeface when it's in small caps) and you could totally remove the outer glow or make it more subtle. Those are just suggestions. But if you can tweak the title so that it's in harmony with itself and with the other elements then you've created something successful.

WriterTrek
04-12-2013, 09:06 AM
I didn't even notice the bricks until everyone else started to comment on them. They registered as "properly vague background item" to me, something there to give a little setting concept and to keep it from being blank, and that much was alright (at least on my screen).

I think the fonts are alright though if Magic was slightly larger it might look better (in my opinion). Given the change of font it looks smaller than the word opposite to me, and I think they are meant to be the same size.

I love the colors in general, the blue/black theme. Also love the title for that matter, makes me want to legit read this book.

The primary concern I have is that the hands seem to "pop" a little to much. Not sure how else to put that, but it's like they are standing out a little bit more than they should, or something.

Cheers -- love the cover all around, nicely done.

Ginger Writer
04-12-2013, 06:55 PM
I'm actually alright with the bricks, and I think the color choices are well made. The problem that I have with the font change and the glowing "magic" is this: it makes it look like a MG cover. And that's not a bad thing. If this is a MG or lower YA book, then you might even be able to leave it. But if it's an adult book or a middle-higher YA, then I could definitely see how it might be unappealing to someone in these groups picking it up. I really like the design under your name, though.

Just one final point--I wasn't sure what the white lines between the hands are supposed to be. Are they just wisps of magic? Are they lightning? (If this is the case, then they definitely don't seem crisp enough to me.) This ambiguity isn't necessarily a bad thing, just something to consider. To be perfectly honest, I thought it might be sci-fi at first.

Tezzirax
04-12-2013, 10:47 PM
I would like to see some character to the hands. Perhaps something that shows the conflict...As an example: if the opposite of magic is technology for instance, having one of the hands decorated in mystic jewelry and they other with a cuff and wristwatch would sell a conflict between the two forces for me.

Colleen Cowley
04-13-2013, 12:19 AM
Thanks, all, for taking the time to give feedback! For those of you wondering what the story is about and if it's MG, YA or adult -- it's adult. Here's the quick summary:

Emily Daggett's childhood dream of finding a wizard, becoming extraordinarily powerful and battling evil is belatedly coming true. In the most screwed-up way possible.

First off, the wizard's all wrong. Alexander Hartgrave is a thirty-year-old IT director instead of a silver-haired mage, and he's dead-set against playing the proper role of helpful mentor.

Worse, he thinks Emily's extraordinary, all right because she's uniquely incapable of doing magic.

When adventure overtakes her despite (or rather because of) her oddity, she has to start seeing fantasy like a cold-eyed realist, and fast. Otherwise, her bookish expectations about good and evil will get her, Hartgrave and a lot of other people killed.

---

Side note: Emily is actually anti-magic -- she destroys spellwork and the raw material of magic by touching it, like anti-matter meeting matter. So she's the opposite of magic. What's on the cover is the reaction between her hand and Hartgrave's.

Both hands were photographed for the cover in the same place, so it's interesting/odd that they're coming off as completely different. I wonder if it's partially that the female hand is so much smaller.

Will put up a revised version soon. Thanks!

Colleen Cowley
04-13-2013, 12:30 AM
Here's a revised version with different type, different type placement and slight blur around the hands:

http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y445/colleencowley/cover-redo-bricks_zps6961da1e.jpg?t=1365798257

Here's that same version sans brick:

http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y445/colleencowley/cover-redo-none_zps00af3fae.jpg?t=1365798277

The bricks aren't random: The characters spend a lot of time in an unusual basement. But I realize that "accurate to the story" and "good cover idea" aren't necessarily the same thing.

Oh, and magic isn't the only light source here -- that's why the back of the man's hand isn't completely in shadow.

Thanks!

veinglory
04-13-2013, 12:33 AM
What I get is a man and a child (boy?) and magic. That is all really. The swirly things almost make a heart which makes me vaguely uncomfortable.

Colleen Cowley
04-13-2013, 01:21 AM
What I get is a man and a child (boy?) and magic. That is all really. The swirly things almost make a heart which makes me vaguely uncomfortable.

Yikes, that's frustrating. It's a man and a woman's hand, and the heart is there on purpose. (Supposed to be subtle, so I wouldn't expect that everyone would see the heart. But gah, I wish we'd used a woman with larger hands.)

Cyia
04-13-2013, 01:36 AM
I definitely thought it was a child's hand, too. This came off as a master-apprentice representation, with either electricity or water-based magic transferring between them. Given the title, I expected something along the lines of a magic-hating scientist, maybe even a Frankenstein tale.

The proportions are definitely off if that's supposed to be an adult woman. The wrist is too narrow in proportion to the base of the hand, and the fingers appear stunted. There are no discernible fingernails, which is odd for the graphic of a female hand.

Do you have no pictures of the hands in the reverse, where the man's palm is showing, rather than the woman's? It might help ease the confusion.

Gale Haut
04-13-2013, 02:34 AM
I see major improvements on the overall composition. There's a kerning issue that I immediately see between the W/L in Cowley. The kerning of the O/L in Collen is definitely more relaxed than the rest of the letters.

The gender or age ambiguity problem people are seeing... Her ring finger should be shorter than her index finger. The over exposure on her index hides the fact that it's bent and makes it appear short proportionally like a masculine hand. You could also slim the hand slightly and add a touch of polish to the exposed nail on her thumb. I would personally reduce the contrasts or shading levels on her wrist.

Colleen Cowley
04-13-2013, 03:31 AM
I see major improvements on the overall composition.

Hooray! Thanks for the additional suggestions -- I really appreciate it. They're underway.

Given the brick/no-brick options above, do you think I should look for another brick background or leave it plain black?

Cyia, I don't have photos of the hands in reverse, but my designer -- my poor, put-upon husband -- is fiddling with the woman's hand as Gale recommended. Hopefully that will help.

Gale Haut
04-13-2013, 03:56 AM
I guess I just don't personally like that texture.

Colleen Cowley
04-13-2013, 06:38 AM
I guess I just don't personally like that texture.

Right -- I'm just wondering whether it makes sense to look for a better texture or go with black. (Maybe you meant the latter.)

Sorry to keep asking follow-up questions! I appreciate how generous you have been with your time and don't expect more of it.

Rachel Udin
04-13-2013, 09:19 AM
Without the bricks, it looks more like Adult contemporary.

I still don't like the font--while the sizing looks much better, I still tend to hate font changes of that sort. It makes it seem like you're hitting the viewer too hard.

This is in league with what is typically called, "the Chinese menu problem"

http://thankyouenjoy.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/chinese-menu.jpg

"Look, it's a CHINESE menu."

We already know that. What else can you say about the restaurant without making it scream CHINESE?

With graphics repetition is often not a good idea.

If you have magic in the title, magic in the graphic, you don't need to also scream "This is magic" with the font either.

Ideally the font should say something different and should be the same font throughout. Font changes are seen as last resort in typography. (I mean within the text) and seen as lazy.

What other thing can you communicate with the font selection about your book besides screaming it has magic. Alright--we got that? What else does it have?

Things you can try:

Make it say "contemporary" rather than magic. I.e. make it say a time period. For example, Art Deco would say 1920-30's.

Make it say a specific art movement that relates to the story. For example, recently we had someone who said her story contained "Swing" so I suggested she get the font to say, "Swing"

You can also get it to speak to a certain theme. For example, "Scary" "technological" "structured" "Unstructured" "Whimsical" that fits the feel of your story. You can see this done fairly well in the type choice in Fifty Shades of Grey. One of the characters is a journalist, so the person who designed the cover chose a typewriter font. (Which is echoed, but not resaid by the tie)

Despite that, choose it to lean towards that direction, but don't let it scream it at the viewer.

Anyway, the font you do have now for magic is reading "Aladdin" since it's a brush font, probably made to imitate Arabic a bit. (Which is trad. written with a brush with the sharp ends like that.)

I'd lean towards choosing a unified font that says everything you want it to say and only one font for the entire cover. ('cause you have no idea how I was told NO, limit your fonts.)

BTW, blue in color psychology in the US is supposed to be "rational", though I have a loose theory that this is kind of sex-based psychology. In which after the 1950's, where pink and blue got swapped and Genesis puts forward that men are "rational" and blue got associated with men.

I'll agree with the hands, though women are sometimes said to have more tapered fingers too.

Adding some bling might not be a bad idea either to help the tip off. (Again subtle)

elindsen
04-13-2013, 02:24 PM
The hands don't look right to me. Like they're glued in there. It needs to do...something (sorry, not good with technical names) so that it blends with the background better.

JournoWriter
04-13-2013, 03:55 PM
My first thought looking at the original was that it was a NF book about Wicca for teens. The later versions are better, but I'm still stuck with that impression. Not sure if that's just in my head, though. I spent a lot of time at a bookstore job in college reshelving the religion section.

The small-cap font for "opposite" may need to be all caps, and I'd suggest looking at making "the" and "of" that same size as well.

Colleen Cowley
04-13-2013, 08:35 PM
Thank you, everyone, for the continued feedback. I might work on fixing the current cover -- dealing with the small-hand issue and changing the type per Rachel's suggestions -- but since some (all?) of you think the design itself might be off for a contemporary fantasy, I wanted to try one alternative:

http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y445/colleencowley/cover-arch-small_zps2e5c3e31.jpg

Upsides -- as far as I can tell: More clearly communicates "adult." Shows the setting of the novel. Has a slightly Narnia-ish feeling.

Downsides: The dark-gray on white doesn't look like a novel, though I can't put my finger on why (or how to better integrate the image and the text). And the image might suggest historical, since it's a college built in the nineteenth century.

If you all don't think this is better (or could be better with the right fixes), I'll work on the hands version.

Thank you all for your time. And Rachel, I really appreciated the typography information -- it's fascinating how much the right font can add to (and how much the wrong font can detract from) a cover.

WriterTrek
04-14-2013, 02:02 AM
I like all of them -- with the black cover I prefer the bricks. The second set you posted had the hands looking better, but I did like the original "inverted" colors for the word Magic.

The most recent one looks great as well. It's a bit too different to compare the one with the hands, so it's hard to say which is better.

Personally I like the original idea the best (hands), but as they stand the newest one (with the arch) does look slightly more professional.

Colleen Cowley
04-14-2013, 05:24 AM
Thanks, WriterTrek!

Gale Haut
04-14-2013, 06:23 AM
I like this new image, but... I'm not reading fantasy from it aside from the title and the gradient doesn't transition well on the bottom.

Colleen Cowley
04-14-2013, 06:36 AM
Thanks, Gale. I suspect I'll need to decide whether it's more important to hit the right age range or the right genre with the cover, because I think if I ask my designer to attempt a third option, he'll divorce me. ;-D

Gale Haut
04-14-2013, 06:39 AM
Thanks, Gale. I suspect I'll need to decide whether it's more important to hit the right age range or the right genre with the cover, because I think if I ask my designer to attempt a third option, he'll divorce me. ;-D

Ouch.

alleycat
04-14-2013, 07:04 AM
To me, the later version looks more professional, although I did like the hand-to-hand "sparks" in your first version.

I'm not sure about the use of italic for the word Opposite however. I know this is nitpicking, but you might try using a slightly larger font size for "The Opposite of" (although still making it larger than the word Magic) and setting it closer to the word Magic. I'm not sure; it would just be something I would try.

I might think about darkening it as well, but I'm definitely not sure about that. I could do an example if you'd like.

Colleen Cowley
04-14-2013, 07:26 AM
I might think about darkening it as well, but I'm definitely not sure about that. I could do an example if you'd like.

Sure, if it wouldn't take up much of your time. Thanks! (Editing either version is something I know my designer/husband is willing to do. It's asking for an entirely new design that could cause me grief.)

Thanks also for the other suggestions. I appreciate the time everyone has taken to weigh in.

Colleen Cowley
04-14-2013, 07:28 AM
Whoops, you beat me to it -- I didn't think to refresh before replying. Thanks, alleycat!

alleycat
04-14-2013, 07:31 AM
That is a very quickly-done version. Just something to consider.

I made your name a little larger as well.

Toothpaste
04-14-2013, 07:59 PM
I prefer the latest one, but it doesn't look like it has anything to do with magic at all. It looks like the word in your title is a metaphor. Can you do anything to the current image to hint that this paranormal and not a commercial novel about a boy's first year at a private boarding high school? Maybe add that static electricity from the first image into the gate? Or lightning in the sky? Or some mysterious blue fog? Something "unnatural"?

Gale Haut
04-14-2013, 08:11 PM
I prefer the latest one, but it doesn't look like it has anything to do with magic at all. It looks like the word in your title is a metaphor. Can you do anything to the current image to hint that this paranormal and not a commercial novel about a boy's first year at a private boarding high school? Maybe add that static electricity from the first image into the gate? Or lightning in the sky? Or some mysterious blue fog? Something "unnatural"?

Like two hands sparking over the current image? :D

Colleen Cowley
04-14-2013, 08:27 PM
I prefer the latest one, but it doesn't look like it has anything to do with magic at all. It looks like the word in your title is a metaphor. Can you do anything to the current image to hint that this paranormal and not a commercial novel about a boy's first year at a private boarding high school? Maybe add that static electricity from the first image into the gate? Or lightning in the sky? Or some mysterious blue fog? Something "unnatural"?


Like two hands sparking over the current image? :D

~snort~

Book covers show up on Amazon at a size significantly smaller than what we're looking at here. I suspect that any attempt to magic up this image -- adding magical energy to the lamp, for instance -- won't really be visible. (An advantage of the simpler hands version, I suppose.)

I'll chew over it and see if anything comes to mind. Thanks!

Gale Haut
04-14-2013, 09:58 PM
Book covers show up on Amazon at a size significantly smaller than what we're looking at here. I suspect that any attempt to magic up this image -- adding magical energy to the lamp, for instance -- won't really be visible. (An advantage of the simpler hands version, I suppose.)


Everyone tries using this excuse at least once when they've decided to give up. Yes you have a thumbnail, but the potential reader will have the option to enlarge if they're interested. And that really is the goal in having the thumbnail in the first place.

Colleen Cowley
04-14-2013, 10:57 PM
Everyone tries using this excuse at least once when they've decided to give up. Yes you have a thumbnail, but the potential reader will have the option to enlarge if they're interested. And that really is the goal in having the thumbnail in the first place.

Sure, but if this newer image isn't really communicating "fantasy" OR "adult," I'm in danger of not getting my target audience to click in the first place, right?

I haven't given up on it -- I'm still chewing over it. But it does drive home to me the advantage of a simple (or deceptively simple) design, a la this one: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YTI01Y/?tag=lesgedi-20

Thanks for the food for thought!

slhuang
04-14-2013, 11:24 PM
Side note: Emily is actually anti-magic -- she destroys spellwork and the raw material of magic by touching it, like anti-matter meeting matter. So she's the opposite of magic. What's on the cover is the reaction between her hand and Hartgrave's.

To me this was the most interesting part of your summary (in fact, I think it should be in your blurb! "Uniquely incapable of magic" is so . . . un-descriptive). Is there a way you could showcase this destructive feeling on the cover? Your two designs so far are very . . . passive-feeling. The first one feels to me like a mentorship but not a dynamic one; in fact the "magic" on the first cover doesn't look like a reaction between the hands to me -- it looks like the hands working together/transferring skills. The second cover puts me in mind of haunted boarding school stories (that sort of mood) and feels a little old-fashioned. That said, I like the design of the second one better; it just doesn't seem to match your summary.

What kind of destruction does she wreak? If you had some sort of artifact exploding on the cover or something, it would pique my interest. Is the tone of your novel humorous? If so, you could try contrasting contradictory elements, like something mundane with something clearly fantastic.

Sorry, I know you said you didn't want to try a third design! Neither of the first two feels like it matches your book, though, IMHO.

Colleen Cowley
04-15-2013, 12:02 AM
To me this was the most interesting part of your summary (in fact, I think it should be in your blurb! "Uniquely incapable of magic" is so . . . un-descriptive). Is there a way you could showcase this destructive feeling on the cover? ... Is the tone of your novel humorous? If so, you could try contrasting contradictory elements, like something mundane with something clearly fantastic.

My first idea for a cover was a computer workstation (screen on and glowing) visible behind an arch -- similar to the arch in Cover Attempt No. 2 -- because it had that complete-opposite feeling. And it happens to be what the main character's office looks like. But DH (designer husband) thought it would be hard to pull off. And the idea is probably no better than the other two.

As cool as I think anti-magic is, I left it out of the blurb for one reason: As a reader, I hate, hate, hate it when the blurbs give away turning points that don't come very early on. This is the one for Act 1, so it's fully a quarter of the way in.

I might be alone in this passionate hatred. I might find that I need to give more of the plot away -- that readers would rather know what's going to happen and just see how you manage to get there. Indie publishing is one big adventure.

Thanks for the suggestions, slhuang!

Colleen Cowley
04-15-2013, 12:12 AM
Another try at the original cover, with different bricks, a larger female hand (now with nails!) and a revamped title:

http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y445/colleencowley/cover-emboss-sm_zpsdadb4122.jpg


I realize you all might be sick unto death of offering feedback -- I won't blame you if you flee. I'll keep chewing over the various suggestions, and thank you very much for offering them.

Toothpaste
04-15-2013, 12:38 AM
Can you give us maybe a list of particular images that you think represent the story aside from the hands? Just so we can brainstorm with you. There's nothing inherently wrong with that cover, it's just . . . well . . . it looks cheesy (at least to me). I think you want something with a bit more style and class, especially as this is an adult novel.

Think about your novel, are their any symbols, moments, a vignette? Anything. Just write a list of things even if you think some might be silly.

veinglory
04-15-2013, 12:41 AM
I think those hands are better for showing a man and woman

Gale Haut
04-15-2013, 12:54 AM
That image looks a lot better than your original. The brick texture is more interesting, too.

Cyia
04-15-2013, 02:00 AM
The bricks definitely look a lot better, as does the female hand. :Thumbs:

Colleen Cowley
04-15-2013, 05:02 AM
That image looks a lot better than your original. The brick texture is more interesting, too.

I would try to put into words how happy that makes me, but nothing really captures it. Except maybe squeee! (Yeah, I know "a lot better" doesn't necessarily mean "good," but at least I'm moving in the right direction.)

And veinglory, I'm so glad the woman's hand now looks like it could in fact belong to a woman. Progress!

Cyia, thanks for the thumbs up. (I love your covers.)

Toothpaste, it's very kind of you to offer brainstorming help. I wish there were an obvious image -- like the pin in The Hunger Games -- but nothing immediately comes to mind.

The main character is a college lecturer with a bizarre basement office that's really a corridor rather than a room. The only room in that basement, in fact, is a secret one, and that's where the wizard holes himself up.

I suppose if I were to attempt a third cover, it would be a mashup of the two -- the arch and light attached to it with nothing but darkness on the other side, and the typography of the newest cover.

Toothpaste
04-15-2013, 07:25 AM
Well how about this? It isn't perfect (the font isn't quite right and the image might need some tweaking), but I think it gets across something more grown up and intriguing. It's based on your secret room in the basement idea. Remember, things on covers don't need to look exactly how they look in the book, they should evoke a basic idea from the book.

No worries if you don't like it though! I had fun playing :) .

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u179/adriennekress/opposite_zpsf7cc5a1e.jpg

Colleen Cowley
04-15-2013, 03:35 PM
Toothpaste, that's incredibly generous of you -- thanks! Where on Shutterstock is that image?

Toothpaste
04-15-2013, 06:19 PM
You're welcome!

Here it is: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-75430414/stock-photo-secret-room-in-old-bunker-open-the-door-with-danger-sign.html

Obviously I erased the skull :) .

I just typed "secret door vector" into google image search and this was one that came up, I'm not sure if you'd need the "vector" part actually. There were some other interesting options. "Mysterious door vector" also produced some good ones :) .

Colleen Cowley
04-15-2013, 06:39 PM
Obviously I erased the skull :).

Hee! Thanks for the link, and thanks again for taking the time to mock up a cover.

Toothpaste
04-15-2013, 07:18 PM
My pleasure.

Rachel Udin
04-15-2013, 07:30 PM
http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y445/colleencowley/cover-arch-small_zps2e5c3e31.jpg



Feels like a romantic fantasy. I get images of English countryside and stuffy nobles for some reason in Victorian garb... (It's probably the lamp). ^^;; I don't think that's what you want. Though it would be an awesome novel to have stuffy nobles using magic in high Victorian society, and one I would read it doesn't match the IT description you had.




http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y445/colleencowley/cover-emboss-sm_zpsdadb4122.jpg


I realize you all might be sick unto death of offering feedback -- I won't blame you if you flee. I'll keep chewing over the various suggestions, and thank you very much for offering them.

Much better. I quibble with the t in "the" being lower case, but it's much more on target.

The lighting looks better, the bricks look better, and I get the sense that the other hand is female right away. I still wish that it was tipped a bit towards contemporary a bit more like with a wrist watch or something, but I'm really nitpicking. (The cement bricks do read after 1950's, but then I'm kind of a nerd all around... so I would know that).



http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u179/adriennekress/opposite_zpsf7cc5a1e.jpg
I know I sound like a broken record... and probably horrible for saying this of free work...

But Typography. TT

Good font for a contemporary feel and to communicate magic, good image, but the setting of the typography...

The of on its own line... I'm picking on it because my typography prof picked on it. --;; I think I made every mistake before I finally got it. He'd say something like "What is that ugly negative space, there and there?" Yeah...

This one, conceptually, reads to me contemporary dark fantasy, but I have no idea what it is about. The font saves it from reading Urban Fantasy, though (at least to me). The green dominant in the image also gives a different feel color-wise, as it goes away from the original subtle triadic towards more of a dark analogous. Green is associated with sickness (in our culture at least), and also open fields. But in this case, it's reading "trapped" and "sickness" due to the context. (I also think of the Wicked Witch of the West, but then I might have weird associations)

The tone of the one above this one reads like it's a lighter tone overall. (Like there could be humor, despite the dark setting.) The blue reads as wisdom, even in the dark. With the heart there, it promises a love story.

Which kinda goes to show you that concept and thinking through it first is important. Just like you choose what to communicate through writing, art does the same. <-- and you have no idea how much this was hammered through my head.

So what is your book? The art should match that in one glance.

Toothpaste
04-15-2013, 07:37 PM
Good points all (though I'd argue a green light to me suggests something otherworldly, possibly sinister yes, but not sickly, not when it's a glowing light - ah the delightful issue of personal perception).

Interesting you seem particularly fond of the hands and I rather dislike them (to me the cover looks very self published and cheesy - but this is very much just my own personal opinion, not some universal truth), again, totally about perspective.

So ultimately it needs to be up to the author, and I agree, what is the tone of your book? All three covers are very different tone (and even genre) wise. It might bode well to google books you think are similar in tone and see what they have done with their covers. You want to both fit in and stand out. Which is why designing covers is such a tricky game :) .

(also, OP, I will not be offended in the least if you go with something else, have no fears with that)

Rachel Udin
04-16-2013, 05:47 AM
Interesting you seem particularly fond of the hands and I rather dislike them (to me the cover looks very self published and cheesy - but this is very much just my own personal opinion, not some universal truth), again, totally about perspective.

Not really, just commenting that the human aspect brings in the graphic design rule that human objects are more relatable and thus "warm" which fits with what she posted as a blurb.

Doesn't mean there isn't a concept better out there, but of the three that's been posted, it seems she wants something dark, yet funny.

Seriously, though, I usually think through the concept first so my art doesn't go all over the place and then pick and choose my font, colors, arrangement and images off of the concept. Rather than reverse engineering, which is much harder because there is nothing to unify it.

My check boxes would be: Theme, tone, genre, and what makes it special above all others like it (which should come from the book's blurb--a central idea that makes people want to read it.). But not to be too literal with each. Make sense? If you can nail the concept, everything can unite towards the concept, including the type setting, size relationships, arrangement, negative space, color, images, etc.

Even though I don't exactly believe in the psychology of colors since it's mostly a Victorian Concept (excuse my nerding), I still like playing with the ideas occasionally. I rely on color theory more though. (Meaning the relationship of colors to each other on the color wheel).

veinglory
04-16-2013, 06:49 AM
In my very non-expert opinion, the revised "hands" cover is good to go.

Colleen Cowley
04-16-2013, 07:04 AM
Doesn't mean there isn't a concept better out there, but of the three that's been posted, it seems she wants something dark, yet funny.

Hee! I know you were partially joking, but that's right. The story starts off light and gets darker as it goes, but the main character never entirely loses her essential whimsicalness. So a seriously ominous cover would not catch the tone of the novel.

Thank you so much for taking the time to critique the three newest images -- and to explain what they're conveying and how.

I'm blown away by you all, actually. I love this community.

Gale Haut
04-16-2013, 07:21 AM
In my very non-expert opinion, the revised "hands" cover is good to go.

Well, I am bothered by the overlapping text.

*ducks*

Colleen Cowley
04-16-2013, 07:29 AM
Well, I am bothered by the overlapping text.

*ducks*

I figured someone would be. :-D

veinglory
04-16-2013, 07:30 AM
Yeah, I don't love the overlapping text now you point it out. But I don't think there is any need to redo the whole concept from scratch. Simple designs featuring hands are not exactly book killers (e.g. Twilight Book 1)

But again, I know nothing about design beyond what looks nice to me.

Gale Haut
04-16-2013, 07:50 AM
It's not the best placement--especially for "of"--and I don't really like the italics. Though the white doesn't bother me so much. Sort of looks good with the sparks. Just IMO.

Every single word doesn't have to be centered anyway. I think "the" and "of" could be placed in several different ways without compromising legibility.

Colleen Cowley
04-16-2013, 03:24 PM
As an alternative, I think the "the" could nestle over the first "p" of Opposite and the "of" could go next to "Magic." That would require "Magic" to shift to the right, of course.

Gale Haut
04-16-2013, 08:06 PM
I'd have to see it, but it does sound like it could work. They might also look better in caps, like the rest of the text, and in the same type.

Rachel Udin
04-17-2013, 10:40 PM
Well, I am bothered by the overlapping text.

*ducks*
I thought about picking on it... but then *laughs* I didn't want to be the one to do it. Thank you for doing it for me...

Other than that, the hands one seems closest... so go with that and tweek it.

Gale Haut
04-18-2013, 12:42 AM
I thought about picking on it... but then *laughs* I didn't want to be the one to do it. Thank you for doing it for me...

Other than that, the hands one seems closest... so go with that and tweek it.

Hahaha! I was waiting for you to say something!

Colleen Cowley
04-18-2013, 05:13 AM
Hahaha! I was waiting for you to say something!

Yeah, I was startled that she didn't and thought, "OK, maybe that's the one unusual text thing we're actually allowed to do!"

Gale Haut
04-18-2013, 06:20 AM
I'm sure there's away where it could be done well... Who knows.

Rachel Udin
04-20-2013, 09:18 AM
I nitpicked on one thing, so ya know, I didn't want to seem like too much of a tidwad. ^^;; I wrote it and deleted it a few times, then went "Meh"

I kind of liked the type treatment where you had "The Opposite of" (smaller) on one line and then Magic on the next. But that may kill your size relationships you want. (As in opposite being important)

The other option is to change the title to kill the "the" and the "of" but that's probably not what you want... (I'll throw it out there anyway. Magic's Opposite, for example. =P Would make typesetting easier. But I know, I know. Graphic Designers shouldn't make title change suggestions just to suit the design.)

I'm not really highly skilled in type setting, so I can't think of other options besides those. TT I feel like I failed my schooling somehow.

Oh and keep the font the same. You can change the colors, don't change the font. Keep to one throughout unless you have a REALLY good reason not to.

Anyway, it's just typography issues from here. And most of it is thinking through your emphasis which will create the size relationships you need.

Colleen Cowley
04-20-2013, 03:28 PM
I nitpicked on one thing, so ya know, I didn't want to seem like too much of a tidwad.

I don't mind nitpicks -- they're helpful.

And yeah, I did have a moment of, "WHY did I pick a title with 'the' and 'of,'" but ultimately, it needs to be that way. So much of the novel is about the opposite of what the character expects or wants. (My second novel will be easier. Title's only one word.)

Thanks!