PDA

View Full Version : How to make my cover sizzle!



girlyswot
06-10-2013, 06:24 AM
This is my cover for my next self-published book:

http://theoldshed.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/hot-summer-night-thumbnail.jpg

(bigger version here (http://theoldshed.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/hot-summer-night1.jpg))

What I want is for it to look like the cover ends with the blue section but that it has a sort of hot shimmer outside that. Ready Brek glow, if that means anything to anyone.

I'm sort of okay with how I've got it, but it's still niggling at me as being not quite right. Does anyone have suggestions as to how it could be improved?

Thanks!

Kerosene
06-10-2013, 06:44 AM
Cut the section between lake and sky. Then give the lake a light shade of blue, and then do sunset-colored gradient radiating from the lake and sky's meeting point.

The dark blue/purple is not helping the red to stand out; the colors are clashing and they are too dark. You need both contrast and direction for the eye.

And I don't like the border. If you want a border, maybe a fade to white.

Gale Haut
06-10-2013, 06:50 AM
I like the color scheme. The border isn't communicating hot simmer effect to me. But why does the border need to convey that anyway? Call me crazy but my instinct is to mess with the type. I would probably make the "i" lowercase and create a little flame for the dot. It's not my cover though, and I don't actually know what it's about.

girlyswot
06-10-2013, 06:53 AM
Um, okay. Gale, I would have to shoot dead anyone who tried to put a random lower case i in the middle of an all caps title. ;)

But does anyone have any actual answers to my question? I know what I want it to do. I'm just trying to work out how.

ETA: sorry, having read through my original post, I realise my question was not as clear as I thought. I'm mostly just looking for advice about the border, rather than the main cover. I'll take on board comments about the main cover, though I might not follow them all here.

It's a short story romance. Set on a yacht in Sardinia.

Gale Haut
06-10-2013, 09:29 AM
Um, okay. Gale, I would have to shoot dead anyone who tried to put a random lower case i in the middle of an all caps title. ;)

Death seems harsh, since my idea wasn't random but for the purpose of the design. You can break rules when you do it in a clever way. And really I was only trying to help.

(Examples of broken rules...)
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2462/3902261048_ab7949f9fa.jpg
http://www.awwwards.com/awards/images/2011/12/typeandlogo-35.jpg

To answer your question. You could try applying a red gradient to the border and then selecting the "dissolve effect" as the blending mode for the gradient layer. That will give a pixelated dissolve effect. If you don't want the dissolve to be quite so sharp you could merge and blur the effect with the blur tool.

Good luck.

Polenth
06-10-2013, 11:28 AM
The border doesn't say hot shimmer or Ready Brek to me (and Ready Brek says "I got hit by a radiation leak and developed superpowers" rather than summer heat). The border makes it feel constrained and controlled, which is likely the opposite of the desired effect. You're asking for a fix, but I don't see one that involves that border.

If it didn't have the border and the purple/blue was less saturated, I think it'd work. That would make the title and boats pop out more, like they're hot.

(And do bear in mind you asked for critiques... just like writing critiques, they may not be what you want to hear.)

girlyswot
06-10-2013, 01:52 PM
Death seems harsh, since my idea wasn't random but for the purpose of the design. You can break rules when you do it in a clever way. And really I was only trying to help.

I know. Sorry. I meant to say that with a grin.



To answer your question. You could try applying a red gradient to the border and then selecting the "dissolve effect" as the blending mode for the gradient layer. That will give a pixelated dissolve effect. If you don't want the dissolve to be quite so sharp you could merge and blur the effect with the blur tool.

Thanks. That is what I have been doing, but maybe it needs a sharper gradient. I will try again.

Good luck.[/QUOTE]

girlyswot
06-10-2013, 01:54 PM
The border doesn't say hot shimmer or Ready Brek to me (and Ready Brek says "I got hit by a radiation leak and developed superpowers" rather than summer heat). The border makes it feel constrained and controlled, which is likely the opposite of the desired effect. You're asking for a fix, but I don't see one that involves that border.

If it didn't have the border and the purple/blue was less saturated, I think it'd work. That would make the title and boats pop out more, like they're hot.


I did and I will try that. It's hard when you have something in your head and can't figure out how to get it on the page. I know this border isn't quite right - that's why I asked for help. I don't want it to look like a cover with a border. I want it to look like a cover which is glowing with heat.

Thanks.

girlyswot
06-10-2013, 03:21 PM
Okay, here's what I have now. I'm a lot happier with the border effect. I've also tried playing with the background colour, but I 'm not completely convinced.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7406/9004910219_af4e7b184a_n.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7395/9004909439_452007f78d_n.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7325/9006088316_8dcbd81f28_n.jpg

DeleyanLee
06-10-2013, 05:04 PM
I like the last one, FWIW, since I can actually read the title on it. And everything else is more "hot" against the lighter background. The darker backgrounds just seem to absorb everything from the flame colors, which spoils all effects.

Motley
06-10-2013, 06:12 PM
I agree that the dark blue-orange combo is a bit hard to read. It took me a while to figure out what the picture was at all, quite frankly.

Have you considered dark gray? I know it's not too exciting, but it would look like an ash-covered glowing coal then.

I am not a graphic designer though... at all.

LBlankenship
06-10-2013, 06:19 PM
I know you were looking for feedback on the border, but no border can tell me it's a hot summer night when the art isn't telling me that. It took me a while to figure out what it was and there's nothing about boats on a lake that conveys heat, to me. Or night, for that matter.

weibart
06-10-2013, 09:22 PM
Okay, here's what I have now. I'm a lot happier with the border effect. I've also tried playing with the background colour, but I 'm not completely convinced.
I think the 3rd cover you have there is the most successful design because of the contrast in colors which help the border pop. The black linework in the first two covers gets a bit lost against the dark purple-ish/blue, whereas it's more noticeable in the 3rd image. A trick I've found helpful is to squint your eyes at the image and see what colors pop - if you squint at your 3rd cover, more colors are distinguishable, whereas with the firs two covers the details around the boat melt into the background a bit and overall the image looks a bit dark.

Personally, I don't think you need a gradient in the yellow border. I would consider trying a solid yellow border and see how that looks.

veinglory
06-10-2013, 10:38 PM
Are you married to that artwork? It is pretty much indecipherable at thumbnail size and gives no genre clues that I am detecting.

LJD
06-10-2013, 11:17 PM
Are you married to that artwork? It is pretty much indecipherable at thumbnail size and gives no genre clues that I am detecting.

I know you were mainly looking for advice about the border, but I agree.

Briefly looking at your avatar, I can't tell at all what it is.
I don't mind the artwork at a larger size, but it doesn't suggest romance to me.

What it reminds me of: the illustrations in old children's books. I remember a book of stories I had when I was young (one that originally belonged to my dad, actually) that had pictures much like this.

I think a lake scene with boats could work just fine (and, given it's set on a yacht, I get why you'd want that to be on your cover) but not in this style.


If you are completely set on that art, I don't like the background quite so dark because I can't see the black lines. I prefer the last version in post #9, though I don't think the shade of blue is quite right--it's a little drab.

Rachel Udin
06-11-2013, 03:23 AM
I have fourth the comment on the artwork and design. I really dislike the border and would prefer you kill it and then work more on the internal design. My Design Prof also hated borders when margins communicate the same thing...

Design doesn't have to be so literal either. Good design like a good book has subtle flavors to it.

Gale has good instincts too. As does LJD...

girlyswot
06-12-2013, 02:50 PM
Thanks for everyone's thoughts. I've had to put back the release of the book because my PhD supervisor has suddenly decided it would be good to submit my thesis this month rather than next. So everything else is on hold while I do that, including this cover.