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zclesa
04-06-2018, 05:21 AM
Hi,

I've been looking at all your wonderful covers for fiction and feeling a wee bit jealous. If I ever self-pub a fiction book, I will ask you who your designers were! But I'm over in the non-fiction world at the moment, and book covers are a little different there. Some of the most famous self-help books in the world only consist of a couple of colours and lettering (with perhaps one image thrown in).

So, bearing that in mind, would anyone please give me feedback on my cover for a personal development book? It's the first of a series. I want to create them all similarly, using the same typeface and colours for the background and title, varying the colour of the subtitle, with a relevant image in the middle to make it more eye-catching.

The cover for the first book is here (http://www.wiseism.com/wiseism-books/)

It's on my own website. I also wanted to match the colours and typeface of the book to my website's branding, which is why I've posted it here. Please ignore the dreadful design of the sign-up box - I will deal with that later. You can be brutally honest about the design of the jacket.

Thanks a mill.

MaeZe
04-06-2018, 08:00 AM
It's decent. Lettering, image, all look fine.

The question is, will it make your self-help book stand out on a shelf full of self-help books?

I'm sorry I don't have an answer to that question. :(

zclesa
04-06-2018, 02:03 PM
Thanks for the feedback Maeze. I'm glad you think it looks OK. I am hoping the title and the image stand out enough on Amazon as a thumbnail (always my goal) that people will be curious. Obviously, I will be doing a lot of marketing too.

Shawna Doersch
04-06-2018, 02:52 PM
I think it's decently eye catching with a readable font. If I was looking for a mental self help book I might stop and at least read the blurb for this one.

I'm just wondering why you went with purple for the light bulb? There's something about that shade of lavender that made it have a bit less stopping power as I scanned the page. Could just be me though, I'm weird about colors.

zclesa
04-06-2018, 03:50 PM
Thanks Shawna. That's helpful. The purple was for a couple of reasons. If anyone else has a lightbulb on their cover it's going to be yellow, right? So I wanted something different. Purple is associated with wisdom, imagination and creativity, which reflects the contents f the book. Many people find it also a calming but intriguing colour. Not you maybe, ;). But a lot of people feel that way about it. So, that's kind of why.

I plan on going with different image and subtitle colours for the rest of the series - depending on what the topic is. So, if it was health, I might go for a nice green colour etc.

lizmonster
04-06-2018, 04:12 PM
I like the imagery, and I think the colors work OK. The font treatment, though, says "Hello, I am a self-published book." Which isn't a doomer, but I'd fiddle with that a bit if I were you.

zclesa
04-06-2018, 04:28 PM
Thanks Liz, what do you mean about "font treatment?" Is it the actual font, the size, or it looking a little flat? I chose the font because it matches the brand logo and works well on both a thumbnail and an actual cover (good spacing for each).

Marissa D
04-06-2018, 05:24 PM
What lizmonster said--the title and all need work. For starters, they're not centered on each other. I'm not a graphic designer (though I do occasionally play one on tv) :) so it's hard to explain precisely why the lettering doesn't work, but I can say that it's too large on the page. A little aesthetic blank space is your friend.

mrsmig
04-06-2018, 05:29 PM
To me, the lettering looks uneven. I think it's because the letters are squeezed together so tightly.

zclesa
04-06-2018, 06:35 PM
Thanks, Melissa and Mrsmig. I can see what you mean. It's really difficult to get the writing correct because I'm working with Createspace and I never know exactly where their trim is going to cut off until I receive a proof copy, and then that allows me to adjust sizes - but then I have to line it all up again, and sometimes I will miss bits!

I can see clearly that my name doesn't line up with "A Wiseism Book". I'm not sure which bit is out of line - my name or that text (I'm suffering from chronic migraine at the moment, so it makes me a bit cross-eyed). I will dig my latest proof out and get a ruler, I think!

Thanks so much for your feedback :)

zclesa
04-06-2018, 06:54 PM
I just dug out my proof copy - on the actual book, the "Wisdom" bit of the main title is perfectly centred (due to the wraparound spine width on the jacket), so I think I'll have to cut off a bit on the left when I display it with only the front cover and for ebook purposes. And that gives me an idea of where to start from. If that bit is centred OK, then I will use that to adjust the other bits. Picking up the book, I understand what you're saying about it being a little crowded as well. It would benefit from slightly smaller lettering.

Marissa D
04-06-2018, 06:54 PM
What are you using to create the cover? There are some pretty good, easy to use free programs like Canva out there that will let you play easily with fonts and font size and kerning (the space between the letters) and line spacing.

lizmonster
04-06-2018, 07:05 PM
Thanks Liz, what do you mean about "font treatment?" Is it the actual font, the size, or it looking a little flat? I chose the font because it matches the brand logo and works well on both a thumbnail and an actual cover (good spacing for each).

The font looks common, which tends to be a dead giveaway. Additionally - the lower-case version of the font doesn't seem to match (although it may be that I just really dislike that 'y' :)).

Also, the spacing/layout feels unbalanced - not just the kerning and the centering, but vertically. Look up things like the Golden Mean and the rule of thirds. There are proportions that universally please the human eye, and it's not too complicated to figure out how to use them.

zclesa
04-06-2018, 07:05 PM
Hi Marissa. Thanks, I never thought of using Canva. I am using Gimp, but it's been such a long time since I used it that I struggle with making elements behave well with each other. But it does have a lot of great features that most programs don't.

zclesa
04-06-2018, 07:09 PM
The font looks common, which tends to be a dead giveaway. Additionally - the lower-case version of the font doesn't seem to match (although it may be that I just really dislike that 'y' :)).

Also, the spacing/layout feels unbalanced - not just the kerning and the centering, but vertically. Look up things like the Golden Mean and the rule of thirds. There are proportions that universally please the human eye, and it's not too complicated to figure out how to use them.

Thanks Liz, yes I agree that the lower case of the font doesn't look as good as I'd hoped - the capitals are too big compared to the small letters and the "y" is problematic. The font is Coolvetica, by the way, which I didn't think was very common. I will definitely look up the things you suggested. Thanks again for your help.

lizmonster
04-06-2018, 08:22 PM
The font is Coolvetica, by the way, which I didn't think was very common. I will definitely look up the things you suggested. Thanks again for your help.

Ah, sounds like it's meant to be a Helvetica knockoff. It looks the part, I'm afraid - it feels generic to me, apart from those curvy 'y's which seem out of place.

Do you have a vector graphics program like Illustrator? (Pretty sure there's an open source equivalent, but the name's escaping me.) Something like that can be used to take a common font and tweak it a little so it looks unique.

zclesa
04-06-2018, 08:52 PM
Ah, sounds like it's meant to be a Helvetica knockoff. It looks the part, I'm afraid - it feels generic to me, apart from those curvy 'y's which seem out of place.

Do you have a vector graphics program like Illustrator? (Pretty sure there's an open source equivalent, but the name's escaping me.) Something like that can be used to take a common font and tweak it a little so it looks unique.

I don't I'm afraid (and short on cash due to being off sick). I created the logo at the top of the webpage using Coolvetica and Gimp to change bits of the letters. I think it looks fine if you're not extremely eagle-eyed. My web designer friend liked it. I had to do something like 5 or 6 individual parts to get it looking that way. I'll have to look at my old files for that again, if I can find them. I just noticed, the ! is not the same as on my logo, which uses a rounded point rather than a square.

I do have some other nice fonts I've downloaded which are quite striking and might work well for a book cover (they were ones I was considering for a tattoo!) Maybe if I use Gimp to improve the top title and then use a different font for the subtitle, that would improve things and also make the subtitle "pop" more. I want to keep my name and the lower text really simple, so apart from realigning and maybe changing the size, I'll probably leave those as they are.

Polenth
04-07-2018, 06:48 AM
I'm not feeling the black background with the white text. It feels like a retro 90s website, which isn't what you're aiming at. It also adds to the feel of everything being pressed in and cluttered. A light colour would give more of a feel of space.

I'd give the bulb a little more breathing space and increase the space between characters where possible (GIMP has kerning options, which is what you need to space the characters). The title and the author name have some room for extra space.

You can get free fonts and donationware fonts (the latter means you donate to charity if you make money). That will open up your potential fonts a lot.

I do think you should stick with the purple light bulb, because blues and purples are common colours for brain training books (but you don't want blue, because of the Autism Speaks connection). The general idea of the simple design is a good one, but the text placement and choice needs as much thought as any art produced.

zclesa
04-07-2018, 02:50 PM
Thanks very much Polenth. I didn't know Gimp had kerning tools as well - that's good to know. I'll see if I need to update my version as I've never seen them before.

I'm getting pretty much similar feedback from everyone - overall, the basic design in fine. But in execution, it's too cramped together, and the font could be better or modified, or made smaller and better spaced, so the cover looks less cluttered.

zclesa
04-10-2018, 06:01 PM
Is this any better? I really don't want to change the main title font as it matches my brand logo, but I have changed the subtitle font and made everything a bit smaller and better spaced. Hopefully, it's better aligned too.

http://i64.tinypic.com/t03i9g.jpg

mrsmig
04-10-2018, 06:03 PM
Al I see is the Photobucket "3rd Party Hosting has been disabled" graphic.

Marissa D
04-10-2018, 06:39 PM
The title is still not working, though the text below the bulb is better (just as an experiment, try reducing the space between the two lines of text there and see how that looks.) But yeah, the title feels crowded, which makes it hard to read. Maybe try smaller letters, space them a little more. Oh, and the line-up of the title feels off, just because of the form of the letters at the ends of the words. Maybe make INSTANT smaller than WISDOM by a little bit, so that centering them on each other works better?

zclesa
04-10-2018, 06:45 PM
Al I see is the Photobucket "3rd Party Hosting has been disabled" graphic.

Yeah, sorry, I didn't realise Photobucket no longer allows 3rd party hosting free. I used Tinypic to upload it again - that's free!

zclesa
04-10-2018, 06:53 PM
The title is still not working, though the text below the bulb is better (just as an experiment, try reducing the space between the two lines of text there and see how that looks.) But yeah, the title feels crowded, which makes it hard to read. Maybe try smaller letters, space them a little more. Oh, and the line-up of the title feels off, just because of the form of the letters at the ends of the words. Maybe make INSTANT smaller than WISDOM by a little bit, so that centering them on each other works better?

Thanks Marissa - funnily enough as I posted, I picked up on similar things to what you suggested. I totally know what you mean about the form of the words not matching up because the I and T at the top are blocky and the W and M are different. I considered changing the size of one of the lines so it's not as noticeable, and/or maybe doing an upside-down letter for either the W or the M, so they match better. But I wanted to get an idea of the overall look before digging too deeply into the files. Thnks for your feedback. I will have another play with it.

zclesa
04-10-2018, 09:42 PM
OK. I did have a play around with it and it looked much better spaced out more, but I can see that using the title font may be difficult, and I want to keep designing as simple and clean as I can. The downfall is that there is not as much of a link with my branding, but would this be better, just using the same font as for the subtitle:

http://i64.tinypic.com/2ihbjfb.jpg

or perhaps this one, which has a mixture of 2 fonts?

http://i63.tinypic.com/2usk02u.jpg

Marissa D
04-12-2018, 07:28 PM
I find the title in the first one much more readable--in the second the title is again too crowded. But I like what you did with the subtitle in the second cover--those y's in the first subtitle bothered me for some obscure reason.

zclesa
04-12-2018, 07:46 PM
Thanks Marissa. You have been unfailingly helpful. So I'm probably looking at something more like this:

http://i66.tinypic.com/2hdpnye.jpg

This would also make it easier to do the back jacket text, as I can use a semi-bold version of the font used for "10 Easy Ways To", which is nicely readable in a smaller font.

Marissa D
04-12-2018, 08:28 PM
I think you've nailed it. :)

zclesa
04-12-2018, 08:42 PM
I think you've nailed it. :) :hooray: Thank you! And thanks to everyone else who has helped me on this thread. I have learned a lot and this will help me so much for not only this book but future ones in the series, too.

You are all superstars!!