Tag: cover design

A guide on book title punctuation

For the trained eyes, there is nothing more annoying than looking at a book which is just one letter away from perfect. It is possible that you have made a capital mistake when not checking the rules of capitalization before publishing. It can be a tricky business, but nothing you cannot master by following a set of simple rules. In this article, we are writing about right capitalization and punctuation of titles (of your own books) on the cover and on the title page, with special regard to consistency.

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The importance of covers in commercial fiction

Phoebe Morgan is an editor at HarperCollins specialising in commercial crime, thrillers and women’s fiction. She is also an author and her first book, The Doll House, will publish from HQ this September.

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‘If you can’t make it big, make it red’: Book design branding basics

With all romantic flare attached to writing, from the marketing department’s point of view a book is a product that should recoup the publisher’s investment. Where there’s a product, there’s a package. Where there’s a package, there is, naturally, branding.

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Startup snapshot: Bookcoverpedia

Alexander von Nessalexander is a book cover designer with over 20 years of professional experience in graphic design, including over a decade as Art Director in a branding agency. In the past few years his main area of focus is book cover design. His website Nessgraphica is among the top trusted sites for book cover design services overall. Here we interviewed him about his company Bookcoverpedia.

1) What exactly is Bookcoverpedia?

Bookcoverpedia is a platform offering the best author experience to help authors discover and order premade book cover designs for their ebooks and print books.

2) What problem does it solve?

For many people facing the publishing challenge for the first time, budgeting for book cover design isn’t something they consider until days before they click the publish button. Then these authors might go on the Internet and get recommendations for book cover designs at rates they can’t quite believe or afford.

Bookcoverpedia gives indie authors a quick, affordable way to get beautifully designed professional book covers. And because we offer a 100% money back guarantee, customers have nothing to lose.

3) Who is your target market?

We serve anyone in need of a great book cover. We’re expecting our service to be of most interest to indie authors, small and mid-level publishers, and other book business professionals looking for covers for their clients.

Being an indie author is especially scary. There’s so much to take care of that would ordinarily have been taken care of by a traditional publisher, like editing, refining the writer’s vision, and marketing. A book cover is the single biggest piece of marketing an indie can directly control, and with 300,000 books published each year in the U.S. alone, that’s a lot of competition to market against.

What we want to do is help those indies, and other publishers, get the best cover for their book to give them the best chance of standing out in a crowded marketplace.

4) What is the difference between Bookcoverpedia and your competitors?

Ever spent time browsing through book cover sites, like something and come back to it later to realise you’ve forgotten it? Or worse yet, it’s no longer for sale because someone else beat you to it?

On Bookcoverpedia you won’t have this problem! Create a free account and you get access to what makes our site so special.

Search our site using keywords, or browse with covers arranged into simple genre categories, and when you see something you like, click its star to add to your wishlist. Now, as well as the option to buy immediately we’ll suggest other related covers you might like based on genre and keywords. A great way to find covers you might have missed.

But, what about other people reserving covers? How do you know if someone else has reserved a cover you’ve added to your wishlist? Bookcoverpedia has a notifications system! Whenever somebody reserves a cover you’ve added to your wishlist, you’ll receive a notification via the site. If somebody else’s reservation expires, making your cover available again, you’ll receive a notification. And perhaps most excitingly, as soon as your ordered cover is ready, you’ll get a notification as well.

5) What results do you hope to see over the next few years?

We want our customers to see us as their first port of call when they need a book cover. For those on a tight budget, we’re going to present to them the best selection of premades, and for those looking for a book cover designer to create something totally bespoke, we want to help them connect with the right designer for them.

Great book cover design is the single best piece of marketing available to authors. We want them to have the best.

6) How do you see Bookcoverpedia developing in the long term?

We’re at the beginning of our journey but we’re excited by our plans.

As our customer base expands, we’re going to need to cater for more disparate tastes. As such, collaboration with more book cover designers will offer our customers a greater range of styles. When this is in place, customers will be able to search for covers from their favourite book cover designer.

Bookcoverpedia is a huge project and I see us leading the way in delivering premade book cover designs.

 

fonts

Typographic trends: Discover which fonts creatives love, and hate…

“I love fonts!” We hear it all the time. It’s common for creative professionals to obsess over their tools, and fonts are critical to any project that includes text.

At Extensis, we are font nerds ourselves, and I wear mine with a badge of honor.

Having worked with creative professionals for over 14 years, I love probing and discovering what creative pros are thinking. What do they love? What do they hate? What’s currently hot and what’s not…? So I decided to do something about it and surveyed them! It’s worth a read. Trust us.

More than 1,900 people responded, 57% were graphic designers by trade and most have been in their respective careers for over 25 years. If we wanted to find out which type styles are trending right now, where designers go to find new fonts and where all of this is headed, we sure got a good sample.

Most loved and most hated fonts

If you’ve been following recent design at all, it’s not surprising to discover that Slab Serifs came out on top as one of the most loved styles (30%).

On the other hand, Art Nouveau styles don’t seem to share the same enthusiasm, listed as the least favourite font style and registering the higher overall negative feeling among respondent (52%).

font 1 font 2

Free-flowing thoughts

It’s interesting to notice that professionals can have disparate reactions to the same typeface. Some expressed their unconditional love:

“These are great, and I have a feeling they will move into the field of classic fonts.”

Comment on: Museo Slab, by Jos Buivenga of exljbris

While others, absolute feelings of hate:

“Oh PLEASE destroy all of these. I cannot wait for the chalkboard phase to be over. It’s so overused and it’s rarely done well.”

Comment on: Chalkboard typefaces

Overall, each style will work differently for everyone, and will be dependent on the project at hand. And, whether you love them, hate them, aren’t so sure or “think it might work in some situations”, fonts “are to the designer as paints to the painter” (as I like to say).

Check out the entire breadth of research by downloading the report here. Share your font love, type hate, or general design obsessions below. We’d love to hear it.

JIM_7208_5xAs a writer, speaker and general software nerd, Jim Kidwell evangelizes the effective integration of fonts and digital asset management in creative workflows. Focusing on how effective management can affect all levels of an organization – from the legal, creative and branding standpoints – Jim has shared his unique perspective with audiences at SXSW, Future of Web Design, WebVisions and more.

brand

4 steps for building an author brand


This is a guest post from Ricardo Fayet. Ricardo is an avid reader and startup enthusiast who has been studying the publishing industry with interest for several years. He co-founded Reedsy, to help authors collaborate with publishing professionals.

Branding is often an oversight for many authors. With so much else to focus on, creating a brand for yourself and your book can seem trivial, but creating a brand from the outset could be your key to success.

With so many books available, both in print and online, most consumers are only looking at your book for a few mili-seconds while browsing through an online or physical store. That’s where your “branding” comes in. If the customer immediately identifies your book as ‘yours’ and remembers having seen the pattern elsewhere, they’ll pay attention to it. Online retail search algorithms also make it easy for readers to see all the ebooks in a series (or by the same author) at once. If they all have the same strong visual identity, you will appear to readers as a professional and prolific author in your genre.

But what does ‘branding’ actually mean? Branding means creating a clear and distinct image for yourself (a “brand”) that differentiates your books and authorship from others. Communicating your brand successfully entails keeping consistency throughout your work. You are essentially making a promise to your readers. If someone enjoys one of your books they will look for more.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide that should get you started:

1) Decide what you want your brand to say

Essentially this involves determining who you are as an author and what you want to be known for. For example, do you want to be known for chick-lit, or young adult fiction? As this will be the foundation of building your brand it can be hard to reverse later on, so make sure you are certain.

2) Are you branding yourself or a series?

If you are writing a series of books then you may decide to brand the series. This is the easier option because it gives you a clear focus and audience to aim your brand at. If not there is the option to brand yourself as an author or brand your work around a niche genre, as indie author Ben Galley did with the ‘Western Fantasy’ genre and his Scarlet Star Trilogy series (read more about this here).

3) What if I want to write in different genres?

Choosing to brand yourself within a specific genre is a long term commitment. Some worry that creating a genre brand will limit them creatively but this is not true. If you don’t want to commit to one genre, you can use different pseudonyms to differentiate between genres. Similarly, with a series, you can use different names to make your branding easier. For example, Madeleine Wickham writes under ‘Sophie Kinsella for a specific series, and as Madeleine for her other novels. She uses similar style covers to create sub-brands.

author brand

Whether she is writing as Wickham or Kinsella, her work is instantly recognisable.

Alternatively, if that doesn’t work for you I’d recommend at least trying to find some consistencies within your work to use as a hook for your brand. This could be something as simple as setting all your of work in the same location, or always making reference to a particular animal or flower. Bear in mind that the more niche your genre, the easier it will be to build a brand and get recognised. Amish fiction is a very alternative genre and thus it has been easier for authors Beverly Lewis and Wanda E Brunstetter to build a brand and become ‘reference’ authors in that genre.

4) How to build the brand?

Once you have established what you want for your brand, it’s time to take action:

Aesthetics

The simplest way to start establishing your brand is through your book covers. This is easier with a series, as you can create extremely similar and interconnecting covers like the Hunger Games series.

author brand 2

If you are branding yourself as an author, the cover is still important. Using the same font, complimentary colours and similar layouts will make your brand recognisable. Self-published authors Bella Andre and Mark Dawson make their names the biggest feature on the cover, which draws the eye to their name, thus reinforcing their brand.

They also have a clear visual identity for each of their series. This has several impacts:

  • It makes their name immediately recognisable in a sea of ebooks
  • It makes their series immediately recognisable as well

author brand 3 author brand 4

Using the same style of images, illustrator or photographer and keeping the layout consistent, can be an especially good technique. Judy Moody, for example, always uses the same illustrative style for her children’s books and her covers are instantly recognisable.

author brand 5

If you are struggling to come up with ideas, drafting profiles/personas of your target audience can help you gauge what will appeal to them visually. If in doubt, consider your favourite authors; what attracted you to them in the first place.

It’s not all about the cover, though! Think as well about the interior layout of your book, and, if possible, hire the same designer to both do all of the covers and all of the interiors in the same series. The interior design of a book doesn’t have the same “eye-catching” role as the cover, however it is vital to the reading experience, and works more subliminally in the reader’s mind.

Online Presence

author brand 6

Keeping font, colour schemes and layouts consistent throughout your website design and social media reinforces your brand. The aim is for your website to instantly show your brand. Coming back again to the example of Amish fiction, Wanda E Brunestetter’s website leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to what her books are about.

If possible using the same handles across your social media makes it easier for readers to find you online. Another crucial element is to keep your tone and voice consistent on social media like Chuck Wendig. You’ll see him shouting, cursing, joking. And you know you can expect that from his books.

author brand 7

Hopefully these basic steps will get you started! Building up a brand can and will take time, and you won’t be able to see any results early on.  You will need to pair your newly formed brand with a killer marketing plan, to get your work noticed. But once you do,  it will be totally worth it, because readers won’t be just buying a book, they’ll be buying into your brand. They’ll keep coming back for more!

series

Series redesign: Building on a Quite Interesting brand

Like the various stakeholders in a brand, designers are custodians. We’re tasked with giving it the right face, and every so often giving it a facelift.

The same natural cycle to rebranding any product applies to books. A brand look can get tired over time, sales plateau, writers can go in different directions to reach new audiences. When us designers get the call with the word ‘backlist’ in it, our eyes light up – it’s a chance to do an integrated body of work that you can be proud of.

In January 2015, I repackaged the QI paperbacks for Faber & Faber, and blogged about them. It worked so well they asked me to package their new royal hardback, The Third QI Book of General Ignorance:

QI_REPACKAGE_FABER    QI_3RDGENIG_front

To establish a new hardback look that nodded to the paperbacks, I kept the circles reminiscent of the TV sets and broke the images out. We see a T-Rex striding out of the central circle, the Rio Jesus presiding over all whilst Sherlock Holmes investigates the murder committed by a hungry robin beyond. Braver colour around the package rather than a single tone sets the whole thing off nicely. It moved the look on just enough to give the hardback something new, whilst referencing what had gone before.

Following that, Faber swiftly looked at repackaging their Facts series: 1,339 QI Facts To Make Your Jaw Drop, 1,227 QI Facts To Blow Your Socks Off and 1,411 QI Facts To Knock You Sideways. Would I do it? Of course. But how would I make it different, again?

The brief was simple:

  • Bring in the colour and joy of the new General Ignorance hardback
  • Give the FACTS books an identity of their own
  • Type led, confident, punchy, grown up
  • Simple and graphic, the small format (104 x 170 ) meant nothing too complicated.

Initially, I played with the circles, taking parts of the hardback and paperback looks forward with large, strong type which was intended to be foiled. Perhaps big type was good enough to take it on just far enough:

QIFACTS_MECOB-2

As always, I threw in quite a few ideas to see if anything would cross over. Some large, simple type experiments seemed appropriate, leading with the all-important logo and perhaps metallic ink for the backgrounds:

QIFACTS_MECOB-3

Echoing the type style of the B format paperbacks, I looked at using the magnifying glass as device for figures to peek through. It had an intelligent cheek about it which I felt was quite in-keeping with QI at large.

QIFACTS_MECOB-1

The first route was liked the most, we experimented with colour and layout variations, all around the structure of the circles, even discussing finishes. It was going swimmingly, but something wasn’t quite right.

Donna Payne, Creative Director at Faber and Faber, summarised the feeling between QI and Faber beautifully. Essentially, they felt the covers lacked the punch and confidence of a standalone series. Time was marching on, we were late for the May 2016 print deadline, and the sales force had nothing.

I turned off my email, cleared the decks and spent next the day rendering a single rough which I hoped would knock it out of the park. I started with a blank document, placed the logo slap-bang in the middle and built a new cover look around it. By losing my beloved circles, I had to link it some other way, so I chose trusty old Clarendon to lead a typographic look, centred around the logo. It read as part of the title – in itself a differentiating factor. I chose bright colours for the backgrounds and then started to bring in objects based on the books facts to integrate with the typography – comets passing through, monkeys hanging off and cute little hedgehogs getting shot (yes, I get paid for doing this). After putting the finishing touches to just a single rough, I sent it off and kept everything crossed.

After a couple of days agonising wait, we heard back that QI loved the new look. A home run indeed. It was full steam ahead on the rest of the covers, so I jumped on it. Ten days later, after some minor image issues (each had to be justified by a fact within the book), ably handled by Faber Studio Manager, Paddy Fox, we had three approved covers ready for press:

QI_facts_series

Here’s what QI thought:

‘These are all absolutely MARVELLOUS! I mean, really exceptionally good fun and truly enticing. A real cut above, no question.’ John Lloyd

‘Im trembling with excitement, love and every type of happiness. Its our best cover ever.’ John Mitchinson

And Donna Payne on the secret to branding a series like QI:

“Choose an intelligent designer and arm them with a thorough understanding of the brand and the ambition you have for it. Give them the creative freedom to do it justice, while keeping a dialogue going along the way.”

In book cover design, there aren’t brand guardians or teams of design Oompa-loompas who spend months creating a handbook for you to design by. It’s often crashed into a publishing schedule, and changes as you go. The single thing that made this rebrand work, was everybody being open and working together. We discussed ideas, experimented and listened to each other until a strong look came out of the design mist.

Top rebranding tips

Here are some other things that might help if you have a cover rebrand on the horizon:

  • Assess whats gone before, find the core identifiers that the audience respond to.
  • At the outset, throw mud at the wall. Include your rejects alongside your lead ideas, you never know what might come out of it.
  • Be receptive and listen, put yourself in the clients shoes. Read and re-read emails, speak to them direct.
  • Fresh eyes – leave a problem overnight if you can, and come back to it (preferably holding a cup of tea and listening to Miles Davis).
  • Get your sources right, with varied content you have to be diligent with image rights.
  • Front-load the work, start early and make the best of the time you have – you’ll need it later on.

Mark EcobMark Ecob is Creative Director of cover design company Mecob Design Ltd, and Associate Art Director at Unbound. After working at Hodder & Stoughton, The Orion Publishing Group and as Art Director for Canongate Books, he set up Mecob and now packages books for everyone from Amazon to your mum. His work has been awarded and exhibited, he teaches young creatives and lectures older ones. If you want a book designed, he’s your man.

cover design

Keeping it simple: 5 tips for designing beautiful book covers

cover designRachel Lawston is the founder of Lawston Design, and is freelance designer and illustrator for publishing and digital media. Rachel’s worked with the likes of Penguin Random House, Walker Books and Orchard Books. Here are her 5 tips for simple and creative cover design.

1) Read the book

That way you can ensure you give an honest and true representation of the book itself. If it isn’t possible to read the manuscript before I start then I ask if I can read a detailed synopsis.

2) Research

Gather together your thoughts regarding the direction you feel would work best. The research I do is varied but can and often includes; target audience, relevant imagery, possible artists, typefaces that may work, the subject matter, author brand and successful covers in that genre.

Examining what is on trend and the direction it may take is essential. What may be fashionable at the moment could be obsolete when the book is released.

3) Stock Imagery

When using stock imagery, I try to avoid using just one single image and instead blend several together to create something new. That way I can avoid the heartache of discovering my perfect image has already been used many times before.

4) Test the cover

Often there are several stages where you will evaluate and wonder whether the current direction is the right one. Testing covers on an unbiased group of the target audience is very helpful in establishing if everything is on track.

5) Typography

Legibility is vital, especially as most people now buy online. A useful trick when determining whether the title will stand out on Amazon is to drop the file onto your desktop, if you can still read the title when it is an icon then success!

academic cover design freelancer

5 tips for survival as a freelancer

Steve Thompson is a freelance designer, principally for academic publications and marketing. Here are some of his top tips for freelancers.

Following on from Charlie Wilson’s ‘Ten lessons I’ve learned in ten years as a freelancer‘ post for BookMachine in February, I thought I’d add a few of my own insights. Many of these echo Charlie’s tips but are also particularly from a freelance designer’s perspective.

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Picture this: The shape of covers to come

Here at Getty Images we’re lucky enough to see a great range of inspirational book covers every month.  We see designers using images from all areas of our collections, from the contemporary creative through real-world editorial images to illustration and iconic shots from the archive.

One motif that captures the imagination is that of a strong geometric shape. We are seeing some great effects using contemporary blends of illustration, photography and text. We have pulled out a taster of our circle-based images, with a mix of subjects and styles, conceptual, architectural, people-based, with copy space and without.

Check out the board on Getty Images to see some inspirational images.

Kid gloves: handling a sensitive cover

I stopped in my tracks when I read the Cover Brief for Alice Jolly’s memoir: Dead Babies and Seaside Towns.

What a title.

And the book delivers on it. Motherhood, grief and infertility all combine in a personal account of the author and her partner’s struggle to have a second child, and the lengths to which one can go to create a family. Set against Britain’s crumbling seaside towns, it’s a raw and honest description of events that families live through every day, and sometimes keep hidden.

How do you package a book with a sensitive subject like this?

For a good decade after A Child Called It, designers everywhere (including me) combined moody pictures of children with hand-drawn type for covers in this new sub-genre, somewhat morbidly called ‘Misery Memoir’. Thankfully, and like a lot of trends from the mid-nineties, it petered out, leaving us to think of more original ways to package books with provocative subjects.

The key to success here is a light touch. Instead of visualising a sensitive subject directly, which can put some people off, hint to it. Covers for books like Columbine designed by Henry Sene Yee, Tampa designed by gray318 and Lolita designed by Jamie Keenan, all create a mood. When combined with powerful copy, the covers achieve an authority, and demand that you investigate further. You wouldn’t know that these books are about a mass-shooting, underage sex and rape…

Lolita Tampa Columbine - Copy

The brief in practice

For “DBAST” (as it became known, I couldn’t begin another email beginning ‘Dead Babies’), the brief was key. Here’s what Isobel Frankish, Unbound’s Managing Editor, had to say:

Dead Babies and Seaside Towns is direct, unflinchingly so, and for a long time this has been a quality we rarely associate with the dialogue around miscarriage, infertility and surrogacy. We all know that people find these topics difficult to navigate – it can sometimes feel like a tightrope walk between frankness and sensitivity – and as a result their edges often become softened and blurred out of a sense of politeness, sadness, or even shame. And the irony is that grief isnt soft: it’s a rage that slices through you; both paralysing and galvanising – and it’s a feeling that Alice captures with such devastating candour in this book that we couldn’t have been anything other than committed to preserving that thread of truth in our approach to the cover.

So – no sepia tones and blurred photographs for Dead Babies: no nostalgic crops of clothes, of family photographs. There was no discussion of disguising the title – when you call a book Dead Babies and Seaside Towns, it’s because you want people to see that it’s called Dead Babies and Seaside Towns. But how could we make it arresting without being aggressive – without alienating the very people we knew would appreciate and enjoy this book? It was a difficult brief to put together.

In the end our market positioning was inspired by titles like H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, Late Fragments by Kate Gross and The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander. It needed to be comfortable sitting alongside other memoirs, but stand out in its boldness and simplicity. We also briefed around pale colour palettes – seaside towns in winter; the significance of which are really important in the book as a safe haven for Alice.

By the time we reached the final design we’d run through probably a dozen different rounds and even switched designers entirely. In the end we began to realise that the most respectful way to treat it would be to pare the design back and back and back until we reached the very essence of the issue: that Alice survived, even when she felt she never would or could, through desperate sadness and difficulty. And I hope you agree that what made it through that design gauntlet was a cover which is an honest, beautiful and true representation of her bravery and courage.”

The design

DBAST_BACKETC_WEB - CopyThe title said ‘water’ to me, so I led with the type and created a watercolour wave that changed from dark, stormy seas to calm, blue waters, reflecting the journey. Supported by the all-important quote for a hardback outing, and printed simply on an uncoated stock, the watercolour line design runs all round the cover.

If you pledge for an Unbound Subscribers edition, you get your name proudly printed in the back for your support. Usually a hardback or PPC (Printed Paper Case, you know, like those cookbooks without a jacket you have in your kitchen), they get the works in terms of Production and the design runs through to the hardback boards to full colour endpapers. UK trade publishing is still largely ‘vertical’, meaning a hardback edition is followed by a mass market paperback, so if this hardback design speaks to the more bespoke end of the market, I wonder how it will be packaged for a mass audience? Watch this space to find out….

If your book deals with a challenging subject, here are some pieces of advice that might help:

  • It’s all in the brief, write one that states what you want to see, and what to avoid.
  • Use a light touch in the design; showing a shocking subject directly can put people off. Hint at it.
  • Don’t underestimate the work that the title alone can do, underplaying a beautifully piece of copy – title or otherwise – is a mistake.
  • Don’t do the copy for the front cover at the last minute, a designer needs the title and shout line at the start, they work closely with the tone of the images.
  • Try things out, you can only know if something will work by seeing it.

Dead Babies and Seaside Towns is published by Unbound and available now. With thanks to Isobel Frankish, at Unbound and of course, Alice Jolly, without whom this wonderful book would not have crossed my desk.

Mark EcobMark Ecob is Creative Director of cover design company Mecob Design Ltd, and Associate Art Director at Unbound. After working at Hodder & Stoughton, The Orion Publishing Group and as Art Director for Canongate Books, he set up Mecob and now packages books for everyone from Amazon to your mum. His work has been awarded and exhibited, he teaches young creatives and lectures older ones. If you want a book designed, he’s your man.

academic cover design

Cover design for academic publications

Steve Thompson is a freelance cover designer. Here are a few of his thoughts, insights and tips for designers and those who commission them.

Books vs. journal covers

Many academic journals use a standard generic cover which is overprinted each issue with details of volume, date and sometimes article titles. That design can be retained for many years, acting as a umbrella brand identity for all the articles over that time. The importance of this design can be reflected in the care and time taken over the design and decision-making process. It’s also worth mentioning that a journal cover designer will usually just design the front cover whereas a book cover designer will be required to design not only the front but also the spine and back cover of the publication. The front cover is required quite early on, for advance marketing purposes, while the full cover for print is often put together a few weeks before actual publication.

The brief

It’s good to have, in the first instance, as detailed a brief as possible, and ideally to get input from the author as well as the publishing editor. Many of the publications I’ve worked on have been highly specialised and, while the designer can do a lot of productive research and image sourcing, guidance and suggestions from the ultimate specialist – ie. the author – can save a lot of time and designing up blind alleyways.

Designing for online

With the current importance of online sales and online publishing, the small thumbnail version of the cover is extremely important. On a platform like Amazon, this small image can be one of the key selling points of a book. And for a journal, where a reader requires only online access to articles, it may indeed be the only version of the cover that they ever see.

Trends

An obvious point, but keep abreast of current trends in cover design. While little is genuinely original and ground-breaking in academic publishing design, it’s also true that much of the best design successfully adapts and updates design trends from the past. Keep your own file of examples that you think work so you can learn from them and adapt them yourself.

Provide options

Aim to produce a wide variety of cover concepts. While the publishing editor will probably be familiar with your previous work, and how it may fit into the company’s visual identity, it’s less likely that the author will know it and their decision may well be the defining one. An initial varied selection of good ideas makes you look professional and will maximise the chances of everyone finding something they like that can be developed further.

Review

Finally, wherever possible, try and get to see the printed publications. Particularly if you’re a freelancer, not all clients will send you a printer’s proof nor a copy of the publication. Worth a trip to an good academic bookshop once in a while and pull a load of books and journals you’ve worked on off the shelves, admire the work and learn any lessons.

 

academic cover designSteve Thompson has been a cover designer for fourteen years – seven as a salaried designer with a leading publisher and nearly seven as a freelancer. Clients have included Reed Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Bloomsbury, Oxford University Press and Emerald. Visit his site or follow him on Twitter.

 

Designing book covers for a series: Stuart Bache interview

Stuart Bache is Art Director of Books Covered, a design agency for publishers, independent authors and literary agents. Here Norah Myers interviews him on designing book covers for a series and more.

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cover, type, Ryan Ashcroft

Writing on the outside: Maximising the function of cover text

While the author is best placed to write the cover content, it’s the designer’s job to maximise its effect. This collaboration works better when the author sees things from a design and marketing perspective.

As a cover designer, I understand that what I’m creating isn’t necessarily a piece of art in itself but more an advert for someone else’s art, in this case – a book. And in any effective advert, a key part of that message lies not only in the actual words but how those words are presented. So what kinds of text can we find on book covers and how can it be used to maximise a book’s marketability?

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