Project Focus: Cover Design with Supplied Artwork for The “And” Principle

by Joel Friedlander on December 11, 2009 · 4 comments

This is the second article about dealing with a cover design project with artwork supplied by the client. In the first, I looked at the book cover design process for Chris Finlan’s Not A Fire Exit. This time I’m going to look at the designs prepared for Bill Goldberg’s The “And” Principle.

Here is the artwork Bill supplied for the cover. This art originally ran some years ago on the cover of Yoga Journal, and Bill had remembered and kept it for quite some time. When it came time to do his book, he got in touch with the artist and obtained both reproduction-quality artwork and the rights to use it on his cover:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Let the Variations Begin

I liked the vivacity and colors in this piece of artwork, but it was not going to be possible to do much cropping on it and have the image remain viable. I picked up some of the colors and layout ideas from a book the author liked, and my first cover came out like this:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Although I liked the colors, I wasn’t too crazy about all the “bands” running horizontally across the cover. And since a lot of the book contains Bill’s poetry, I was looking for something a bit softer. I tried one with a delicate pattern in the background, and a completely different color palette:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The way the typography of the title worked with the background looked pretty good to me, but designers are “tweakers” by nature, so it was back to the drawing board. I wanted to go in a completely different direction now. I often do this to give my clients a milestone against which to judge the other designs, something completely different. I went back into the color box and created a whole new palette:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

I really thought this design had something going for it. I liked the cropped image, and on a whim I color reversed half the image to see the effect. The display type worked well, and I thought I was cooking. But I still wanted more. Although I only contract to show three designs to my clients, I often supply more, because as a designer I just don’t feel satisfied until I have a group of covers that really pleases me in its variations.

I was leafing through one of Jill’s O magazines, and hit on an interesting design concept. This is how it translated into another cover for this book:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

I don’t know if you can see the faint rules around the image and under the title typography, but I was literally smiling and laughing out loud when I finished this design. I thought I had nailed it, and sat back in satisfaction.

And the Winner Is . . .

After a lot of going back and forth about the covers, Bill decided on an approach that combined elements from two of the early designs. In the end, he was quite happy with the choice, and the book went to print with the cover as you see it here:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Bill’s book is about the freedom, power, and love that come from accepting all aspects of yourself. You can find out more at Bill’s website.

Picking designs is very subjective, and as the sages say, there’s no accounting for taste. As a designer, I have my own preferences, but as a business owner, my chief responsibility is to make sure my clients are happy and proud of their book when it comes from the printer. Did you prefer one of the other designs? Leave me a comment and let me know.

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    { 4 comments… read them below or add one }

    admin December 23, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    @Andres,

    Thanks for your comments. I hope some of the information here is useful, and certainly design students can use real-world experience.

    I can see how the three elements being in different sizes might be unpleasant to some people, although it seems appropriate to me because they each play such different roles.

    On the fonts, I’m not sure I’m following you, but I’d be interested in your suggestions. What did you have in mind?

    Reply

    Andres Rõhu December 23, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    At first, your site is very useful: its real goldmine for self-publishers,
    but also useful for book design students: lots of material explained
    in easy and consumable way. With examples and explanations.

    At second, for this work you chose wrong fonts and too many sizes for my taste: every design features at least three different usages, cuttings, sizes of one or two fonts. And you dont linked font usage with illustration.

    I mean, look at illustration: its “a la picasso”, your fonts are “a la office”. Think about that, and try to link font style with illustration style. And also with font, you used in typesetting interior. I will pardon, if you typesetted interior with any of those fonts you used in cover design (-;

    And please, dont take it hard: comments rumbling is sometimes just the place you get the most of information (-;

    Reply

    admin December 14, 2009 at 11:14 am

    @Betty, thanks. It’s a little like “inside the mind of the guy who looks like he’s just fooling around at the computer.” In this case, unlike a lot of creative work, one can follow the trail that’s left by each subsequent iteration of the idea. It think that’s neat.

    Reply

    betty ming liu December 14, 2009 at 5:36 am

    I really enjoy these posts where we get to see your ideas-in-progress. A real learning experience for me. Thanks for posting!

    Reply

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