e-Book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 4

by Joel Friedlander on October 19, 2011 · 11 comments

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This is the fourth of five posts of e-book covers submitted for the September e-Book Cover Design Awards. Here are the other posts in the series:

e-Book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 1 Fiction:
e-Book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 2 Fiction
e-Book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 3 Fiction
Today: e-Book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 4 Nonfiction
Thursday: e-Book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Award Winners

Today’s post is made up of all the nonfiction covers submitted for September.


Chrystine Julian submitted 61 Favorite Poems, an e-chapbook in the Nonfiction category. Design by Chrystine Julian, saying “This cover is metaphor for making hearts in walls of stone and finding love in hard places.”


Alexander Philip submitted The Desert Plunge in the Nonfiction category. Design by Alexander Philip, saying “The Desert Plunge is the Offroader’s Personal Guide to Desert Driving. The Cover was designed to convey ‘Control’ to the reader in a subtle manner by means of a natural rock pile. The rock pile formation of the ‘Remote Control’ is symbolic of how the desert is always “In Control”. Some of the Cover Art details: a) Desert Sand: Combination of 3d sand mesh and 2d textures b) ‘The Remote Control’ (Rock Piles): 3d model with 2d textures c) The Skies: Gradients and Airbrushing in Photoshop d) The Soaring Falcons: Vector art created in Corel Draw d) The Clouds: Brushed in with custom Photoshop brush patterns e) Fonts: A font called ‘Esther’ was used to create the effect of bronze sand and light dust to highlight focus points. Multiple instances were used and blended in Photoshop over the existing composition and finally airbrushed for effect. Photoshop was used for the Final Composition which included layers of 3d multiple-pass renders, High Resolution photographs, Vector Art and
Typography. Thanks..”


JF: I can appreciate the work that went into this cover and, although I like the way it uses the space to imply a landscape format, the cover still looks like a PDF e-book (which it started out as) and at this size the delicate type effects are pretty much lost.


Russell Phillips submitted A Damn Close-Run Thing: A Brief History of the Falklands Conflict in the Nonfiction category. Design by http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MNTO1G.


Judy Reiser submitted Admit It, You’re Crazy! Quirks, Idiosyncrasies & Irrational Behavior in the Nonfiction category. Design by John Turnbull.


JF: These two designs from the multi-talented author are examples of print book designs that converted quite well to use as e-book covers, due to their simple, easy to understand graphics and bold title fonts.


Judy Reiser submitted And I Thought I Was Crazy! Quirks, Idiosyncrasies & Meshugaas in the Nonfiction category. Design by Judy Reiser, saying “I am the designer of the cover and interior for the print & eBook editions. I can send cover art in any size or format. Thank you, Judy.”


Elliot Fisher-Smith submitted Angels on Earth in the Nonfiction category. Design by Juliet Andreou, saying ” helped turn the original painting into the cover material you see. Great idea for a competition :)”


A. Datta submitted Bashanter Deshey Adrishha Parbat, Jhil in the Nonfiction category. Design by A. Datta.


JF: This is an example of unintentionally introducing graphic elements (the bars of color) that only confuse the information that’s being communicated.


A. Datta submitted Cat Care: Caring For Furry Mouse-traps A.k.a. House Cats in the Nonfiction category. Design by A. Datta.


Five Rivers Chapmanry submitted Crystal Death in the Nonfiction category. Design by Lorina Stephens, saying “We wanted to create a shocking cover for this book on crystal meth, without resorting to cliche images. The stark background and simple portraits of one woman, three years apart, we felt created impact, while the typefaces which were chosen were sharp and clean enough to carry the stark message we wanted to deliver.”


JF: There’s no doubt that these photos show the ravages of drugs, but they have not come together with the typography to create a cover that exploits them to the best advantage. This would be a challenging assignment to any designer, but I don’t think the approach taken works as well as it might.


Abel Keogh submitted Dating a Widower: Starting a Relationship with a Man Who’s Starting Over in the Nonfiction category. Design by Francine Platt.


JF: This cover, by the talented Francine Platt, was done originally for a paperback. Although it works as an e-book cover, the type has gotten a lot weaker at this size.


A. Datta submitted Everything About God in the Nonfiction category. Design by A. Datta.


Lori Henry submitted Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis, by Steve Bergsman in the Nonfiction category. Design by Lara Craver, saying “I am the publisher, so this is my entry for one of our books, Growing Up Levittown. Cheers! Lori.”


JF: Graphically, there’s little to complain about with this cover, which shows the skill of the designer, but the very small subtitle and title type bleed it looks like it belongs on a print version.


W. F. Owen submitted Haiku Notebook in the Nonfiction category. Design by W. F. Owen.


Hollister Ann Grant submitted Haunted Ground: Ghost Photos from the Gettysburg Battlefield in the Nonfiction category. Design by Stewart Williams, saying “I read about the cover awards on the Passive Guy;s website. Thanks for putting it together! I enjoyed the August entries. I hope I filled out the form correctly. Both URLs go to the book on Barnes & Noble. The photo at the top is a personal photo my late husband took on the Gettysburg battlefield. The bottom shows a historic map from the battle.”


JF: This cover shows an adept use of typography to allude to the Civil War period. Nicely done.


Annette Langer submitted Healing through Humor: Change Your Focus, Change Your Life! in the Nonfiction category. Design by Robert Owen, saying “This is a photo I took of an oil painting I own by the artist Robert Owen, used with permission. It’s a seated clown listening to his own heartbeat with a stethescope, a medical book on his lap and more at his feet.”


Frank Josey submitted Hidden Courage – Stories From My Father in the Nonfiction category. Design by Alexis Smith.


Judy Reiser submitted In a Cell Phone Minute in the Nonfiction category. Design by Judy Reiser, saying “In addition to being an author, I am a graphic designer. Andrews McMeel used my cover & book design for this book. I designed the cover & AM had my design illustrated. I designed the eBook. I can send cover art in any size or format. Thank you, Judy.”


JF: A clever design that telegraphs its subject nonverbally. Although we don’t know what the book is about from the cover, it makes you want to know more.


A. Datta submitted Keyword Filter Testing Manual in the Nonfiction category. Design by A. Datta.


JF: It’s interesting to see the author almost completely depart from cover design tradition and use some of the space allotted for promotional copy. We may see more of this in the future.


Bert Liang submitted Mitochondria in the Tumourigenic Phenotype in the Nonfiction category. Design by Bert Liang, saying “Confocal three color micrograph in a human brain tumour cell, showing location of mitochondria (in red), CD95/Fas protein (in green), and the overlap (in yellow), revealing co-localization of mitochondria and Fas protein.”


Joseph Sutton submitted My Writing Year: Making Sense of Being a Writer in the Nonfiction category. Design by Zac Rymland and Don Ellis of Liquid Pictures, saying “Written work on front cover is taken from my journal.”


JF: I like the idea of this cover, but not the execution. At this size there’s no hope of reading the handwritten pages, so they just become an unintelligible graphic element, and the monospaced typography and dull colors don’t help. Maybe enlarge one page and make it a background, which would add some nice texture to the cover.


David Sheppard submitted Novelsmithing, The Structural Foundation of Plot, Character, and Narration in the Nonfiction category. Design by Richard Sheppard.


JF: Another nice print book cover that would have made a great e-book cover if it had been re-worked for this size and presentation. As it is, you can’t read most of the copy on the cover. What’s the point of that?


Janet Wong submitted Once Upon A Tiger: New Beginnings for Endangered Animals in the Nonfiction category. Design by Sladjana Vasic (the illustrator of the book), saying “Children’s poet Janet Wong was inspired to write this book because of haunting photos that she saw of emaciated tigers in a Chinese “tiger park,” but she didn’t want the book to be depressing or didactic. Instead, Wong filled Once Upon A Tiger with upbeat “pourquoi poems” and matter-of-fact nonfiction notes that inspire children to wonder about endangered animals and to want to learn more about them. Keeping those goals in mind, Sladjana Vasic (the book’s illustrator) put a robust-looking tiger on the cover. This tiger is not going to roll over and let his species become extinct–he is strong and proud. The grass-green background was chosen for contrast and also to subliminally reinforce the “green mission” of conservation. (This eBook was the 2011 Green Book Festival Award Winner for the eBook category).”


JF: Absolutely lovely. The colors are just ideal and the illustration is both interesting and intriguing. The top line of type shows a bit too much expansion, and I think for an e-book the striped effect on the title is probably unnecessary, but overall this is a wonderful cover.


Kathryn Hall submitted Plant Whatever Brings You Joy in the Nonfiction category. Design by Bill Greaves, saying “Let me know if I need to resubmit cover url. Wasn’t sure if that was right format. There IS a larger image just below main Amazon image. Thanks.”


JF: I love the illustration and the delicacy of the cover, but the typography is much too weak at this size.


vito veii submitted Real beauty is within the soul in the Nonfiction category. Design by vito veii.


vito veii submitted Reflections of a passer-by in the Nonfiction category. Design by vito veii, saying “I designed it using some software and photograph.”


Mary Kathryn Johnson submitted Say Bump and Take a Left, How I Birthed a Baby and a Business after a Huge Bump in the Road in the Nonfiction category. Design by Tina Abbay-Gee, saying “Would you believe I started a business because I broke both my legs when I was 8 months pregnant? This book is the story of my “broken legs while pregnant” life, and the lessons I learned about babies and business.”


A. Datta submitted Spacetime Mysteries: The Past and The Outside in the Nonfiction category. Design by A. Datta.


JF: I believe Datta has four of the covers on this page, and here the wild colors, random color bands and promotional copy combine in all the wrong ways.


Clifford Fryman submitted StoryStarters in the Nonfiction category. Design by Clifford Fryman, saying “Along with writing, I’ve always been interested in cover design. When I decided to publish StoryStarters, I decided to design the cover myself. I set out to create a cover unlike other writing prompt books on the market and came up with a design that, to me, incorporates elements of some of the prompts while hinting at the possibilities the entire book offers.”


JF: A very interesting idea and a well-executed piece of artwork. But I think this e-book cover runs the risk of defying the conventions of genre, since it seems at a glance to be a novel, not a book about writing. And is anyone else bothered by the train whose tracks seem to be in the clouds?


Lucy McCloud submitted The Blue Room in the Nonfiction category. Design by Lucy McCloud, saying “Lucy McCloud is the cover designer, photographer, page-layout artist, writer, editor, everything.”


Angel Cortes submitted The Sanctuary Movement: How Broken Immigration Policies Affect Cities in the Nonfiction category. Design by Angel Cortes.


Rik Roots submitted To Posterity in the Nonfiction category. Design by Rik Roots.


Doris Heilmann submitted Traumberuf Pilot? in the Nonfiction category. Design by Doris Heilmann, saying “Hi Joel, 12 years ago I self-pubbed this paper book. It is about pilot training and day-to-day life of aviation personel. I am now planning to publish it next year as an ebook. I put the image into a blog. This is the link. Thanks for comments, Doris.”


A. Datta submitted Vanishing Peak, Eternal Spring in Inexpensive Rainbow Country in the Nonfiction category. Design by A. Datta.


Cliff Feightner submitted Views from Sandhausen: Experiences from a Foreign Service Assignment in the Nonfiction category. Design by Walt Shiel, saying “A wonderful cover crafted from the author’s original photograph, blended with Walt’s ecletic skill.”


Alan Canfield submitted Watch Your Line: Techniques to Improve Road Cycling Skills in the Nonfiction category. Design by Alan Canfield, saying “I got the idea for my book cover while riding my bike looking for good cover shots to photograph. I already had settled on the title “Watch Your Line” for the book on road bike skills development. With the morning fog and slight bend in the road obscuring the background, the concept to line up with the white line, while incorporating the Share the Road sign, seemed natural. I also incorporate the mustard yellow of the Share the Road sign into the cover text to emphasize the subtitle “Techniques to Improve Road Cycling Skills”. I felt this needed reinforcement since the title, while “catchy”, could be perceived as offensive.”


JF: The author’s thoughtful approach to his cover has not, unfortunately, resulted in something particularly effective. The concept is strong, but the amateur nature of the photography and boxy, unsophisticated typography have taken a toll. With an information product like this book, all that may not matter much in the end since roadies will buy it for the instruction.


Russell Phillips submitted Weapons & Equipment of the US Army in the Nonfiction category.


vito veii submitted Worlds Within Worlds in the Nonfiction category. Design by vito veii, saying “I designed it using some hand drawing and software. I also have a book
popularity contest
please tell other people.”


Michael N. Marcus submitted 399 Valuable Self-Publishing Tips for a Penny Apiece in the Nonfiction category. Design by Michael N. Marcus.


JF: Using the iPad as a frame for this book is a clever way to alert buyers that it’s an e-book. The big penny seems to have left little space for the numbered list of items on the cover, but over all this is an effective cover.


Kim Wolterman submitted Keys to Unlocking House History in the Nonfiction category. Design by Joleene Naylor.


Will Entrekin submitted A New York Trilogy in the Fiction category. Design by Will Entrekin, saying “Hey, Joel. Last time around you mentioned the lack of non-fiction entries, so I thought I’d throw in another, this one a collection of three non-fiction essays concerning September 11th and New York City. I think you’ll like that the font used is American Typewriter (or closest to), which is used in the iconic “I -heart- New York” tee shirts. Cheers, Will.”


JF: Entrekin has produced some lovely covers for his novels, but this one is a victim of too-clever typography that obscures meaning rather than revealing it.


That’s a Wrap—But What’s Next?

Okay, if you’ve been following along this week you’ve seen over 200 e-book covers. Tomorrow I’ll reveal the winners in both Fiction and Nonfiction and hand out the coveted badges.

Do you think you know which covers will win? I’ve got a special (and mysterious) prize for anyone who can correctly guess both, so let me know in the comments, and good luck!

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    { 9 comments… read them below or add one }

    Melody Simmons September 26, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Hi Joel

    If you don’t mind me voting….

    FICTION: 1st – The Last King’s Amulet
    2nd – Viridis
    3rd – Torbrek and the Dragon Variation

    NON-FICTION: 1st – Once Upon a Tiger
    2nd – Admit it, You’re Crazy!

    A lovely competition!
    Melody Simmons

    Reply

    notebook cover designs April 30, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Notebook is one of the major source for all types of education.Front and back side wrappers will play the major role for the notebook impressions. Students are interested in major activites like sports,natural and various types of activities, In this sense students love notebook by looking the various scenes, still in front and back side wrappers, so it may induce the students to use notebook regularly.We are one of the toppest three notebook cover designs in India. Our designs spreads in all over India.

    Reply

    Janet Wong October 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Forgive me for hoping for Once Upon A Tiger for the nonfiction winner, but I think that illustrator Sladjana Vasic did a really outstanding job…so that’s my vote! (I voted for If You Go Into the Woods for the fiction winner, so maybe I just have animals and forests on my mind.) I also really love the romantic/idyllic cover for Plant Whatever Brings You Joy. It is so beautiful and taps into gardening dreams–rather than the realities of mud and mosquito repellent!

    Reply

    Alexis ONeill October 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    For me, Once Upon A Tiger: New Beginnings for Endangered Animals by Janet Wong is totally arresting. The luminescent green background is inviting, the partial face of the tiger is intriguing. This cover definitely makes me want to explore the book.

    Reply

    J. Tillman October 19, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Mr. Friedlander, here are my favorites.

    In non-fiction “61 Favorite Poems” is my favorite. Maybe the typography at the top could have a little more contrast, but this is the one that makes me want to open it up (so to speak) and read it. I also liked the Mitochondria book, which really reaches out to the target audience, although the title could be a little bigger.

    In fiction, “The Devil’s Auditor” is my favorite. One look at the cover and you know that is one tough job.

    I have a feeling that my favorites may not be yours, but I’ll let this stand as my predictions, too.

    Here’s my complaint. You made too many cryptic references to typography, such as “stronger typography” or “unfortunate typographic choices”. Sometimes I see what you mean, or at least I think I do. But sometimes I’m just wondering what you mean. Can you give some indication of what you think should be done. Like this: “What this book needs is big, yes BIG, purple, uppercase, sans serif letters with a green drop shadow.” Now that’s something I can understand.

    All in all, a very interesting series of articles.

    Reply

    Duncan Long October 19, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Nice collection of book covers. It will be interesting to see which are selected as the winning designs.

    Reply

    Katherine Matthews October 19, 2011 at 6:53 am

    My votes/prediction:
    Five Dances with Death
    Once Upon A Tiger

    Love this blog, Joel. I learn something every time it shows up in my mailbox.

    Reply

    Roger C. Parker October 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Dear Katherine:
    Well said: each day you’re compelled to return.
    Roger

    Reply

    Ros October 19, 2011 at 1:43 am

    I love the 399 iPad cover – brilliant! I like the mobile phone one, too, though I worry that people might skim past it thinking it’s a listing for a phone, not a book.

    I think it’s fair to say that the general standard of the non-fiction covers is not as good as the fiction ones. Which is odd, because it really oughtn’t to be that hard to produce a good, workable non-fiction cover that doesn’t instantly scream self-produced.

    Reply

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