One of the great things about being a freelance graphic designer, is I have the freedom to work on a wide variety of design projects including book covers. A book cover design is a great challenge. A challenge that I don't take lightly and quite frankly, it is often a project that takes more time (or as much time) as starting a branding project from scratch. Working with indie authors, I create a work of art that will not only entice the reader to purchase their book but also, is essentially the key to their success. So the pressure is on!
My most recent book cover design project was one that I'm happy to report went very well, from start to finish. Author Mark Lado is a manufacturing expert and he had been working on his book, "Building a Showcase Culture" for quite some time and was just entering the final editing phase which is one of the hardest and most stressful phases of the book writing process. Once the editing phase has begun, authors are faced with another great challenge, designing their cover. Some authors choose to try and design the cover themselves, but in most cases, this is a huge mistake. Authors should have a vision for their cover, but since they are not usually designers by trade, it poses a serious challenge to try and create something themselves. This is a big problem and the reason why most indie authors do not sell many books. The design of the book cover matters because:
- It entices readers to purchase your book
- It is the key element to your marketing campaign
- The image of your cover is used everywhere you try and sell your book
"One of the most challenging tasks for a new independent author is dealing with the design for the cover of his or her book. There’s no place I know of that’s the subject of more anxiety, scrutiny, second-guessing, crowdsourcing, opinion-mongering, and general unease than the small space of your book cover." Cover Design is Challenging for Authors
Book Cover Design Concepts
During our initial consultation, Mark and I discussed his vision for the cover and I learned about his target audience and what publishing sources he would use. After some brainstorming, I went about my work. I came up with three strong concepts for Mark to review. We were going for a clean design with a corporate feel using red, black and white as a preferred color combo.
As I was tweaking my design concepts, I toyed with the navy blue as shown in concept one and liked it so much, I decided to present it to Mark. And guess what? He absolutely loved this concept. I always seem to have at least one favorite, and it just so happened that Mark also preferred the same concept.
Book cover design concept 1 (Chosen design)
Book cover design concept 2
Book cover design concept 3
One of the great things about my job, is that I get to work with some incredibly talented people. Recently, I had the pleasure of designing a mobile friendly portfolio website for Patrick O'Leary. Patrick is a young artist and a very talented guy! His work is fresh, colorful and thought provoking. I really wanted this website to be free to show his unique style so I kept color to a minimum and went with a clean, minimalist look.
Mobile Friendly Website Design
Since Patrick is not ready for a full e-commerce website I suggested we create a portfolio gallery to showcase several of his favorite works, and provide viewers with contact information right above his portfolio so that they can get in touch easily.
This past December, I participated in a design challenge hosted by the creators of MOYO Magazine based in the UK. MOYO Magazine is a wonderful publication that covers all things surface pattern design. Just looking at this magazine will drive you wild with inspiration!
The challenge presented participants with a surface pattern creative brief and an opportunity to show finished works in their gallery.
I enjoyed participating in the challenge for a couple of reasons:
1. To further enhance my surface pattern design skill set by joining a challenge to create several patterns from scratch based on a completely random creative brief. A creative brief not intended for branding design (which I'm very familiar with) but rather the intended purpose would be for use the fashion and textile industry to create clothing or maybe even household goods.
2. To step outside my comfort zone and gain some insight into the fashion industry.
Backstory... I love creating custom custom patterns based on simple doodles, shapes, lines and squiggles, however, most of my patterns are used for branding design or paper goods. Textile design is a whole different ballgame and it takes some extra creativity and fashion sense. Not that it cannot also work for certain brands, but I enjoy learning about the industry as a whole.
The first challenge was to create a 'Neutral Art' pattern using specifically a neutral palette, linear drawings, artistic marks, doodles and or delicate textures.
Below is the custom illustration I came up with to start which I named 'Whimsical Ink' (we were asked to come up with a name for our design). This line art drawing is meant to look like ink that has been swirled on a surface and appear a bit liquid.
Creating an illustration is fun and can be somewhat simple, but then comes the challenging part:
Decide on the proper scale of the illustration once made into a pattern
Decide whether to color or not color the lines
Decide whether to add a background color or leave black and white
Below are the version of the pattern design I came up with. To color or not to color?
I decided to go with my favorite, black and white version of the pattern. It seemed to fit the look I was going for better as it was a bit more striking. But what is amazing about pattern design is that a textile company could purchase the pattern and use different color combinations to suit their needs.
Below is my 'Whimsical Ink' pattern swatch shown in their Neutral Art Gallery. (6th from left on the top row)
Here is an example of how this pattern would look on a throw pillow. Wouldn't look great on a gray couch?
Happy New Year!
Whew! Where did the year disappear to? I'm happy to report that I had the privilege of working on a wide variety of branding, web design and marketing projects over the past year. It's been a year full of growth and productivity so I'm taking a brief moment to bask in the glory and give you a glimpse of some great design projects from 2017.
Website Revisions for Luminous Sounds, Inc.
This was a very recent project but I always enjoy working on the Luminous Sounds branding designs so I thought I would share. I created new web banners using some recent photos they had taken and gave their website a little refresh. It's always wise to keep things updated and refreshed at least once per year.
Web Design, Media Kit and Event Poster Design for Held Hostage Band
Pardon the pun, but these guys rock! Held Hostage is a great band and not only are they climbing the charts globally, they are helping the Vets through their music by donating a portion of their CD Sales to various organizations that help our Veterans. I created a mobile friendly website for them along with a media kit and a couple of event posters.
Logo and Website Design for I Love Fulton, NY.
When it comes to website design, I'm all about the modern, clean look and the use of mobile friendly technology. I used a lot of white space in the design of the I Love Fulton, NY website which helps draw more attention to photos and events calendar they want to showcase.
Website Design for Salon Moda
As I look back through the year, I realize how many web design projects I actually worked on. I think the Salon Moda website stands out because of the unique color palette I selected and the big, bold imagery we used which pulled it all together.
Logo Design for Syracuse Paranormal
I had way too much designing a new logo for the Syracuse Paranormal Group. The SP is a group of volunteers that investigate paranormal activity in a non threatening manor to help those in need determine if their residence or business is a safe environment. I designed their logo to communicate that they offer unique professional services but was careful not to make it look too corny. Below are the 4 original concept ideas I came up with and the final approved design. Love!
Logo Design and Branding for Chajka Enterprises
Another project I enjoyed was working on was the logo and print materials design for Chajka Enterprises. A simple yet striking look was in order so I created a timeless typography logo and word mark and then pulled it all together with a custom pattern design.
Looking back there were so many wonderful projects I had the pleasure of working on, it was a challenge to choose just a handful to show in this blog post. But I'm looking forward to 2018 as I continue to strive to help entrepreneurs and creators achieve success through professional branding designs and marketing. I hope you enjoyed!