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Book cover design


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Designing book covers, including an effective assignment for graphic design students.

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Book cover design

  1. 1. Book Cover Design • Understand the purpose of cover design • Become acquainted with the process of designing a cover • Consider the elements of editorial design
  2. 2. Cover Design • A book cover is a POP display and like packaging must grab a reader’s attention. • A cover design is both promotional and editorial • It is informational--should give the reader a sense of what the text is about. • Promotional—it must beckon you to pick it up.
  3. 3. The Process of Designing a Cover For cover design, components are: FRONT-- • Book title (and subtitle) • Author(s) full names • Edition • Publisher “colophon” (watermark) SPINE— • Book title • Author(s) last name • Edition • Publisher logo BACK— • Precis (synopsis) • Review quotes/endorsements • Author photo & short bio • Price • ISGN # & bar code 8: All True: Unbelievable: Cover © Nicole Caputo
  4. 4. Integration of Type & Image • Type and image work together to communicate the subject… – supporting – sympathetic, – or contrasting relationship • The design concept can be…  All-Type  Type-driven  Image-driven  Or a visual-verbal synergy City of the Snakes: Cover © Catherine Casalino (Designer, Illustrator)
  5. 5. Cover Design Checklist  Attract readers with an attention-grabbing design  Display information in a clear visual hierarchy  Express the essence of the book’s content  Suggest the genre  Brand! Differentiate it—make it unique  Design the spine for graphic impact and readability  Treat back cover and spine as part of the “whole” design • The front and back may even be treated as a continuous design.
  6. 6. Compositional Modes • Consider the following structures as points of departure:  Approximate symmetry: The composition is arranged with almost exact correspondence on either side of a vertical axis.
  7. 7. Compositional Modes  Modular grid: Produces unity and continuity, helps maintain alignment among graphic elements, and can be rearranged to create different zones or forms yet still remain unified. Modular grid
  8. 8. Compositional Modes  Major focal: Establish emphasis in a visual hierarchy with a main focal point.  Parallel or corresponding movements: Create alignment through parallel arrangements of type, image, rules, and graphic elements.
  9. 9. Compositional Modes  Rhythm, pattern, color: All over pattern and/or thoughtfully positioned repeats of color creating rhythm.
  10. 10. Compositional Modes  Divisions: A whole composition through a connecting structure of corresponding parts.
  11. 11. Compositional Modes  Transparency: We read the type and see the image (almost) simultaneously, where one complements the other.
  12. 12. Compositional Modes  Canvas of interesting juxtapositions: Arrange type and image into interesting juxtapositions, yet respect the principles of emphasis and visual hierarchy
  13. 13. Compositional Modes  Corner to corner: Diagonally transverse the surface by a pulling-like action from opposite corners to achieve active spatial tension.
  14. 14. Compositional Modes  Open space: Open areas of the spatial field are active players in the overall composition.
  15. 15. Compositional Modes  Illusion of space or movement: Create illusions of spatial depth or movement in a variety of ways by manipulating the picture plane.
  16. 16. Compositional Modes  Fractured or ambiguous space: Graphic space that is fractured or ambiguous does not reflect how we see the natural world.
  17. 17. Other Concerns  Design a cover that represents the content as an enthusiastic and intelligent approach to the book’s topic.  Differentiate the cover from the current competition.  Make the author’s name easy to see.
  18. 18. Designing for a Series • Corresponding visual elements/positions help us recognize books as belonging together.  There are similarities, in the method of -visualization -composition -placement -typography -color -style of visuals Albert Camus: Cover Series © John Gall, Art Director; Helen Yentus, Designer
  19. 19. Designing for a Series • The author’s name, book title, visuals usually placed in the same spot on each cover. • A template unites each cover so the viewer easily relates each cover to another in the series.  A cover can be a “fraternal twin” to the next/just enough variation to distinguish individual titles within the series.  Or, creating the look of “cousins,” where there is a family resemblance, but not as close as twins. Joyland Series: Book Covers
  20. 20. WA Dwiggins
  21. 21. WA Dwiggins
  22. 22. WA Dwiggins
  23. 23. WA Dwiggins
  24. 24. Your Assignment Design a trade paperback book cover for a novel while making typography an INTEGRAL part of the design. Required Size: 5.5 x 8 inches with a 1-inch spine
  25. 25. Choice of Titles Bel Canto by Ann Patchett The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield Life After Life by Kate Atkinson Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel The Color Purple by Alice Walker Four Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris The Famished Road by Ben Okri Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh Pearl of China by Anchee Min We All Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen The Book of Night Women by Marlon James People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks The Book Thief by Markus Zusak American Gods by Neil Gaiman One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  26. 26. Required Components FRONT-- Book title (and subtitle or, possibly, a one-phrase description) Author(s) full names Edition # Publisher “watermark” Any prominent awards received SPINE— Book title Author(s) last name Edition Publisher logo BACK— Precis (synopsis) Review quotes/endorsements Author photo & short bio Price ISGN # & bar code
  27. 27. Assignment Construct, Step by Step 1. Start with a mini-brief. In one or two sentences, define the key element of the book that needs to be communicated visually on its cover. • What will be the emphasis and how can you achieve it? • What colors will best depict the feeling?
  28. 28. Assignment Construct, Step by Step 2. Keeping your intent re. meaning in mind, and considering what connotations various shapes may convey… • Create several very simple thumbnail ideas for the layout of your book cover using shapes only. • Work on the front, back, and spine of the book simultaneously as one unit. • You need to review the components listed above and consider what shapes you may form creatively with that data.
  29. 29. Assignment Construct, Step by Step 3. Working with TEXT ONLY, begin roughing out the best thumbnails into larger “sketches” created in Photoshop or Illustrator. • Create these “sketches” using no other imagery beyond type, and by applying the typography in a variety of arrangements within the shapes you created in Step 2. • Use only Times Roman or Futura, although you may use warping tools or any other object manipulation tools to change the shape of the letterforms. • Play with figure/ground relationship and create several. • The idea is to focus on the arrangement of the text versus depending on images or a stylized novelty typeface to convey the mood.
  30. 30. Assignment Construct, Step by Step 4. Choose the most interesting typographic designs and slowly begin adding in images (illustration or photography) and other design elements. • Tweak the type design and work toward developing full-size roughs (which can be drawn by hand or created in software using very basic shapes and placeholder imagery). • You may print out several copies of your type-only designs and begin sketching in imagery on the copies. • Consider how you are communicating the book’s “essence” through your arrangement of the elements, choice of imagery, and final font selection. • Try several variations before moving into a final mechanical!
  31. 31. Assignment Construct, Step by Step 5. For the final file, work in 300 ppi at exact size. Your final mechanical is a thorough mock-up, does not have to be press-ready or include bleeds.