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Cover Designs

In this book, author Gavin D. J. Harper shares some insight regarding effective cover designs for your book - because customers do judge books by their covers!

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Cover Designs

  1. 1. Gavin D. J. Harper
  2. 2. <ul><li>The cover of your book is your sales pitch to the reader. </li></ul><ul><li>Before they have even opened a single page of your book, they will be looking at the cover design and making value judgements about the cover of your book. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>However… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As much as your cover design is your sales pitch to your reader, it can also be a tool to ‘sell’ the book to an editor at a publishing house. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This not only conveys to your editor how attractive your book could look on the shelf, but also the themes </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Look at the sort of imagery, visual devices and style of other covers of books in your market segment. </li></ul><ul><li>Think how you can create a brand and image for your book that identifies with what is already in the marketplace, yet marks your book out as distinctive and different from the crowd. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>This case study is going to look at the evolution of a cover design prepared for a book that I was co-authoring with a friend on converting your vehicle to run on vegetable oil, and/or making biodiesel. </li></ul><ul><li>The boo was designed to be practical, accessible and fun, and we wanted to convey this in the cover design. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>We started by looking at the other books that we were competing with, to ensure that our book would identify with the sort of imagery that readers associate with the subject of Biofuel, Biodiesel & Vegetable Oil. </li></ul><ul><li>We created a montage of the designs of existing covers that were in the marketplace ( is a great tool to help you do this). </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>After some discussion, we decided that the sort of images that we needed to capture in a cover design were: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pictures of vegetable oil crops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oil Barrels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fuel Pump Nozzles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oil / Vegetable Oil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The World </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sunflowers? </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>The idea of a clown firing a gun and flowers coming out the end, were the basis for the following design which I submitted to the editor with the book proposal. </li></ul><ul><li>This gave her something to take into a sales meeting, and a talking point, which was key in securing the deal to publish this book. </li></ul>
  10. 10. This image was created in Powerpoint. The images were all captured from Google Image Search. Adobe Photoshop was used to ‘trim’ some of the images and make areas of them transparent. Powerpoint was used to assemble the image, with logos and text, and generate a *.jpg to send to the editor.
  11. 11. <ul><li>Points to think about: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have reasonable PC skills, and an eye for design, have a go at designing yourself, but a ‘bad’ cover design, could easily detract from your proposal. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember the design you submit might not end up on the cover of your book, so don’t invest too much time. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who else could you ask? E.g. Graphic design / art student, artist, photographer. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>We supplied the cover design, the editor was very enthusiastic and the cover and our artwork was given to the graphics department to produce ‘print ready’ artwork for the final book. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Based on our ideas, the art department generated the three cover designs above. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Herein lies the importance of checking images thoroughly… in the first cover, the art dept. had supplied a picture of a ‘wheat field’… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… wheat isn’t really that good for making biodiesel!! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To change the cover to a field of rapeseed would make the book too close to a competitors book which was on the marketplace. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>My co-author quite liked the second design, however, I felt it was very dull – none of the visual devices in the picture really told you what the book was about. </li></ul><ul><li>We settled on a variation of book design three. The bottle of oil with a ‘fuel filler nozzle’ coming out from the bottom. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>We all decided that the third cover design was favoured, however, the bottle was changed from a simple bottle of oil to an image of a rapeseed field transitioning into a bottle of oil. </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>For the final cover, we decided that the ‘streaks’ in the background didn’t really add anything, and the bottle was swopped for a funnel. </li></ul>