Cover revisited: crowdsourcing a design

Opinions vary

All right, so following up on the cover proof posted earlier today, here are some thoughts:

— the original cover IS lovely.  But it doesn’t “pop.”  What that means, according to @DavidRozansky (who you should all follow): “Try brighter colors, commuters in motion, speeding train coming towards viewer, vivid title font.  ‘Popping’ means that the cover stands out from other covers. More about design and color than artwork’s content.”

–so we could go back to the original artist and ask him to make the cover “pop”.  But here’s another problem: the book is funny.

I’ll be honest; I never gave much thought to Immortal‘s humor.  Since I started writing things down the things I’ve written down have been funny, and I have far less control over this than you might think.  I did not, in other words, set down to write something people would start comparing to Douglas Adams.  I really didn’t.  Adam just happens to be funny.

But the existing cover doesn’t signal “funny”.  So I do think it needs to be changed to more accurately reflect the nature of the book’s contents.

–The proof is intended to show Adam, drawn as a piece of cave art (the figure to the left is cribbed from the cave paintings at Lascaux) standing with three dimensional persons in a modern setting.  But then it became difficult to get the contrast between him and the other figures right.  The lighting became an issues as well.  The bus stop went from a daytime thing to a night time thing, and then there were problems showing the figures that weren’t Adam well.  A draft was put together showing a crowd of people with a red-haired woman in them, but then the hair was a problem.

Another version of the cover shows the bus stop and Adam drawn on a cave wall, but that didn’t have the necessary pop either, because cave paintings are surprisingly colorless, all told.

— the reactions to the existing proof are mixed.  Some see what we were shooting for, but others just don’t see it, and any time you have to explain what a cover means, there’s a problem with that cover.  A suggestion was floated that the kind of cover we should be shooting for is along the lines of the Hitchhiker’s Guide covers, but that’s a bit too whimsical.

So to summarize

I don’t know where to go from here yet.  The cover needs to be something whimsical, iconic, basic, not depicting Adam realistically (if he is depicted at all) and has to “pop”.  And unfortunately all of the “lightning bolt” ideas I’ve had to this point– the bus stop with the cave art guy was my first cover idea, before the current one– have proven much more difficult to do than they are to describe.

So, back to you, people-who-have-read-the-book: any thoughts?  Please add to the comments below.

Liked it? Take a second to support Gene Doucette on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

No Comments

  1. WotV on May 4, 2011 at 10:17 am

    For goodness sake’s get rid of the bus stop. It isn’t working. Free your mind. The bus doesn’t play a part in this. Replace the bus stop with a keg or something.

  2. Jerod Killick on May 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I believe that the new cover is great. The cover is a marketing too to bring people in to purchase. I would not worry that it has to capture the specifics of the book, but the overall mood. Less is more, as long as the reader clicks to purchase your book because it brings them to the table.

  3. Anna (@AMPEDart) on May 4, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    When I am stuck designing a cover, I find it best to start from scratch. Or go look at other cover somewhere (even online) Get some fresh images in your head. I’d say for a funny book, lose the black. Perhaps brighten up the font some, and make it something more bold and clean. Have you thought about making the imagery look like it’s as ad on the wall of a bus station/T-stop? Don’t forget, the cover needs to make the reader pick up the book, but it doesn’t need to depict exactly, the details of the book. I find many of the authors I work with get caught up in trying to place too many details from the content on the cover and it causes it to become too busy quickly. Good luck! Hope that helps some? 🙂

    • genedoucette on May 4, 2011 at 10:42 pm

      Very helpful, thanks! The ad at a bus station idea is sort of a variant on the existing cover concept, which has cave art on a subway wall. We need something brighter and lighter and, I think, simpler. Something people “get” as soon as they see it.

  4. Book 13: IMMORTAL | Knitting with Pencils on May 5, 2011 at 9:21 am

    […] turn out. And with the designers, I have to grouse about the cover, which I found out later is being altered, hopefully to better reflect the wit and scope of the […]

  5. […] site, Knitting With Pencils.  Tracey loved the book and seems to be throwing her hat into the cover art ring as […]

Leave a Comment