What does this cover say? (Looking for feedback on design)

Hi, Folks.

 

So, I've been busily hammering away on my latest project, which is now among the beta-readers and fact-checkers.

 

In the meantime, I'm working on the cover. I'd like to know your first impressions on these rough designs. The photos are imperfectly focused, and there are some crop / tilt adjustments. Depending on what changes I make for the final cover, these photos will be re-done with the better camera under better conditions.

 

What I would like to know:

 

1. Based on the cover, what is this book about? Guess as many plot elements and obvious clues as possible.

2. Do the circled letters in some of the photos add or detract (possibly suggest plot elements)?

3. Is it obvious what the large brass object is?

4. Does the size of the brass object suggest a plot element?

 

Any other thoughts or suggestions regarding layout, color, additional elements needed, etc. would be helpful as well, and will be gladly received, as always.

 

 

 [Photos removed for space]

 

 

 

Waiting on pins and needles.

 

Comments

  • I like the second and last ones best. The cover tells me that this is a murder mystery which Pastor Jake has to solve. Someone in the congregation has been naughty and he is going to sniff out that rat. The circled letters suggest joining the dots and linking clues to arrive at the solution.

     

    However, and this is a biggie, remember that the thumbnails in online bookstores will display at 174 x 174 pixels and all impact will be lost. This is what those covers will look like as thumbnails (these are actually slighly larger than 174 x 174;

    one is 174 x 200 and the other 174 x 228)

     

    original.jpg2.jpg

     

    Perhaps just use a close-up image of the spent cartridge with a drop of blood sliding down it?

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Well, that's in the ballpark of the actual synopsis, so the cover art is somewhat effective, at least.

     

    Point well taken about the thumbnails. Might need to boost the font size another notch or so. A few other tweaks...

     

    Also, I need to polish the cartridge before doing the art.

     

    Okay, thank you muchly, Brambles.

     

    Did the size of the cartridge suggest anything?

     

    Any other thoughts, anyone?

  • I think the basic idea in all the samples is great. 

     

    I agree with Brambles, though, on their basic assessment.

     

    Perhaps rather than worrying too much about placement of the elements I'd suggest looking more closely at their relative sizes. At the moment, in all of the samples, everything is A. much too small and B. without any dominant element---that is, everything is pretty much of equal importance. Rather than there being one important thing for the eye to go to there are many...with the result that the cover simply looks fussy.

     

    I would get more focus. There is no need for the rows and columns of type to be so small in order to get the point across...aside from the fact that the title is much too small to read well. 

     

    You may need to put less emphasis on the empty shell: as it is it overwhelms the cover to the point where not even the title stands out. 

     

    You need fewer bloodstains and larger ones. The small ones you have now simply look like spots. The don't immediately read as bloodstains...something that is exacerbated by them all being almost exactly identical. 

     

    I would suggest enlarging the type until the text for the title runs nearly from side to side. Make the shell only partly on the cover and include no more than one or two very large bloodstains.

  • Hello,

    Can you have a magnifying glass over the title so that it would be enlarged enough to be perfectly visible?

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Ron Miller wrote:

    I think the basic idea in all the samples is great. 

     

    I agree with Brambles, though, on their basic assessment.

     

    Perhaps rather than worrying too much about placement of the elements I'd suggest looking more closely at their relative sizes. At the moment, in all of the samples, everything is A. much too small and B. without any dominant element---that is, everything is pretty much of equal importance. Rather than there being one important thing for the eye to go to there are many...with the result that the cover simply looks fussy.

     

    I would get more focus. There is no need for the rows and columns of type to be so small in order to get the point across...aside from the fact that the title is much too small to read well. 

     

    You may need to put less emphasis on the empty shell: as it is it overwhelms the cover to the point where not even the title stands out. 

     

    You need fewer bloodstains and larger ones. The small ones you have now simply look like spots. The don't immediately read as bloodstains...something that is exacerbated by them all being almost exactly identical. 

     

    I would suggest enlarging the type until the text for the title runs nearly from side to side. Make the shell only partly on the cover and include no more than one or two very large bloodstains.


    Okay, that makes sense.

     

    Dripping the food coloring from high enough to get the jagged edges on the "Bloodstains" led to imprecise targetting. I can make them larger and more prominent, while reducing the number.

     

    More emphasis on the title, larger type, and less emphasis on the cartridge. All of those sound like good advice.

     

    I also get the impression that the consensus is to nix the circles around the letters.

     

    Focus will improve when I do this with better light and a better camera.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    potetjp wrote:

    Hello,

    Can you have a magnifying glass over the title so that it would be enlarged enough to be perfectly visible?


    Smiley Very Happy

     

    I think I can make it larger.


  • Skoob_Ym a écrit :

    potetjp wrote:

    Hello,

    Can you have a magnifying glass over the title so that it would be enlarged enough to be perfectly visible?


    Smiley Very Happy

     

    I think I can make it larger.


    The visual effect is not the same.

  • I cannot disagree with anything so far said, but perhaps I can add to it.

     

    I am wondering if the layout of the title etc., text would look better done like a Word Search thing. Not all running horizontal in otherwords.

     

    I get the play on words in the title, but it still makes me think of exorcisms, or why use such a title? Is there one in the story?

     

    The bullet is a bit cliched and if you are going to use that, why not also a bell and candle? Although that would make it a bit cluttered perhaps.

     

    The blood is also cliched, but still always used!

     

    The first thing I thought when I saw it was that the title etc., is too small and was also wondering about a magnifying glass laid over it. I have no idea what period it is set in, but there are also magnifying sheets, which may work better, not being traditionally round.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Okay, round two... Imagine being at the optometrist... THIS, or THIS?

     

    : )

     

    Okay, two sizes of font, four patterns of food coloring.

     

    CoverB01.jpg

     

    CoverB02.jpg

     

    coverB03.jpg

     

    CoverB04.jpg

     

    As I said, primary differences are font sizes and drop patterns. I tried to make larger drops, and fewer, but dripping food coloring through a coffee stirring tube from chest height onto the floor is an imprecise art, at best.

     

    I did get a better and more definite splatter, suggestive of blood, I think.

     

    I left the cartridge out because it can be added at any time, and it's placement can be arranged so that no letters are covered. Best to get the font, lettering, and drops right first, then add the more flexible element.

     

    As always, any thoughts are welcome.

     

    The magnifying glass would be a great idea, but difficult to execute. I can experiment a little, I suppose.

     

     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Would it be better to have the Title and Author in Indigo or perhaps navy blue for better color and contrast?

     

    In example 2, do the drops on the letter P render it difficult to read?

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    kevinlomas wrote:

    I cannot disagree with anything so far said, but perhaps I can add to it.

     

    I am wondering if the layout of the title etc., text would look better done like a Word Search thing. Not all running horizontal in otherwords.

     

    The thought crossed my mind, but it would make it harder to organize the words and keep them on the page. Also, no Acrostic or word search puzzle in that sense occurs in the story.

     

    I get the play on words in the title, but it still makes me think of exorcisms, or why use such a title? Is there one in the story?

     

    No exorcisms, but a bell, a book, and bullets all figure into the title. I've adjusted to remove the candle.

     

    The bullet is a bit cliched and if you are going to use that, why not also a bell and candle? Although that would make it a bit cluttered perhaps.

     

    The cartridge is a relatively simple element that is relevant, that communicates that a crime is involved, and that appears in the story. Including a bell and a candle (or a bell and a book) might turn the cover into a Lord Privy Seal. We wouldn't want that.

     

    The blood is also cliched, but still always used!

     

    Again, to communicate that a violent crime against persons is central to the plot.

     

    The first thing I thought when I saw it was that the title etc., is too small and was also wondering about a magnifying glass laid over it. I have no idea what period it is set in, but there are also magnifying sheets, which may work better, not being traditionally round.


    Have enlarged the fonts, and re-set the type, to make the Title and Author more obvious.

  • The first one in this list works the best for me - the splatter is prominent, but the least distracting in this version. I really didn't like the splatter when it lands too close to the text.

    I also like using bold/caps for the title, and i might consider doing the "a pastor jake mystery" all in caps as well. It helps differentiate from the background letters.

    Also, could you hide a word in the other letters on the cover? Maybe...Lulu? Smiley Happy

  • Have enlarged the fonts, and re-set the type, to make the Title and Author more obvious.

     

    You have missed out letters to make the title etc., stand out more, but it breaks the pattern.

  • I preferred the ringing of the crucial letters because that is how it would be if someone had found words in them. Although They could be underlined I suppose.


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    kevinlomas wrote:

    I cannot disagree with anything so far said, but perhaps I can add to it.

     

    I am wondering if the layout of the title etc., text would look better done like a Word Search thing. Not all running horizontal in otherwords.

     

    The thought crossed my mind, but it would make it harder to organize the words and keep them on the page.

     

    Not really because you can put the letters wherever you want, or they would not be spelling out a title.

     

    Also, no Acrostic or word search puzzle in that sense occurs in the story.

     

    I have no idea what that means and I doubt others seeing the cover would either. What is says to me is someone found those words in a page full of random letters.

     

    I get the play on words in the title, but it still makes me think of exorcisms, or why use such a title? Is there one in the story?

     

    No exorcisms, but a bell, a book, and bullets all figure into the title. I've adjusted to remove the candle.

     

    So you have, but maybe it would now be best set out as >

     

    Bell

    Book

    and

    Bullets

     

    Centralised of course.

     

    The bullet is a bit cliched and if you are going to use that, why not also a bell and candle? Although that would make it a bit cluttered perhaps.

     

    The cartridge is a relatively simple element that is relevant, that communicates that a crime is involved,

     

    As I said, cliched, and it already says Bullet in the title so is a picture of a cartridge also needed?

     

    and that appears in the story. Including a bell and a candle (or a bell and a book) might turn the cover into a Lord Privy Seal. We wouldn't want that.

     

    I assume your story is a murder mystery sort of thing, or that is part of it, and many covers for such are very literal.      http://search.aol.co.uk/aol/image?q=murder%20mystery%20book%20covers%3F&s_it=searchtabs&v_t=keyword_rollover

     

    The blood is also cliched, but still always used!

     

    Again, to communicate that a violent crime against persons is central to the plot.

     

    The bullet could have been used to shoot a bear. Look at some of the above covers and they show a murder being committed or a body being found. Very literal. There's also a lot of example covers for code breaker fiction. The ones where the images are not obviously to to with that usually have Code in the title.  http://search.aol.co.uk/aol/image?s_it=sb-top&v_t=keyword_rollover&q=code+breaker+mystery+fiction+covers%3F

     

     


     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Paul_Lulu wrote:

    The first one in this list works the best for me - the splatter is prominent, but the least distracting in this version. I really didn't like the splatter when it lands too close to the text.

    I also like using bold/caps for the title, and i might consider doing the "a pastor jake mystery" all in caps as well. It helps differentiate from the background letters.

    Also, could you hide a word in the other letters on the cover? Maybe...Lulu? Smiley Happy


    I could. One can already find the words "Moldovan Starlight" if one looks for them. : )

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    kevinlomas wrote:

    I preferred the ringing of the crucial letters because that is how it would be if someone had found words in them. Although They could be underlined I suppose.


    Again ... it's not actually a word search per se.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    What about

     

     . . . . . . . . BELL

    . . . . . . . . BOOK

    . . . . .  & BULLETS

     

    ?

     

    When I say that managing the printing as an acrostic would be difficult, I mean this:

     

     

    ....................................... C

    ....................................... L

    ....................................... I

    ....................................... F

    ....................................... F

    ....

    ...................................... R

    ...................................... O

    ..................B E L L ...... B

    ................. B O O K ....  I

    ............. & B U L L E T S

    ...................................... O

    ...................................... N

     

     

    Which would put the author name at the edge, inviting the "full Bleed" to cut it off, and the title would be forced into the bottom right, where it would have to be tiny to keep from throwing the entire page out.

  • Again ... it's not actually a word search per se.

     

    Again, but it looks like one, and that is what most people are used to.  Smiley Frustrated

     

    image

  • All that acrostic means is this >>

     

    "a poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words."

     

    Which is exactly what I keep saying. Once you have your title etc in you can fill the rest up with any letters. It matters not to those viewing it as a book cover.

     

    hqlweignetaupbkd

    idkevinolomasom

    fflenjigdsrleyubfel

     

    I was just looking at the imbalance of words per line in the title and it is far from unusual to have and on a line of its own.

  • Bottom line, I think:

     

    A book cover should not be a puzzle that the potential reader needs to stop and figure out.

     

    They need to be able read the title and get a sense of the book's subject or theme in just a glance.

     

    I'm not certain that any of the variations on this cover are succeeding at doing this.

  • Indeed.

     

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