Well, there is no cover on book cover design really. I have just never really known any book cover designers in my 15 years or so in this industry. Has me wondering who does all these wonderful designs I see on the shelves (well, this is before all the book shops got closed). Are there book cover design specialists? Specialists agencies or are they all done by art teams within the walls of publishing houses. I honestly have no idea – why would I?
I read books. Mostly the type that take a little bit of historical fact, mix it up with a bunch of fiction and slap a stereotypical male lead that epitomises the perfect alpha male. I am not part of the literati – merely a consumer of works engineered to entertain the masses and leave them “on the edge of their seat”. One thing that the books of the literati and those of the common folk have in common is … they all have a front cover.
In advertising land we talk about “white noise” (the reduction of all advertising to that of an annoying background hum), we talk about “cluttered spaces” (where every advertiser offers up their ad budget to appear in that make or break page position) and mostly, we talk of how our brilliant and original work will “cut through” all of this.
But what about the book shelf at your local book store (assuming it’s still operating). I don’t think there is a more cluttered advertising space than that. How do you achieve “cut through” when every one of your competitors stands side by side , row by row at basically the same size. It’s a marketing dilemma. I don’t think Angus or Roberts would be willing to get their shop fitters around to custom make a shelf so they can stock *insert Authors name here*’s new book that has been designed at A3 size so that it has a point of difference amongst it’s rivals. The chances of a publisher coughing up the coin to produce a four-dimensional-people-detecting-human-engagment-system on a front cover is as fictional as Dan Brown suggesting the church is telling fibs (cough sarcasm cough).
But who goes into book stores these days I hear you yell over the top of your Kindles and your iPads. We shop on Amazon! Well that’s even tougher and a story for a whole other discussion. So back off.
Just recently I had the pleasure of designing the cover of Final Diagnosis, written by an old friend and long time ad guy, Paul Walters. Book cover design was new territory for me. Do I approach it the same way I would approach an ad, a website or a corporate identity? Do I need to identify a unique selling proposition and exploit it? Do I just make it look pretty? So many questions, so few easy answers. In the end I decided on these few criteria:
- The cover must identify with people (like me) who like this breed of action and pace in a novel
- The story must be boiled down and be represented somehow in the imagery
- It’s gotta have some ‘pop’
This is the result. Be interested to see what you think.
Final Diagnosis is an action novel that takes you on a journey around the world with the lead male (yeah, pretty much that alpha male guy we all want to be) as he runs for his life and discovers who he can and can’t trust. You can buy this book online here or pop over and have a read of Paul Walters’ musings at his own site here.