When friends get involved in cover design

Posted on Mar 20, 2013 in Before-After, Book Cover Design

When friends get involved in cover design
Q. When is bullying okay?

A. When your designer starts shoving and pushing you away from a dead-end cover design.

The original cover design for Bullies to Buddies was angry, repelling, and illegible. How did that happen? The author initially chose a friend to work up his cover design — a friend who works with claymations and felt compelled to use those images in the cover and title treatment.

Although an interesting idea, it simply does not work when considering the target market, the goals of the book, and — most importantly — the visible power of the cover. Imagine the reaction when handing a bullied kid this angry cover. Imagine trying to read the title and subtitle when the cover is viewed no larger than a postage stamp online or in print catalogs.

We bullied our way through to nudge the author away from those angry, scary, evil-looking claymations (and a title font that, sorry to say, looked like dog poop). We believe that self-help books that deal with heavy emotion must speak to the result, not the problem. The result is a winning cover that resonates with its intended market, incorporating a crystal clear title, appealing color palette, and age-appropriate image.

It took some bullying on our part and, in the end, the client got a compelling cover and (whew) was happy.