Let’s Get you Covered! Series:
And so we arrive to #3. We finally get to the third post of our series about cover design. Even though I had initially thought of doing a single post about it, as it turns out I like to talk (a lot!). Post started growing a little bit too much and now we have a series. Yay!
Anyways, today we are going to take a look at the second type of cover I recommend for beginners without design experience. This is the second easiest after TEXT-ONLY, and despite it being very similar, the parameters and difficulty level are slightly higher.
So let’s get to it: Logo/Silhouette
Type 2: Logo/Silhouette Covers.
Logo/Silhouette Covers are my favorite type of design, because they are easy to create and edit, and also appear elegant and sophisticated. For the most artsy authors in the group, the Logo/Silhouette is a great alternative. It offers a more detailed, customized view, and at the same time it doesn’t require a real big artistic mastery for creation. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Pros: Easy to achieve a professional look. You can create your own silhouettes, and thus avoid copyright claims. Professional and attractive results. Doesn’t require a lot of artistic ability. Works for any book genre.
Cons: Creation is time consuming. Good material can only be rendered in fully professional software. Might require additional hardware (graphic tablet or the like)
To create a Logo/Silhouette Cover:
The specifics for these two are slightly different, so let’s take them one by one.
—– For silhouettes:
Contrast is key! When you are working with silhouettes, contrast is the most important thing to create that striking look you are aiming for. Silhouettes are normally solid color, so make sure your background is either a contrasting gradient or solid color (a bright color background is advisable, avoid dark hues) or a plain texture. Opacity is your friend when you are working silhouettes. Play with the different shades until you get the result you desire.
Easy on the eyes. Choose shapes that are easily recognizable. If you are working with human silhouettes, make sure they are not in a passive pose. A sitting or laying down silhouette can pass for a shapeless shadow once your book is reduced to thumbnail size. Make sure your silhouette is in a position where his or her body is well defined.
Don’t overdo it. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. If you are going to use more than one or two silhouettes, make sure to set up ways to differentiate them. You can achieve this by changing the opacity and size, and also changing the color according to the position of the silhouette. Generally speaking black silhouettes get more attention than color silhouettes, so put your most important objects on black and continue coloring from there.
—– For logos:
The one and only. If you are using a logo or symbol, do not include any other image in the cover. For your background use a texture (preferred) or a gradient or solid fill, but nothing too heavy. Textures give more realism to the work, but they cannot take from your logo, which is the most important thing. If your logo is a plain color, make sure the back texture is in a contrasting shade. However, if your logo has a gradient or clipart fill, the texture should be a complementing (preferably lighter) shade.
Message received. An image is worth a thousand words, and people always look at the image first. Make sure your logo delivers an accurate message. If you have a ship, people will expect your story to occur at sea. If you have a crown, royalty of some kind should be present. Be mindful of the message you want to convey and remember you only have an image to do so, so choose wisely. A logo can be created or chosen from any mundane object, but it needs to have a related meaning.
Creating a logo/silhouette cover can be as easy or as hard as you wish. Silhouettes are available for download online, and you can create and scan them from other pictures easily. Logos are slightly more difficult to get. They are basically real images or images you create to illustrate your content, but they are simply an object on your cover and not the cover itself. Both logos and silhouettes can also be purchased as stock material, if you decide to go that way. Logo/silhouette covers are easily edited and I personally recommend them for series of books, because they are easy to adapt and change as books go on.
However, whether you make them or buy them, there is one thing to keep in mind when working this particular type. The logo/silhouette cover can only be designed with a PROFESSIONAL SOFTWARE.
When we were talking TEXT-ONLY Covers, I gave you some alternative to professional design softwares, but those are completely useless when you are working with silhouettes. Even though they are basically painless to create, design wise, they do require some knowledge of design software. No Paint or PowerPoint is going to save you here. You have to have at least a basic knowledge of softwares like Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter or PaintTool SAI, to name a few. Again, there are countless tutorials online teaching you how to get acquainted with these softwares, and even though it takes time, probably out of your allotted writing quota, you have to remember that the cover IS part of the book. It’s not a separate entity or a subdivision. It’s an integral part, as important to the book’s success as the content itself.
To sum up, logo/silhouette covers are easy to design and acquire and almost always deliver a satisfying result. While they are painful to create and edit, you do need to have some experience working with professional design softwares.
I’ll leave you with this time’s resources and I’ll see you in #4.