Creating a draft for a book cover design takes many hours of design work, but what most authors won’t necessarily be aware of is the amount of research and development prior to even opening up Photoshop and beginning the cover.
When any new author comes to you with their book, they will have already formed ideas of what they would like to see upon the front page, this is perfectly normal as you can imagine, when you spend anything up to a year writing the manuscript you know the book better than anyone else.
From the designer’s point of view the first interactions with your author will be on getting as much detail about their work as possible, and for this part you really need to cover all of those minor details too. When an author tells you that the hero within the story is male, 35 and 6ft tall you still need to know a little more than just that.
Understanding those smaller details will (for example) ensure that the character upon the front page has the same color eyes as he does within the book itself. This means that the design is less likely to be affected by large revisions after the draft has been reviewed, it also ensures that the client is happy with the progress of the project and timescales are met.
In order to get these details (not only of the characters but of the book’s overall concept) we ask many questions and also use a tailored brief form to draw out the essence of the book, but one of our favorite things to ask an author is for them to sell us the book in just 30 seconds. Putting an author on the spot like that really gets them to pinpoint the most important elements within the book and as such the details which should feature within its cover.
Once we have all of this information we then set about researching the market for this specific genre and type of book, this has been made a great deal easier over the years and something that is straightforward to keep abreast of with the use of modern media and research tools. It is an important element of book cover design as it ensures that the design we create is both fitting for the book but appealing to the author’s desired audience.
From here we start the initial stages of brain-storming ideas for the front page, using the information from the research and that from the author we are able to condense the focal points of the book into elements to represent. This stage can take a day or two as it calls of the free flowing and development of ideas at their very basic to rough mock ups (normally hand drawn) which will be taken further in the draft stage.
When we start to actually create the drafts we will have already spent many hours developing the ideas and concepts behind those ideas, the actual creation process will still take time in order to create something that the author will be proud of (the best compliment we get is when an author tells us that it was too difficult to choose just one of the drafts!)