To follow my prior posts regarding cover design, I’ve gone one step further by showing you four covers with different designs and images. I want you to see and feel how dramatically different the publication feels while varying from image to image. I’m showing this because we are photographers and we fall in love with our own images. We make rash decisions based on emotion. “This is my BEST image and it MUST be on the cover.” No, that is simply not the case.(Unless it’s a photo of me…) Let me save you from yourself. Your best cover image is the one that provides the information and feel required to tell the story and to get someone, anyone to open the damn thing. Just getting someone to choose YOUR publication over the millions of others is riddle that demands a certain level of skill.
Again, using templates here to quickly mock up versions, samples, tests, etc. Color, placement, image density, cropping, type face, font size, text overlay, amount of copy over the image, complexity, simplicity. Basically, I begin a cover with a general idea of what I want, but then the chess game begins. I start moving pieces around the board until I feel like I have a strategic, visual advantage. You can find Blurb templates here.
When I look at these designs I think about magazines I know from the newsstand.(Not that these are finished or quite that good.) Historically, many of the best covers have very incredibly clean and simple. If you have a great image get out of the way and let that baby work its magic. A cover also depends on your audience, their expectations or patterns. You can’t entirely cater to this reality but you should hover on the edges of what is accepted otherwise you aren’t really making YOUR work or pushing yourself to keep things fresh and edgy.
And the bottom line with all this is you can only put lipstick on a pig for so long before you realize you don’t have the photo goods to print yet. So, you want to start that cover with the best image you can possibly make no matter how long it takes. This isn’t to say you don’t mock things up along the way, but hit print when you know you have the mother of all images loaded into the cover pole position.
Or, forget the image and just run text……..only half joking. (Visuals are consumed 60,000 times faster than text.) Just saying.