Archives for book design

Cover design: a new look for ‘Ignoring Gravity’

As the two-year anniversary of Ignoring Gravity’s publication approaches, it seemed timely to give it a fresh look. Connectedness, second in the ‘Rose Haldane: Identity Detective’ series will be published next year and I was keen for both books to have a co-ordinated image. That meant finding a new designer for both books and also third in the series, Sweet Joy [currently evolving]. Below is the existing cover which has been an important part of my branding as a debut author. Enter cover designer Jessica Bell, who sent me a long and very detailed questionnaire. This was an instructive process and made me re-consider my own vision of the book, no doubt evolved now since publication in November 2014. Jessica says her questionnaire enables her to construct the ‘perfect cover without having to read the book.’ In particular she highlighted my phrase: Trees/leaves/roots/growth are a constant metaphor throughout the series for family history/family tree. I would like the covers for each of the books to have a common theme. Something simple. Jessica explains: ‘This really sparked my ideas for this cover as I very much like ‘simple’ as well. I find that the less a reader’s eye has to focus on
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Categories: Book design, Book Love and On Writing.

The Doves Type: resurrected from the River Thames

Have you heard of the Doves Type? Designed by Thomas James Cobden Sanderson and engraver Emery Walker, in London, at the turn of the 20th century. To cut a long story short, the two men disagreed about its use. As a result, Cobden-Sanderson threw 2,600lb of metal into the River Thames from Hammersmith Bridge. Now, after three years of research, making drawings based on the original source material, designer Robert Green has released a digital version of the lost metal Doves Press Font. This was made possible by the discovery in the River Thames 2013 of a portion of the original metal type. I know as a journalist I am probably more aware of typeface than your average reader. I’ve been involved in many magazine re-designs during my career, and the thing that gets people most excited during the process is the choice of font. It not only is the ‘handwriting’ of the design, it makes the design most easily recognisable, but it also has a dramatic effect on how easy it is to read a newspaper or magazine article. Get it wrong, and changes are made very rapidly before the reader complaints start to roll in. What newspaper do you
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Categories: Book design and Book Love.

Choosing the front cover of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ – part 2

Yesterday I wrote about briefing designer Paul Burrows for Ignoring Gravity’s front cover. Paul e-mailed eight cover options. I was surprised to find my instant reaction quite visceral, quite Marmite. I e-mailed the pdfs to my novel-buying friends and family and asked for their votes. Cover 1Cover 2 Cover 3 Cover 4 Cover 5 Cover 6 Cover 7 Cover 8 Comments came back quickly, including:- “I particularly like 1 and 4, both eye-catching but not too over the top.” “I’m not keen on the ‘picture’ covers.” “My favourites are 1, 4 and 7.” “I think I prefer the first one, but either of the first two would catch my eye and I would have a look at. I like the sound of the book as well, I would read it!” “Definitely the first one, I like the design much more than the others. To me the design says ‘read me.’ The second, the tree gets in the way too much. The photo one would put me off as it looks depressing.” “I like the first one best, by a long away. My question is the red dress: it brings up images of Schindler’s List. I didn’t like the photograph ones,
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.

Choosing the front cover of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ – part 1

When I first started planning the cover design for Ignoring Gravity, I conducted some word-of-mouth research amongst my fiction-buying friends. When they bought a novel, what appealed to them first? The majority said the front cover design, and importantly the colour, was what attracted them to a book when browsing. If they didn’t like the cover, they rarely picked up the book. If they did like the cover, the next test was to read the first page. One friend said she goes straight to the back cover copy, and another said she is not influenced by cover design at all. So, what to make of that? Well, I had to get the cover design right. And I hope I did, one supporter who has pre-ordered the book, described Ignoring Gravity’s cover, “It looks accessible without being chick lit; serious without being heavy.” That was pretty much what I was aiming for. My informal review of current novel covers in my local bookshop made me determined to have a simple, stylish cover in calm colours to differentiate it from the cornucopia of colourful novels currently on sale [below]. To read about the first part of my cover design process, including my
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.