Even though we have all heard the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover,” we were smart enough to know that everyone does anyway. With this knowledge in hand, we knew what our first step was when author Barry Thomas came to us looking to give his book A Spring in South Langland new life. So, we wasted no time in getting started on a book cover that was in fact, very judge-worthy.
After conversing with Barry on what he was looking for from the book cover, we began internal preparation for the creation. Before moving forward, we should take a step back and address the storyline of the book, because it does have an impact on the book cover’s design, as it should of course (don’t worry there aren’t any spoilers). Here is a quick summary of the book, A Spring in South Langland:
Hannah Ellis, a smart but roughhewn teenager from the backwater town of Cantwell, is sent by her Uncle Zackary to the more sophisticated city of Demeter, to get a good education and fulfill the potential that he sees in her. But instead of studying, Hannah involves herself in the intrigues of the social world at Kain High School and with multiple romances. After a lackluster academic beginning, Zackary threatens her with a return to Cantwell unless she improves her grades.
Aubrey Newman, a shy but aware teenager from Demeter, endures continuous embarrassments with girls and athletics, which make him a laughingstock at Kain despite his excellence in the classroom. He longs for a girlfriend that seems outside of his reach, and for coordination and competence so that he can be at least average at sports and not trip over himself. Hannah’s search for a tutor, and a way to stay in her new hometown, leads her to Aubrey – and an unlikely relationship.
Even though we have the skill level that allows us to overcome the book cover judgement mindset, as a creative firm, we cannot accept this way of thinking without intervening. So, to help create understanding and balance for those who are not constantly involved in the day-to-day madness of the design world, we decided to show our process for making this book cover in a new blog segment called Marstudio Marketing Minute. The amount of work that went into making this book cover may not be clear just from the final product, so we wanted to work through our entire process. By showcasing the methodology for our design and the production process, we hope to create a better understanding about the work and hours that go into making great visual work.
Check out the first episode of Marstudio Marketing Minute below, to see how we went from rough sketch to final book cover:
As you can see, it wasn’t just a matter of a quick sketch, or modifying a photo in Photoshop (both of which are still quite lengthy processes on their own). We took precise creative measures and used a well-planned methodology to create a book cover that is satisfactory to our client, eye-catching, and tells a story.
So, next time you see a flyer, or packaging for an item, or of course a book cover, before you place your final judgement, make sure to take a moment to consider the creativity, thought and skill that went into making the final product. That alone may be enough to change your opinion.