Monday, July 20, 2015

New artwork and a question over design

The clean, Spartan look
Just received the final artwork for the ebook cover of a new collection of Turner Hahn/Frank Morales short stories.  The collection will be coming out soon.  I'm finishing up on a couple of stories as we speak.  But I love the artwork.  The mental image of what I had in mind translated perfectly by the artist who interpreted them.  Give credit where credit is due; Javier Carmona, of Madrid, Spain, is one very talented artist.  Both of them are, actually.  For years the three of us, Javier and Jesus Carmona and myself have worked to bring word pictures to life in the visual realm.  And we've been really successful.  Or, at least, I think so.

Love the artwork.  But a question did come to mind.  About the title and all the attending verbiage which goes into a book cover.  Essentially, the question is this.  Do we go for a simple clean, Spartan look . . . or do we use a splash of color or two and try to add a little more pizzazz to the whole presentation?

My gut feeling tells me color in the title and in the name of the author is absolutely essential.  Presentation of the title . . . its placement and typeset are essential in making a good cover.

The same can be said about placing, typeset, and color of the typeset for the author's name.  The human eye is a quirky creature.  It roams across a cover in a kind of random . . . yet predictable . . . way.  A potential buyer of the book looks at the artwork, looks at the title, and then at the author's name.   But in what order?  And which of these three views are the most important?  Yes, there have been tons of research probably done on this very issue, and to be frank, I must confess I've been a bit neglectful in finding said research and reviewing the findings.

So I'm going on my gut feelings . . . on what I look for when I go shopping for something to read.  And what I look for is something that is both visually, and viscerally, eye-grabbing the moment I lay my eyes on it.  For me, the eye feeds the soul of my imagination.  Let me feast upon something that inflames my imagination . . . and the chances are it's a sure-fire sale.  I'm buying it and rushing home to dive into it as fast as I can.

The pizzazz look.
But add color;  make the presentation both more palatable and more appealing, and the desire to both buy it and read it increases dramatically.  I can't tell the number of times I've purchased a book for its artwork and presentation, only to get home and dive deep into the book and realize the writing is horrific.  Absolute trash.  Yet, because of the artwork and presentation, I would give the author within a far longer opportunity to convince me his writing would eventually come and around and impress me as well.  Eventually. Hopefully.  But usually . . . sadly . . . no.

So.  What to do?  Go Spartan in design?  Or go with a little more pizzazz?

What do you think?

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