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Full Version: Book Covers. Opinions needed!
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Hey guys, I'm working on some book covers and both myself and the author are a little stuck as to what isn't working. I'm really only looking for a critique on the first one (Masquerade) as there is lot's I still haven't done on the second one, like fixing and aligning the font, referencing the pose properly etc. but I'm happy to listen if you have anything to say about it.

They're the covers for the first two books in a young adult romance novel series, they're classified as 'Regency with a paranormal twist' but the Regency bit is more important than the paranormal bit.

On Muddy Colors lately was posted great article about Book covers

The second one is obvious unfinished but the first one is sketch too? The girl have few anatomical problems, too big head, fat neck, small hands, fabric folds looks odd. But being honest I don't like overall composition. It's clumsy without any design. I would rethink it entirely. The "Deception" is much better, everything fit nicely in curved line, have unified directions. You could also add a shadow of the character on the Victorian wallpaper to unite it with environment. And with that decorative background you should add more details on dress to bring it more to front.

I would also check Victorian adverts as an inspiration for layout and fonts :D


Thank you! For the Masquerade cover she's supposed to look like she's running away from someone and looking back over her shoulder. The author is being quite secretive about the story so I don't have a lot of information to work with. They're going to be e-books only so I don't know if I added lots more detail whether it would be a waste of time or not because the image would be too small.

I'll make some adjustments to her anatomy and dress and I'll see how it looks. Thanks for your help (:


She doesn't look like shes running away. How she holds her weight is all to stiff. she looks like she is just standing. No urgency/movement to it but she has gun? Have her leaning forward give a bit of twist to her and the dress keep that weight going forward. Inertia isn't gonna let her look back to easy while running. Basically i think the action could be more dynamic. remember Her and the dress are separate. get ref for the hands they don't look like they are gripping properly. I like how you have done the gun but i think the hands kinda throw its design of a bit.
Hi MissLillyArt,
I like the simple concept of your image and I think the idea could work well for a cover. I would also say, that regardless of the mode of delivery (i.e. digital or print), a cover should work well at any size no matter the level of detail. So that usually means that a book cover's impact comes from its composition and NOT from its details. That being said, I think it is also important to realize that you need to approach the book cover's design as two separate, but equally important problems. One set of design issues deals with the image, and the other set deals with the layout of the type.

I would suggest that you re-visit the thumbnail stage of your idea process to refine your current value plan. There is not much about your image that communicates mystery or anything dramatic. The pose and anatomy of your character do have issues, but those are details that should only be addressed after a stronger composition has been decided upon. Perhaps you could utilize shadows to suggest mysterious elements out of frame that are threatening this character. Even simply playing up the action of light and shadow on the figure can add a lot of mystique to an image. Whatever your final choice is, it should be one that has impact and visual interest, and because the book is mysterious, it should make us want to find out more about the story.

The second part of this layout involves type. I think that typography should be approached every bit as seriously as the illustration would be. In some ways, the same kinds of 'rules' apply at a fundamental level. Contrast, dominance, focus, value etc. can all be found in type. For this layout, I would say that you currently have too many elements competing for our attention. Selecting one element and making it the focal point can go a long way towards creating a pleasing composition. Simplicity is often the key. The size of the letter is not usually as important as the negative space surrounding it. The negative space is what allows us to read the type easily. Arranging the words in a way that balances this space is what creates a pleasing layout. I created two thumbnails to give you an idea of what I mean. By no means is this the only way to approach this design, so I encourage you to make many more exploratory sketches. I hope this helps and good luck.


Thank you for the help! The typography is the way the author wants it as it has to fit with other romance novel covers, but I'll sketch up some more thumbnails and mess around with the type a bit and see if I can come up with something better.
A very, very minor point. Since her eyebrows are covered up, perhaps you can find a way to curve the top of the mask to suggest an expression. (Javier's thumbnail kind of illustrates it.)
You second cover, the blue one, needs to have those cards featured more prominently or removed entirely.

You can use the petals of the rose to cascade and lead the viewer's eyes, then echo the petals' shapes with the playing cards and have them coming in close to the viewer.

The girls posture is off, at that angle her eyes wouldn't be visible. Pose in front of a camera or look up some people posed like that, or get a girl to pose that way for you. Get her to turn her head towards the camera and face away.

look at that still from american beauty for petal reference/ideas.