Front Cover Design Process

by Bella Guzman on August 16, 2012

Designing a book cover is an in-depth process that requires actually reading the book! It is important to capture those visual cues from the writing and words that the author used to tell her story. I received Simple Living Simple Food by Susan Younger as a Word document about a week before our initial call. Our call started with a discussion about a variety of covers that she liked and why she liked them. A theme started to develop that can be described as “touch of vintage, married with modern” as a design style. This led into a conversation about the tone and feel of the cover. I asked Susan, “How do you want the reader to feel when they pick up your book and while they are reading your book?” — She said that she wants to reader to feel joyful, warm and happy and that the tone is simple & refined. She wants them to remember their joys that have been forgotten and to cherish memories, even with the faults around them. My next question was to ask Susan what did she hoped could be achieved with her book and her answer was the message that “you create your own happiness” and to embrace the daily bits of joy in everyday so they can build up to bigger and better feelings.

Based on reading Susan’s book, I have a few visuals in mind:

  • African Violets in a window or sitting on a stool
  • glass jars with labels
  • coffee cans with utensils
  • seed in a mason jar with toothpicks
  • food growing

And, I wanted to hear more from Susan about her thoughts on this. A favorite memory of Susan’s is stepping on a stool as a child to reach the top shelf in the pantry. Our discussion led into the look of white on white, maybe white-washed as a style that communicates that touch of vintage with modern and ways we might be able to use a kitchen stool on the cover. We also discussed aprons and other ideas that were decided did not really feel like the experience Susan was writing about. I got to learn more about her Great Aunts, Bertha & Clara and how their personalities played out in the kitchen and in life.

My next step is to begin sketching ideas/concepts for the cover, as well as to research fonts and consider whether we’ll use photography or illustration for the design.

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