Friday, December 14, 2012

Working on book cover design today

Notan - looking at the harmony between lights and darks in design

Of course I plan to do my own cover design for my novel, well why not? In preparation, I have taken some time studying the covers of current novels to get a feel for what people expect to be seeing. I have to say, I’m not much impressed. Too much photography and too little actual good design. I’ve also taken a look back at older book covers (going all the way back to the 1890's) to see if anything strikes my fancy. During this process I have been reminded once again that although good design is not always seen, when it is it’s always noteworthy.

So where does that leave me? That means no laziness for me. No simple photographic image on the cover slapped up as a background for title words pasted haphazardly on top. Nope. It means a carefully designed whole taking into account the entire composition of the cover as if it were a painting.

Above and below are images I've been considering as tools when thinking about the composition of the cover. These refer to the Japanese concept of "Notan"  - which looks at the harmonious relationships between light and dark masses in a piece of art. This must be accounted for before color is added in order to assure a strong compositional flow throughout the piece. It also is to be worked out before the final images are decided upon, at least it's that way for me.

So, here we go on that, further reports to follow...

The same artwork showing differing harmonies of
black & white shapes used to create varying effects.

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