Bookcoverzone Blog - Covers Makes Books

Number and symbols in business book design

These are exciting times not just for authors, but also for publishers, designers and everyone who has one foot in the publishing industry. While the century-old process of getting published changes rapidly, as does the means in which we publish, the quantity of books published is skyrocketing. Pre-made book cover designs are the new kids in the block and a great way for authors and publishers to find a easy, professional and budget-friendly solution to to their publishing needs. Pre-made book cover designs are a great way, not just for literary/fiction authors but also for self-help, science and business books. 

Turning ideas into symbols...

Fiction book designing is about creating a world, an atmosphere and setting an overall mood; a good business book cover is all about ideas, abstractions and clever use of typography. It's a personal corporate branding project. It's rational, rather than emotional. It's attentive, rather than passionate. Instead of working with textures, shades and perspectives, it's a genre where striking symbols, challenging ironies and clever use of analogies is there to make the best use of. A piggy bank is a symbol of personal saving, an arrow symbolizes growth in venue, keys are real estates and a sand glass is time management. A short browse through business books will immediately present dart boards, light bulbs and gearwheels in the plenty. And while these are clichés in every sense of the word, they still work. In fact, symbol are delicate things, and "over-symbolization" can easily have an undesired effect and make the whole design ambiguous and confusing. A designer has a tendency at times to forget that not everyone is a designer. Conventional approaches, on the other hand, works all the time. As of the writing of this article, the top ten business book covers on the New York Times Bestseller list consists of personal portraits, pencils, rubbers and gear wheels. Not exactly a beacon of imagination but a definite proof that clichés work.


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... and numbers into narratives


And then we have numbers. Since business is eventually about statistics and numbers, using them on covers might seem to make good sense. But there is a problem - numbers are cold, impersonal and to many, openly frightening. So how do we make them intimate and alluring? By clever use of typography and color. Numbers can be exciting and as personal as it gets, once we start looking at them not as digits or mathematical symbols but as geometrical shapes. Every shape has some imminent emotions attached to it. Squares, lines, and triangles suggest structure, strength and organization. Circles imply positivity, relationships, and community. Symmetrical shapes suggests balance, while sharp angels brings dynamism and suspense. The number 8 is so full of meanings that it couldn't fit inside a whole book. It's rounded, it's symmetric and it's shape is continous. It's as sexy as a number can evet get (sharing the spot with 6). More interestingly, while the infinity symbol ∞ is symbolically completely unrelated to the number 8, it's visual similarity is indisputable and to the observer, many of the positive feelings attached to ∞ are also unconsciously present in 8. Apart from its geometrical meanings, it's non-mathematical symbolic meaning is also powerful. In Buddhism, the 8-spoked Dharmacakra represents the Noble Eightfold Path. In Christianity it was the day God created light and also the day Jesus resurrected. In Islam it's the number of gates of heaven and also the number of angels carrying the throne of Allah in heaven. Eight is also the lucky number in various cultures. It's power is so vast that the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in China began on 8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm. Spiders have eight legs, octopus has eight arms, there are 8 planets in the Solar System, and the light of the Sun reaches us in 8 minutes. All these interesting attributes of 8 has turned it into a powerful symbolic numeral in our psyche. 3, an equally compelling number, is symbolically rich because it is present in everything we observe around us. (In fact, it's the number of dimensions in which we observe the world). Optically it's pleasing to look at, since it's repeating, it's got two incomplete circles and it looks very much like organs such as breasts and buts. For mathematicians, physicist as well as designer it's simply the holy number due to it being π. Three also has religious significance because it represents the Trinity, the soul, the union of body and soul in human in the church. Hegel's Dialectics is based on 3 states or moments (Nothing - Becoming - Being). [Dialectics in design is a fascinating matter in itself. It is based on the idea that the expressive potential of design for the maker, the user and the designer exists in tension with other desirable properties of the designed artefact.] In everyday life, we have three prizes in competitions, we count to three before starting on something. It is the first number that forms a geometrical figure – the triangle. With a little bit of imagination, we could base the entire human civilization and the fabric of nature on the number 3.


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The untold advantage of purchasing a pre-made book cover design

Renowned book designer Chip Kidd (who designed the cover to Jurassic Park and many others) once said that a good book design is about giving form to content but also appreciating the balance between the two. Book cover design might turn out to be a very complicated process. While the designer is after creating a catchy, bold and unique identity for your book, you will want as much of the story to be told through the design. Just because of this, there are many reasons a pre-made book covers might be the best idea for your forthcoming book. 

You will get a unique design, not specifically done with your story in mind, but still a cover that has been worked on from scratch and one that you have have found be fit to tell your story. This cover has also been made sure to convey all the different aspects of great book cover designs. Secondly you will know what you're paying for. A great idea might not always turn into a great design (or more specifically the vision you had in mind might look different from what the designer will create). So there's always an element of risk-taking when paying for a unique design. Many authors prefers pre-made covers just because of this. They know what they're paying for, before making any payment. And then there's the element of price. The reason you will usually pay hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars for a good design is because you will have many revision rounds. These takes time and effort on the designers side and naturally he or she wants to get paid for the extra miles. However when you buy a premade book cover you only pay for what you see and don't have to pay for the numerous revision rounds involved (hence the lower price). 

But the greatest reason to buy a premade book cover might be one that is not that obvious at first sight. Great designs usually fail during the many revision rounds. What starts as a clean and bold statement usually gets lost as the author wants the designer to experiment with other design elements or ideas. In the end, without the author knowing it, the main design turns out to be something mediocre at best. When you buy a premade book cover, your book is spared this disastrous process. You see it, you like it, you pay for it and you use it. In short you get a professional, catchy book cover without lifting a finger or paying too much. 

Our secret to good covers

Naturally when something turns out bad, we look for someone to blame. Well let's get it straight, bad book cover designs are fully the designers and publishers responsibility, but actually part the fault lies in the author as well. When an author wants to have his/her book published, they naturally want the cover to tell the story in the book. But a book is full of things, and trying to put them all on the cover usually leads to an over-crowded, chaotic cover. Throughout our careers as book cover designers we take full credit in our good designs, but also acknowledge that we are responsible for some really bad covers as well.

The problem we face is usually trying to convince the authors that a book cover should convey ONE vital and catchy element in the story, and leave the rest out. A truly great book cover is one that has lots of empty space, an elegant use of typography and a good and easily noticeable hierarchical layout. These are elements only the book cover designer knows about and can implement in a satisfactory way. So part of the designers job is actually to convince the author to leave the designing process to him/her. In fact, half of the challenge any designer face and has to take care of, is to convince the client not to ask for things that simply wouldn't look good on a design. An author that wants to put everything on the cover usually ends up with a mediocre cover that he or she won't be fond of in the end either.

This is also one of the reasons, buying covers from a premade archive is usually less risky. These are done by true designers and it might not reflect everything in your story, but so it shouldn't either. You buy a cover that has all the right elements in just the enough amount with a correct layout and hierarchical structure. In short a book cover that is a book cover in every professional sense.

Our Business and Abstract category is growing!

We noticed we have been too busy creating our fiction catalogue, so in the last few weeks we focused on our non-fiction section. As a result we now have a wide business and abstract section, but we're striving hard to enlarge and diversify it. If you feel some concepts are missing feel free to contact us and we'll work specifically on them. In the meantime we have also expanded our selection of fiction books, we now have an impressive selection of children book covers as well. And lastly we have created a "Nature" category in our fiction section. We are aware a lot of authors choose natural scenes that reflects the mood and atmosphere of their novels, so we believe this will come in handy. As for our future projects; we are planning on opening a section specifically for royal romance and Harlequin type of romance novels. So if you're passionate about... passionate novels, stay tuned. Soon we'll have something for you! 

Book Cover Zone is growing!

We've just reached the 1000 milestone in our catalogue! That means 1000 readily usable, professional and passionate book cover designs that are ready to embrace your novel, poetry book or scientific work.

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Yes, we are aware that some other similar services offer a larger selection but if you browse through our catalogue and do a simple comparison you will see that we value quality more than quantity. We try to cover (ie include) as many ideas and design approaches as possible; however each of our covers must reflect our basic principles of design. That is why we prefer a more cautious and careful approach when expanding our catalogue. We also carefully evaluate each of the design or our site and constantly keep working on them and update them accordingly, to reach a level of perfection unparalleled in other sites.

On the technical side, we still have a lot more to do. Our book cover creation engine is a work-in-progress so we offer free, unlimited revision services for all our clients for the time being. This means that as soon as you purchase a premade cover one of our designers are also at your service, doing everything he or she can to obtain the perfect typographical layout on your book. But remember, this is just a temporary service; as soon as our book cover creation engine starts working in full, our manual services will be paid.

We are also striving to reach a web site that is more practical and easy to use. You do not have to be a geek or a designer to find and use the right cover. 

Until then, keep following us on this section of our blog for new or improved updates on our service. 

How to choose the right cover for your book?

 

Books with good graphics, eye-catching font and good quality covers sell more copies than those without. It's as simple as that. But designing (and choosing) the right cover for your book might be trickier than you think. It's not just about what YOU think reflects the content of your book - in fact, whether the covers reflects the content, might not be as important as you think.

 

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The book cover is only package, nothing more, nothing less. And every package tries its best to stand out from other packages. If your book is set around a beautiful lake and there's an old man, this does not mean that you should put a lake and an old man on your cover. There will be thousands of covers like this. Forget your creative writing skills for a second and instead focus on creative marketing. What would make this story stand out visually? In what way would it differentiate itself from the other millions of covers on the market? What would your target market expect to see? If it's a romance novel you're writing, the cover SHOULD be romantic, but it SHOULDN'T be dreary and bum-numbing . If it's a political thriller it should be suspenseful, but it shouldn't be cliche. 

So in short, yes, your target market does matter. You should keep them in mind when seeking the right book cover design; all readers have subconscious design, color and even typographical expectations when they're in the market searching for a book to read. Pay respect to these aspects. On the other hand, give them something new as well. That's why, whenever we design a book cover, we try to strike the right balance between what is "familiar" and what is "bold and innovative." That is the essence of a good, working book design. Happy searching! 

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