Cyberpunk cover design,

Discussion in 'Cover Design' started by Ban, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Ban

    Ban Staff Article Team

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    Hello everyone, I spent the late afternoon making a cover design for a "cyberpunk(ish)" (In that it is a dystopian near-future with high tech and low life, but otherwise it diverges from classic cyberpunk) novella I'm working on. Let me know what works, what doesn't and what sort of story you'd expect from this cover.

    Covercyberpunkpreliminary.jpg

    Covercyberpunkpreliminary4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Valar Lord

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    I have to say that they don't scream Cyberpunk to me. I think the 3D/2D grid is throwing me off.
    Say Cyberpunk to me and I think of Neon and dirt, chrome and broken glass. Or the old default setting of Ventura Publisher [that was what the first Cyberpunk RPG used]. Lots of Chirascuro either way.
    But as I don't know what they will look like as thumbnails on an e-reader I don't know how effective they will be.
     
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  3. Ban

    Ban Staff Article Team

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    I can see that, thanks. The world and story is only cyberpunk in that it is a dystopian near future with high tech and low life. I'm going to edit the first post, because cyberpunk may throw things off.
     
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  4. Vaporo

    Vaporo Mystagogue

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    I mean, I can see what you're going for with the art style, but you're not really pulling it off. Nothing about it really tells me what the story is supposed to be. For one, that shape means nothing to me. Is it supposed to be a robot? A person at a desk? Some sort of oil rig? I legitimately have no idea. It's like taking a Rorschach test. I'm not really a fan of the color scheme, either. It's very... dull. Or the grid on the background. It all combines to be very generic. You could tell me that this is the cover to just about any story and I'd believe you. It reminds me most of the cover some kind of math textbook.
     
  5. Laurence

    Laurence Grandmaster

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    I like it but I’d remove the gradient from the dude as that makes for quite a lot going on. If you make an effort to get three distinct layers: window, silhouette, backdrop, then people will know where to look.

    Perhaps if people are struggling to see that its a brutha with a cigarette you ought to make the squares slightly smaller for more of an obvious shape? Or maybe everything could be blocky except the dude to really differentiate those layers.

    A Helvetica or all caps Brandon Grotesque font might modernise it further than a typewritery one.
     
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  6. Ban

    Ban Staff Article Team

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    As laurence said, it is a lounging dude smoking a cigarette, but if half of my readers don't see that, it means I should make it more obvious. Thanks for the honesty.
    Great points Laurence, I'll make sure to incorporate all your advice in the coming revision. :)
     
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  7. FifthView

    FifthView Istari

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    I actually got this, the third time clicking on this post and looking at it.

    I don't know that I can offer any useful advice. It does not scream cyberpunk to me, nor even whisper it. You've said that maybe it's not actually cyberpunk. But I don't even get much of tech + decay from it. There is a kind of industrial feel, or concrete jungle feel (like viewing an animal through the trees, but in this case through the bland sameness that sometimes happens when architects shoot for institutional expectations.)

    As for advice...Maybe the colors, size, shape of the cigarette blocks aren't quite right. Wouldn't the smoke be lighter, the tip of the cigarette red/pink? And the smoke smaller blocks?

    Advice...hmmm. I don't know the story, so this may come from left field, but perhaps in that left hand dangling you could put a pistol dangling, as if loosely held. That would actually say something, I think. (Smoke coming from it as well?)

    Still, it's not quite a Sci-Fi feel, even with a gun.

    Good luck!

    Edit: With a dangling smoking gun, my immediate impression seeing the cover outside a book section or Amazon category would be that it's probably a thriller of some kind: industrial espionage, corporate thriller, that sort of thing. Or maybe, a murder mystery.

    Now, if your world has some kind of high tech swords, a dangling sword could give it a spec-fic feel maybe. Heh. Maybe not.

    I guess the point is that there's not enough going on in the image to suggest the correct milieu and story type, together, or to even hint at these, really.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
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  8. Ban

    Ban Staff Article Team

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    Thank you fifthview, your interpretation of my 'cyberpunk' (a confusing term, but I don't know another than can describe near future low life high tech without conjuring all cyberpunk-related imagery) Is perhaps surprisingly close to matching the story, (regular man is chased by the law through the concrete jungles of western europe, after a faulty bank algorithm opens one loan to many in his name to pay off his taxes) so while the cover does not fit classic cyberpunk, it does seem to have the connotations that I aimed for. I will think about putting a gun or similar item in his hand, that may add some punch to the scene.

    Ps.:Tech&decay is not a concept i utilize in this world, nor is corruption of the body through machinery, big visible megacorporations and perpetual rainstorms. The world is only scifi in that it plays out in the future. I'm open to suggestions for a better descriptor than cyberpunk.
     
  9. FifthView

    FifthView Istari

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    Ah, I was trying to find the right phrase to refer to this:

    I'm not much of an expert on the cyberpunk subgenre. Your description fits some I've found via Google today, but they usually include the premise that technological innovations have led to societal decay of some kind. I don't know whether this fits your milieu or not.

    I haven't found many other useful terms for near-future sci-fi that would apply, if not. Maybe simply "Near-Future," heh.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  10. Ban

    Ban Staff Article Team

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    Perhaps it is more of a post-cyberpunk, as the societal decay is present, but on a social level instead of environmental. Think more: our trends of less physical interaction has gone on overdrive due to innovation, than the classic: globalisation homogenizes and desensitizes the world.

    Anyway, I'll be sure to post a newer, more finalized version when I have one ready.
     
  11. Ban

    Ban Staff Article Team

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    Abettercover.jpg

    Here would be my improvement. I want to further define the individual, but that will take time and I'd first like to post it here for feedback. Please share your thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  12. Ban

    Ban Staff Article Team

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    Abettercover2.jpg
    Blue alternative to link it more to classic cyberpunk.
     
  13. Vaporo

    Vaporo Mystagogue

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    Yeah, those are both definitely an upgrade. I can now tell that it's supposed to be a guy. Personally, I like the blue version better, since it adds a bit more color to an otherwise colorless image. Unless that's what you're going for. Also, it gives a bit more definition to the legs. In the white one they just kind of merge together into one lump. Just a few smaller things: I assume that gun isn't finalized, since doesn't really fit with the rest of the image. His crossed leg looks a bit odd. The foot appears to be floating off to the side of the leg, six inches down and to the left of where it should be. It also looks like it's pointed straight down. There's that bar sticking out of his chest. I assume that it's supposed to be some sort of armrest or desktop, but at first glance it may read as an arm resting on his legs. His belly and upper legs also look too big for his head, neck, and feet. Not like he's fat, like he's somehow disfigured. This is less of a problem, though, since it's not meant to really be an accurate figure.
     
  14. Ban

    Ban Staff Article Team

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    Trust your first impressions.
    There's a lot of finalization to be done and I'll keep your suggestions in mind Vaporo.
     
  15. Ban

    Ban Staff Article Team

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    I got a new idea, so I think I'll just turn a different route with this. One that doesn't rely on my faulty mouse drag skills.

    I think with some tweaking I can still salvage the dude for some secondary stuff.

    Thanks everyone!
     
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