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Help Me Decide: Variations for The Legend of the Dagger Prince

Discussion in 'Cover Design' started by TAGallant, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. TAGallant

    TAGallant Scribe

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    Okay, the title is pretty self-explanatory. It's pretty much a given that the first of these is the least desirable, I think. (Unfortunately, I've already ordered 40 prepub copies with that cover, but it's a bigger deal to me to get things right than to have to do a special selloff.)

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  2. TAGallant

    TAGallant Scribe

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    Slightly improved version of that last one.

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  3. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    The eyes have it I'm afraid. Yeah the first one has his eyes looking in different directions which is frankly disturbing. But I'm not crazy about the others or the font.

    To my mind the font is too complex to read - and it'll be worse in thumbnail size which is how most readers will see it initially browsing. And the model looks too pale and boyish, but might work for young adult if that's your audience. The lighting is I think the issue. It's as though he's got a spotlight shining straight in his face which doesn't go so well with medieval fantasy. Perhaps a more yellow / orange light that fits with light from a fire. Also the hair at the back looks photoshopped.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  4. TAGallant

    TAGallant Scribe

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    Thanks, Greg. The model should look boyish–the book spans four years, between ages 13—17. I probably should have mentioned that. (It's not strictly a YA novel, although I would call it "YA-suitable.")

    I'm not satisfied with the typeface myself, but I tried dozens and nothing quite gave me the precise look I wanted. This was the closest. I originally had the title in a light brown, but eventually chose white to at least give it a bit better legibility.
     
  5. TAGallant

    TAGallant Scribe

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    Okay, I'm staying within the framework of #3, but playing with the color a bit. Any opinions on whether this is better than the previous version above?

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    I hope I don't offend you by saying this, but I really don't like any of these covers. The idea of the main character on the cover with a castle in the back is alright. A bit boring, but it gets the potential reader a good glimpse of what the book and the setting is about. However the character's look gives me an uncanny valley effect. He looks like an early 2000's animation, which just gives me the creeps. You could solve this by making the visuals look more clearly "fake". Give the character and the castle a harsher edges, desaturate or oversaturate the colours, remove some lighting and make the character look less smooth.

    Hope that helped.
     
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  7. TAGallant

    TAGallant Scribe

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    Thanks, Banten. Interestingly, none of the lay people I've queried have said anything about the "uncanny valley" sort of thing (I'm not assuming they would know the term). The phenomenon has never bothered me, personally.

    Here I've experimented with some subtle illustration post-processing. It's probably not nearly as radical as you're thinking.... but I don't really want to get too far away from a realistic look, to be honest. This is not a "fantastic" type story.

    I should add that I find printing covers on matte finish tends to give a more illustrative look by itself. That of course doesn't affect the Kindle version.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
  8. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    It looks much better now, imo. More like a real human being. The Uncanny Valley effect has a different impact on different people--I'm pretty sensitive to it myself, possibly because as an artist I've trained my eye to pick up on the nuances of the human face. I react very viscerally to "wrong" faces.

    Anyway, this version^ looks pretty good. The layers of the cover mesh a lot better now--the shadows have more depth, edges are softened, more texture, etc. However, I personally dislike the title font. It's WAY too ornate. The eye gets tangled in the scrollwork and because of that has a hard time moving fluidly from one word to the next. I'd use a font similar to the sub-text. Serifs are kinder on the eye than scrollwork.
     
    Ban likes this.
  9. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    This looks quite a bit better Gallant, in my opinion. Though I would agree with Tom that the font in which you spelled "The Legend of the Dagger Prince" looks too intricate. It's a bit difficult to read while simultaneously dominating the page too much for my liking. The font in which you wrote your own name on the other hand looks fantastic though!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
    Tom likes this.
  10. TAGallant

    TAGallant Scribe

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    Thanks, guys. I'll be honest: I've never been happy with the title typeface. But I tried dozens of alternatives and none of them gave me the feel I was after, so I basically left it alone.
     
  11. TAGallant

    TAGallant Scribe

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    Well, for what it's worth, I'm treating this as my "final answer." Can only tinker so long. I retained some of the illustrated look of the last couple, but went back closer to the coloring of earlier version. Informal canvassing showed far stronger support for the less green coloring, and my own personal preference was in that direction too. I did change out the typeface too. Not completely thrilled, but at least it's legible, and it's a good quality typeface.

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  12. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Looks good Gallant.
     
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  13. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Much better! Although I did prefer the green tinting in the last version, if you're satisfied with this one that's all that counts.
     
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  14. TAGallant

    TAGallant Scribe

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    Thanks, Tom. It's not so much that I disliked the green tinting per se, but I was a bit nervous about the overall visual connotations. I felt like it lent itself more to a title with magic/sorcery themes better than the sort of story this book really is. I think this retains a fantasy feel without implying a misleading subgenre.
     
    Tom likes this.
  15. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I know I am late to the party, but after having looked at all the iterations, the last one is the strongest to my eye.
     
  16. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Had a stab at redoing the colours of the cover. Two simple tweaks - used the provia / velvia filter in Photoscape and then deepened the colours, and think it looks better. More dramatic.

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    Don't know what you do about the font - but for a start I don't think it should be plain white. Possibly a metallic bronze? And less complex.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  17. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Just to add you might want to look at Flamingtext.com and cooltext.com. The first one has a fire logo generator that might work for your cover.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  18. Laurence

    Laurence Inkling

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    I would categorically go in the opposite direction of this. I work at a digital design agency and we use those websites when we're sending a joke birthday card or the likes.

    Gallant, the non-fancy font used for 'THE' and 'OF' is fine (actually nicer than the fonts used on aSoIaF). If you used that for the whole title, possibly going bold on key words (I wouldn't even go that far) then you'd be fine.

    That being said, although I would go a little colder on the colours, the version in post #11 is the best so far. Nice work!
     
  19. TAGallant

    TAGallant Scribe

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    Wow, I didn't see the last couple posts here. Thanks for your comments, guys. I ultimately went with the version in post #11. I really like how it turned out in hard copy (matte finish).

    The book went live today! really excited.
     
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