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Simple versus Complex Covers

Discussion in 'Cover Design' started by kinslayeur, May 20, 2018.

  1. kinslayeur

    kinslayeur Scribe

    It seems in the fantasy genre (as well as most others) using some kind of photo/image/something is very common, but what I don't see are the really simple covers. When I am saying simple, I mean nothing fancy, no photos, no manipulation of images, nothing. Just a plain cover that is a throwback to classic times.

    Does anyone do this anymore? I'm toying with this idea because I love the old style of covers and would use the same cover style for my entire series. The only changes would be the titles, the series number and the back would be unique to each book in some particular way.

    If you do something like this, can you please share it so I can see what you did? I already have my ideas locked in, and my cover designer is fixing what I want. Just wanted to know if others do this or not.

    Adding a cover for example

    Attached Files:

    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. Foah

    Foah Troubadour

    A not too uncommon a practice is for hardcover books to have that kind of clean old styling as the hardcover itself, enveloped by the more modern image/illustration cover as a dustjacket. I tend to agree with you, and will want my future published work to have simple plain hardcovers.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  3. Synn

    Synn Acolyte

    With the exception of the second book in my trilogy I opted for a more simplistic style with my covers, though, not as simple as you mention. I think this can work well for some stories and not others.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  4. Laurence

    Laurence Inkling

    I’m unsure how common this is but my opinion is that if you or your designer can’t draw or design something that is notably gorgeous, then just keep it blank with a gold foil title.

    I often take the covers off hardback books for a treat.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  5. Yora

    Yora Maester

    I think the cover should be the pitch for the book. Or at the very least tell you enough to make you read the pitch on the back if the book is about things that interest you.

    Not that I can really think of many book covers that ever did that.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  6. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

    To do simple or complex that is the question
    Tis better to let the genre dictate
    For that which works well for one
    Does nought for another.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  7. Laurence

    Laurence Inkling

    Consider the book cover in The Neverending Story movie. You can go super simple if your title speaks for itself and / or you have some kind of emblem.

  8. Tholepin

    Tholepin Dreamer

    One approach may be an exploration of Bauhaus design(s), that is, shapes on a page and allowing the design to include the spine as well as the front cover. The next component is the font and typeface -- equally important.
  9. Kasper Hviid

    Kasper Hviid Sage

    In art, the simpler you go, the better your craft must be. That's why writing short stories are hard. So creating a simple cover is not as simple as it sounds.

    Today's fantasy covers are way generic. The stuff from the seventies is way better. Not to dismiss the idea of the simplistic cover, but todays vanilla cover art is not representative for the true potential of the cover art.

    But when it comes to simple, I like this one:

    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  10. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    Short stories are hard? Nah, not really.

    As for covers, this is so much personal taste it’s nuts. The Lexicon cover I wouldn’t look at twice. A favorite I saw again the other day was the cover of Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice, the illustrated Edition. Simple and classic without looking cheap.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    One thing to keep in mind with covers that are too complex, if they're on ebook versions--you want the thumbnail or smaller version that shows up in an Amazon listing to be appealing and not so complex that the viewer can't make sense of it unless it is blown up to full size.
    Demesnedenoir likes this.

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