Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New cover
Here are several tips to help you improve your book cover layouts. For this cover, I wanted to show the apocalypse in a different, more sophisticated way as opposed to the usual burning buildings and explosions, that are so typical of this event.

The ominous sky and its warm/cool colors are reminiscent of a lunar eclipse. The skyline is not on fire, but you can see evidence of a blast blowing across.

In the foreground, the main figures (Andrea and Apollo) stand and watch the event as if protected from the blast and superior to its effects.

The actual story starts off with a blast in Austin, Texas, but of course, New York City is the center of 9/11 and so I felt it was more important to feature that city on the cover. Besides, Andrea and Maria eventually wind up there.

This composition needs a bit of work because the main image is competing with the background (Freedom Tower) so I'll have to take more time to tweak it. Chances are that I'll have to reduce the size of the tower and that should fix the problem, but we'll see.

I also added Andrea's trusty pooch, Apollo, to the cover because they are inseparable. The main reason for adding these two images was so that the book cover resonates with the game box cover. I'm still debating if I'll match the gray colors of the box with the book. (A compromise would be desaturating the colors in the book cover.)

As it was before with only the skyline, there was no point of reference to the board game. Besides, I think this image of Andrea tells a deeper story overall. If you look closely, she's carrying a gun for protection and you can see that her hand is mechanical (as in cyborg).

Revised version

Notice the subtle but very important differences in these two covers.
Let's start at the top with the hook.

  •  I added the word and with an ellipsis so it flows better.
  • I moved my name under the title so I could unclutter the main image.
  • I also reduced the size of the background tower a bit so it doesn't compete with the main image.
  • I'll have to figure out what to do with the color band running across the bottom, now that I moved the name up. Most likely I'll remove it when I fix the artwork (missing feet). Right now I'm not sure of the trim on the bottom so that's still a bit of trial and error.
So far, I think this works and hopefully, I can keep it this way up to the date of publication unless I find another way to improve it. But as a group, the freedom tower, Andrea, and Apollo make a nice diagonal line for a much more pleasing composition. I might either blur or take down the saturation of the tower just a bit to see how that looks, but the Freedom Tower is an important part of this story and that's why I'm thinking of leaving it alone.

Current Box

So the whole point is that you should always show your main image at its best. In this case, the juxtaposition of the main image grouped with the background is symbolic of the events in this story so it's okay to visually group them as one.

You want to tie-in the main image with anything that will tell a deeper story at a glance.

The real trick for me with this unusual array of products is to prioritize the purpose of each product. My main goal is to promote the board game with the book. But at the same time, the board game should also promote the book. It's a balance of design and writing that works discreetly with subtlety, although, it's really all about the board game.

For those of you following the evolution of this game, I'll be posting updated photos of the new game board and several new card decks soon.

I'm getting really close to locking down all the elements and mechanical aspects of the game and synchronizing the artwork as a whole. The most important development to the game has been the addition of the Manifesto Card Deck, which sets off the game in a grand way.

Nothing else changes as far as skills and rescue goals. Everything remains as it was, but the Manifesto serves as an "inciting incident" (novel speak) of sorts. This was the big thing I'd been missing and finally found a way to include it and present it without too much additional cost.

Final Revision

Here's the final version (subject to change) with a pier to ground the figures. A small portion might be trimmed when printed so I'll have to make adjustments after the first proof.

Overall I think it works so we'll see how the actual printed version looks.

More about that in my next post.

Until then, keep on gaming!

Your questions or comments are welcome.

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