Don’t judge a book by its cover
… So goes the phrase, but when it comes to the importance of the first impression, hardly anything beats the cover of a book. When scrolling through a shopping website or glancing at the shelves in a bookstore, a shopper rarely spends more than a split second on any one book – and the cover is all there is to see.
The cover has just a fraction of a second to send the message “I am what you are looking for!” Even before the viewer reads the title or any other text, the look, the design, has to capture the attention and present the right message.
In any book project the cover design is an important task. And so, months ago, sifting through catchphrases and watchwords, the words photo, digital, cloud, pixel bubbled up as cover background features for my book Digital Pictures Basics – 2012. The subtitle already contained organize, improve, and share, and a collection of screenshots for the primary graphics had already been picked.
The background fills most of the initial view, it covers the greatest area, and so it has the most important role – it has to get the prospective buyer to even read the title and look at the graphics. It must do so by visually conveying the massage of what the book is all about, subliminally, in a split second. It was not long before pixelated digital cloud photo got the nod.
Searching my pictures for the tag clouds brought up hundreds of photos. Some were eliminated easily, others were tough choices, finally eleven made the final cut. So let’s bring on the candidates.
Then came the hard part, picking the winner. Some were judged “too thin”, some “too dramatic”, “too busy”, “too Rubenesque”. One great candidate lost because it was too reminiscent of the SkyDrive logo; this book was about more than just sharing in the cloud, and in no way sponsored by Microsoft. Some others just didn’t look strong after being pixelated.
Well, enough suspense, one made it into print:
© 2012 Ludwig Keck