A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Interview with Book Cover Designer Ken Fraser
What is the key to good cover design for books?Visual IMPACT is the key in this day and age.
If it doesn’t catch the eye it doesn’t even get picked up
or looked at online. Your cover needs to be a good reflection of the
content you have written about. But it also needs to attract those you want to
buy the book. A sports book about great athletes that has a cover primarily done
in pink is not necessarily going to attract the “macho men” readers you are
looking for. It’s called target marketing, and your cover is your biggest
advertising tool. A good cover can be very creative and impactful, without
being overly designed and so cluttered that the eye doesn’t know where to
focus. I have seen covers that have a great title, but because of all the
background images, was extremely hard to read.
How do you determine what the key elements of a book cover
should be? It’s based on individual titles, and varies, but imagery is what
I think is the key element. Attention grabbers. Taking a portion of the title
and playing off of that to emphasize it makes a big difference. Color also
plays a factor in the overall look. Emotional drama in the minds of the reader
cause a reaction, and indices them to pick it up. Type style can also make a
difference. It must be immediately readable, not too scripty or sloppy. A
strong title with a good title treatment. Fonts, colors, and effects that compliment
the title as it relates to the background images. Background imagery or
effects that can say the right things to the reader, even before they
read the title. Again colors and style that compliment the title and does
not make it hard to read.
Can we really judge a book by its cover? YES, YES, YES!
Well that’s what most people do. You need a professional book designer
with the experience, creativity and the ability to create an eye catching,
impactful cover that says, “look at me, pick me up, buy me!” Yes, you may
save a couple of bucks with a “cookie cutter” book cover, but make no mistake,
it will cost you much more in lack of sales down the road. Seriously, if
this really is your baby, the project you have worked hard on and slaved over
to write, then you want a nice warm blanket to wrap it in, not some paper thin
sheet. Your writing deserves the very best cover it can have, and it will truly
make a difference in the sales that it brings in.
How long have you been designing book
covers?I have been designing
covers for over 16 years now. And I have created hundreds of them. In just
about every subject. This is my life’s passion now.
What inspired you to get involved in
books? I have always been a
creator. Inspiration comes from creativity and the ability to
see something other than the obvious.I felt there was a great need for good cover design and I
love doing them because of how creative I can be with just a single title.
What do you find rewarding and challenging
when working with authors and publishers?The greatest
reward would seeing how “blow away” they are when they see there baby (book)
come to life. When they see a design that goes way beyond their expectations. I
love to be a part of their dreams and helping make it a reality. Sometimes,
and its more and more rare, but the most challenging is convincing
them to let go and trust the designer, that the design is really going to
make a difference. Sometimes their inductiveness can get to me cause I know
what is going to bring more success for their book.
Do you design differently knowing that
book covers are viewed online as often as they are in a book store?Well, not really since my designs have so much
impact in both areas. Wether it’s on a shelf at a book store or on an Amazon
webpage, it’s going to get the attention it deserves and entice the reader to
take a closer look.