Tag Archives: cover design

Design 101: How a Book Cover Gets Made, Part II

In the first part of our guest blog, Tu Books Editorial Director Stacy Whitman and designer Isaac Stewart discussed how they came up with the cover concept for the novel Vodník. In part II, they share covers they considered and explain how they came up with the final design.

Isaac: By the time we chose a direction for the cover, I had created something like twenty-two thumbnails. I’ll admit, I went a little overboard, but I really wanted to give Vodnik the attention it deserved. And honestly, it was hard work finding the desired balance between ominous and whimsical.


Vodnik cover concept I

Isaac: This cover has a lot going for it, despite my getting the color of the vodník’s arm wrong. Initially, I wanted to have a hand thrust up out of the water, a crushed teacup in its grasp. As I searched for images that matched, I found this one and decided it played off the ominous feeling I was hoping for. I tried the whole fire and water dichotomy with the colors of the title and byline, and was hoping that the text itself would carry the Eastern Block feel. The large, in-your-face title was a precursor to what we wound up using on the final cover.

The biggest problem with this cover was it looked like a horror novel, almost completely ignoring the fantasy and whimsy that are also big parts of the story. To tell the truth, it didn’t even look like a YA book.

Stacy: Yeah, this one just wasn’t working for me. It looked too horror-y, and didn’t have the right sensibility that I was going for. Which brought us to…

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Design 101: How a book cover gets made

In this two-part guest blog post, designer Isaac Stewart and Tu Books Editorial Director Stacy Whitman discuss how they came up with the final cover for our new YA fantasy, Vodník:

Isaac: Before brainstorming ideas for a book design, I usually get a few pieces of key information from the editor:

1.     What age-range and demographic do we want the book to target?

2.     What would the editor like the cover to convey?

3.     What has the author said they would like to see on the cover?

Here’s how Stacy answered:

1.     The book’s design should appeal to both female and male tweens and teens, but should specifically target the male teen.

2.     Stacy wanted a cover that felt ominous, fantastical, with a dash of whimsy.

3.     Bryce [Moore, the author] specifically mentioned that he found covers with bold shapes and colors both beautiful and striking. But if we decided to go for a more photographic cover, he wanted to see the vodník statue or Trenčín castle.

Trencin Castle, Slovakia
Trenčín Castle

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