Skill Level Appropriate for all
- Hi everyone, John McWade. I'd like to continue this time what we started last time, and that's a review of two more boring book covers. If you missed it, I'd encourage you to go back and look at the first installment. What I did was give you an assignment to design the cover of a book that you would keep by your bed to read and fall asleep, and a lot of you discovered that designing something bland and unengaging is just as difficult as any other kind of design. So let's look at two more covers. This is Amy's entry. I'm sure she thought that the long botanical title would put you to sleep; and if that failed, the sheer heft of the book, there must be 2,000 pages here, might crush you to sleep.
But everything else about this design is pretty, and active, and engaging, which, of course, is the problem. It keeps us awake. The lowercase title was a good idea. Lowercase is softer than upper. But the weight, it's super thin, is sharp and demanding, and takes some effort to read. The cast shadows of the flowers give the illusion that the flowers are physically on the page. This adds depth and touchability. Great design technique, but very engaging.
The bleed image activates the edge. Bleeds always do this. They convey the sense that there's something more, that the image continues, and that things are happening beyond our sight, so that's not sleepy. The spine is a strong vertical line, color-coordinated, very definite, very forceful. Everything's centered. This is good, the center is static, but the lines of the lavender cascade like a waterfall. The lavender is not moving, but your eye is.
It follows lines. And the words are colored to match the flowers, which is a beautiful way to unite top and bottom. So overall, we have a pretty book cover, a nice design, that doesn't put us to sleep at all. Next up is Adele's cover, bean, the history. This is a topic that the learning channel might love, but that's not what's keeping us awake. It's brilliant white, it has a clear focal point, it's highly directional, and the typography is a little off, so I'd say there's a caffeinated dissonance to this.
It starts with a white field. It's big, it's pure, it's crisp, and it's empty in the center, which sends the eye out to the corners: very active. It's very directional, too. There's a strong diagonal line from the upper left to the lower right. It's a phantom, but that's how lines can be: good for many things, but not sleep. The lowercase letters were a good idea, but the title is vaguely incomplete, and the spacing sends mixed messages.
It's panoramic at first, which is a little odd for such a short word, but then tightly compressed vertically. A more typical setting, or at least a more expected setting, would be like this, with bean set more tightly at display size and the subtitle in caps beneath it, which makes a clean line between the two. The zigzag line is extremely directional and very effective at moving the eye, which, of course, you don't want. But why is it here? What does it have to do with coffee beans or sleep? Another thing is that hairlines, especially with corners like these, are sharp as razors, not smart to have in bed. (chuckling) And finally, the interrupted line creates tension.
Something's missing. Your eye wants to close that gap, so it's engaging, and jittery, and all that, like coffee, not the best bedtime drink. So, an interesting cover, but no yawns. As I said last time, if you'd like to submit a cover but haven't, please do. Post it on the Graphic Design Tips & Tricks group, here on LinkedIn. I'll have time to review only a small fraction of the covers, so be sure to interact with your fellow designers.
I know they'll appreciate the feedback. And that's your design for today. See ya next time.
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.