City on Fire, Cover 1.0

by wjw on May 1, 2012

Here’s my first go at a cover for City on Fire.  I couldn’t find a piece of art as broody and awesome as that of Metropolitan, but then I don’t get that lucky every time.

John Appel May 1, 2012 at 11:41 am

No problem with the image, but there’s a contrast issue – the yellow and orange text (especially the blurb text) is very difficult to read against the background. Not an arty enough guy to suggest a specific alternative, I’m afraid.

Looking forward to snagging this once it’s ready, though!

Ralf The Dog. May 1, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Somehow, the graphic makes me think of a giant future city floating on the water near the north pole that is burning or in revolution. How did you come up with an image, so far from what the book is about?

From my perspective, the orange is a bit close to the red on the color wheel, giving it a bit of a clash. Could you scale the text down a bit?

I would say, I like it. Did you render it yourself?

kathy May 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

This is NOTlucky? What would you consider lucky? I think the image is fantastic! I agree, though, that you need to tweak the color of the words or put a shadow behind for readibility.

DensityDuck May 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Mirror-reverse the “Metropolitan” image and grayscale it. The place is supposed to be ruined, right?

Gary Gibson May 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Putting on my ex-graphic designer hat, you’ve got a very busy image which needs to be contrasted by simple typesetting. I’d say keep the title and name very, very simple – no outlines, no weird colour blends, no fancy fonts or angled text – and make the name and title (say) plain white with, at the very most, a very fine keyline to separate it all from the image. Right now, your name is hard to read and the book title and quote equally merge into the image too much. If necessary, contain the name and book title inside two bars of solid (preferably neutral) colour at top and bottom of the cover. But apart from that, nice!

Ralf The Dog. May 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm

+1 on Gary Gibson’s comment. Best advice of the day.

Allen May 1, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Too orange. I agree with Duck – a grayscale version of the image looks better to me.

Also, maybe put the title on a solid-colored background with a border around it.

Maybe just have one thing be red…to contrast with the gray. Maybe the title text.

Shash May 2, 2012 at 1:05 am

Gary is spot on. The graphic is overwhelming the title, making it hard to read. I’m not sure about this very organized looking city drowning in a sinkhole quite matches the title, but it certainly matches the story.

wjw May 2, 2012 at 5:14 am

Thanks for the advice, all. The odd thing is, before I uploaded it here, I’d only seen the cover in much smaller versions, from postage-stamp-sized to that of the playing card. I was concerned that it be readable at smaller sizes— which it was— but I hadn’t absorbed the eyeball-shattering impact when it’s presented as 750 whole pixels across.

I had previously tried type white, off-white, and yellow, and though legible enough it didn’t quite leap off the page. But now I’ve tried adding a nearly-transparent dark background before the white type, and it looks like an improvement.

I’ll tinker with it and let y’all take some more shots at it.

Bruce May 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I wonder whether the buildings being far more desaturated and more colour focus on the central maelstrom would prevent retina-shock?

John F. MacMichael May 2, 2012 at 11:41 pm

“City on Fire” is now available for purchase at Amazon’s Kindle Store.

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