Version the Second

by wjw on July 26, 2012

Right, here’s an alternate version of the Brig of War cover.

The main objections to Version the First were the green and orange type— the orange in particular, I’m guessing— and the various highlights and shadows I added to the typeface.

The green and orange were the same shades used in the art— I was hoping to harmonize the colors.   I hoped the orange would reflect the gunfire and pick up the reddish tinge of the clouds.

The highlights and shadows were necessary to make the type visible, particularly when it’s shrunk down to postage-stamp size, which is how most people will see it.

A bright color being necessary to make the title stand out against the dark ocean, I’ve now changed the orange to yellow, and I now have the title overlapping the edge of the artwork— leaping, as it were, toward the reader.  The brighter color doesn’t need the highlights the orange required, but it still needs a dark shadow to set it off.

So . . . which do you prefer?

Daniel July 26, 2012 at 6:51 am

Overall I think this one is better. But with a couple of caveats:
1. The way WILLIAMS touches up against the top of the image looks kind of accidental or noncommital. Either give it some real overlap or don’t touch.
2. I wouldn’t italicize the series name. The oblique face just doesn’t look as good. I’d try another way to set it off, maybe using small caps instead of lower case in those words, or make “a” and “novel” a hair smaller or darker or something.
3. (And here’s where I’m going to go against what people said about the last one) I suspect orange might work better than yellow. But I’d want to see a brighter orange (like the bright yellow) closer to your RSS feed icon on the right there, rather than try to match the flames in the painting exactly. I’m sorry I don’t know what the right term is for the aspect of the orange that needs adjustment.

Overall I think the type looks stronger in this version. I’m sympathetic to the anti-orange crowd. Orange is not generally what I consider an attractive color, but a book cover is of course supposed to grab the eye and not just look pretty.

Clyde July 26, 2012 at 7:58 am

The first is much better.

Karen Lofstrom July 26, 2012 at 8:40 am

I like the second better. The yellow looks cleaner, less muddy.

Anonymous July 26, 2012 at 9:08 am

You mention that there need to be high contrast elements given the way this image will be presented at a much smaller size – could you include thumbnail sized images as well?

That way we’ll have a better idea of how they look in their ‘working environment’ so to speak.


Gary Gibson July 26, 2012 at 10:54 am

Yeah, I like this much better. And I really like the way the title does literally leap off the cover. And in this case, the shadowing is quite effective. I’m still not a hundred per cent crazy about the type shadow beneath your name, but with the slight overlap on the picture it does make a marked improvement. Overall, I think this one is green for go.

Gary Gibson July 26, 2012 at 10:55 am

Weirdly, the typeface of the book title and the way it’s positioned sort of remind me of 1960s Wild West movie posters…

Michael Mock July 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I like this one better.

The shadowing on the title is necessary – the ocean is such a mix of light and dark that it’s the only way to get the contrast the letters needs. That said, I’m not so sure about the shadow effect on your name – what happens if you remove it? Or maybe just tweak the “distance” setting on the dropshadow to bring it in a little closer to the letters?

Brian Renninger July 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I prefer the second, with the caveot that it is distracting that the lower edge of your name lines up with the top edge of the painting. Raise the name and I think it works well. Also, while I still don’t like the title font, it works much better with the overlap than in the previous version.

John Appel July 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I definitely prefer the second, but there’s something jarring about the lower portion of WAR protruding below the edge of the painting. It looks more like a misalignment than a deliberate effect to my eyes. And I echo Brian’s comment about your name at the top – raising it a bit (or perhaps shrinking the typeface a smidge) will improve that.

Yellow is a definite improvement over the orange.

Kathy July 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Ugh! I liked the first one much better. The orange picks up colors in the artwork. I find the yellow much too distracting and disturbing. I also don’t like how the letters overhang the border of the artwork — it takes me out of the picture.

sjl July 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I like the title on the second more. But I prefer the way your name appears on the first. You need space between the bottom of the shadow and the top of the illustration.

Shash July 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I prefer the second one. The yellow title is distinctive. I agree with the others on the spacing. Either add white space between your name and the pic or overlap it slightly.

On the bottom, suggest you add a smidgen more white space between War and the series ID. For some reason the drop shadow into the white of the word War jars me. I’m not sure why because it works so well on the background pic. Perhaps it needs to be faded a tiny bit, but no more than a couple of pixels.

Not Todd July 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Your name aligning with the top of the picture is bad, as noted. I do like how it’s now “a P….G novel” rather than as stated in the first shot. Think I’d prefer the orange replacing the yellow in the 2nd shot, keeping the font, etc as in the 2nd.

Sean Craven July 27, 2012 at 2:25 am

I like this one much better, but I prefer the way your name is spaced on the first version.

C.K. Derrick July 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I liked the first version better, but I’m colorblind so you probably shouldn’t trust me as far as color goes.

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