So in Part 1, we saw the development our front cover design with the use of digital photography. We selected a design that had simplicity and at the same time it offered symbolic depth in the “Hands & Petals” photo. I wanted that photo to become the model for a beautiful artistic front cover. I didn’t have the skills with creating original artwork to create it on my own. So I spoke with my friend Anton Sardelic.
He’s a really cool guy, who attended Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD), so obviously he would know something about art. I also saw his portfolio and felt confident in asking him for help with designing our cover. He wanted to do it but felt that his brother, Tom, could do more with it, especially when he had to focus on his studies.
Tom was also swamped with his studies, but still agreed to work on the cover design. We discussed on the phone the basic concept and I emailed him photos of hands & petals. He came up with this initial layout:
Debby and I loved the design because it had all the important symbolic elements. It had an earthiness, calmness and beauty. Tom also came up with another interesting design with the hand going up instead of down with the book title also reversed.
We had extensive debate about whether the hands should point up or down. Some liked them pointing up since it seemed more hopeful, uplifting and supplicating. On the other hand, the downward direction imparted a sense of groundedness and practicality. One person argued that a petal normally with the force of gravity would fall down not up, though this logic can be countered by imagination.
The majority opinion including that of our publisher, Michael, was for the hands facing down, though dissenting voices felt this was a wrong direction for our cover. Michael next suggested that a pool of water be added to the drawing, which made sense given that a passage in the novel had flower petals floating on water. So we all agreed this was a good idea, which meant more work for Tom, who faced exams that week.
Tom found a way to balance school with the deadline we had for the cover design. Our publisher needed it completed in order to submit the sell sheet to book distributers. While Tom prefered earth tone colours, he at our request created another cover design in blue. So here’s the final cover in two colours:
These two colours also generated lively debate, since some felt that the blue was cold and depressing. While an association with water seemed more difficult with the muddy earth colour. The blue succintly reflected flowing water, while the brownish cover was subtle to form an outright association. Michael had a preference for blue and offered reasons why it was a better choice. So we trusted his judgement and went with the blue.
The final cover edited by our publisher boxed the drawing and separated the title from it, which everyone agreed improved the cover’s look and feel.
So this has been the journey of our front cover from its inception to the final design.