Argleton cover redesign brief

by Suw on December 14, 2011

The cover for my novelette, Argleton, was designed rather laboriously by me during my Kickstarter project to produce a paperback, paper-covered hard back and silk-covered hardback. It is, I’m afraid, a bit pants; the experience certainly revealed to me the limits of my design ability!

In this blog post I’m publishing my brief for the Argleton cover redesign, but with an eye on something that can influence my future book covers as well.

The current Argleton ebook cover

The current Argleton ebook cover

Brief: Ebook cover redesign for Argleton. Style to be reused in future covers.
I need a new design for the e-book that can replace the existing one in order to really compete in Amazon’s Kindle store. But I also want to create a style which can also become the basis for the covers of my future books, in rather the same way that Penguin had a single design for their classics.

This is slightly complicated, however, by the need to have a design that can be used in several ways for future books:

  • Digitally for the ebook
  • Print, for the paperback
  • Print, with border on Japanese paper for a hand-bound hardback
  • In silk, screenprinted prior to or foiled after hand-binding (also hardback)

Argleton already has a fantastic frontispiece, by Sydney Padua, which might or might not be able to be used as part of the cover design (and would be replaced by a new illustration for future books).

Argleton frontispiece by Sydney Padua

Argleton frontispiece by Sydney Padua

I certainly think that a strong typographic element is important in producing a memorable, stylish and recognisable design.

The design should also be scalable. At the moment, Argleton is A6 size and, although it’s likely that my next two projects will also be printed at that size, it’s possible they could go up to A5 or one of the various paperback sizes, depending on the final length of the book.

The design should also be able to cross genres, as there is some variation in topics over my upcoming work. Here are some keywords for you to help illustrate what we’re likely looking at in terms of genre spread:

  • Argleton: geek-fi, technothriller, mystery, maps & maths, sci fi, thriller, high tech
  • Queen of the May: geek-fi, mystery, faeries, magic, fantasy, urban fantasy
  • Books of Hay: books, magic, cats, fantasy, Wales, historic/modern

I am, indeed, otter-esque.

At this stage, I think I want to stay away from covers that include a full bleed photo montage or illustrations on the basis that this would need to be specific to each book and would reduce the ease with which we can reuse key design elements. This is as much about branding me as an author, via the medium of my book covers, as it is about branding a particular book.

Phase 1
The first thing I need is a redesign of the Argleton ebook cover to replace the existing one. I have a modest budget for this. No print covers will be needed. I expect to be able to commission this early in 2012 and although there’s no hard deadline (this is a replacement cover), it would be good to have it completed sooner rather than later. Please do feel free to download the book if you wish to get a feel for writing style.

Phase 2
When my next novelette/novella is finished, I will need a quote for that cover, which will include ebook and all print versions and may also include any illustrations required. (I already have one in mind, if we run with a design that requires it.) This cost will then be included in the budget for a Kickstarter project and work will kick off only if the crowdfunding drive successfully completes. I hope to be able to launch this Kickstarter project in the first half of 2012.

Phase 3
Same as Phase 2 but for my third novelette/novella. Timing TBC.

If you have questions about the brief, please leave a comment rather than email me, as then I can clarify things publicly.

If you’re interested in discussing this further, then please can you give me your details in this form. Sorry if that seems impersonal, but I need to make sure that I have comparable information for everyone.

Thank you!

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