Book Cover Case Study: The Busy Mom's Guide to Creativity
Oftentimes authors and readers have no idea the thought process and research that goes into a book cover design. So today I thought I'd share one of my favorite book cover designs and how me and my author landed on the design that we did.
The Busy Mom's Guide to Creativity: A self-care workbook to help you make time for your creative interests by Bev Feldman.
Inspired by her love of being both a mom and a creative with her own interests, Bev Feldman put together this workbook to inspire you to infuse your own creative loves into your daily life. A fun and interactive workbook.
Moms. Books for moms. Self-help books for moms. Parenting books for moms... they all kind of look the same. Pastel colors, large feminine (primarily serif) fonts, photos of stressed mommies, messy rooms, and scrap-book like compilations. The "mommy genre" (I didn't make that up, right?) is all very much the same. So with my research, I made a list of the design pros and cons of this overwhelmingly popular design:
Feminine appeals to moms. You want to meet moms where they're at, where they are currently in life, and then offer them a solution. That's communicated well in the type of imagery often used as well as the credible, familiar looking fonts.
Am I wrong, or is there more to moms than butterflies and sunsets? This feminine, light and airy feel excludes those edgy moms that long for something a bit different. The typical mom also browses for SUBSTANCE, and a book with unique content should really be able to express that visually. All the fonts look the same, the titles all very similar, the imagery... predictable (to say the least).
From this I determined that the design needed strong colors, messy fonts, and more literal imagery.
I knew I had some creative room with the cover since this book is FOR moms that want to get in touch with their creative side. But I didn't want to put the design in the typical mom box of arts and crafts. This workbook is also for the mom that wants to paint, write a song, or even redesign their bedroom! Creativity is found everywhere in everything. Both Bev and I didn't want to limit it.
Imagery was essential, so I took matters into my own hands, grabbed one of my paint brushes, and did a photoshoot with it. But it was still too boring. So I experimented with punchy colors and extreme overlays. Since I knew this was going to be promoted primarily online and that there would be an ebook version available, I was able to keep the colors a vibrant neon within the RGB color spectrum (which read GREAT for marketing). And then I surrounded all of it with WHITE.
If you don't know much about my design style, know this: I love white book covers. There's nothing more pleasing to the eye than allowing a little bit of rest with (literal) white space. I knew this was essential when playing with such vibrant hues.
Then I added the messy fonts: modern, more trendy scripts that complimented the image of the paintbrush. And forget horizontal text that takes up the entire width. Let's stick the paintbrush right in the middle of it and make the text work around it. It was also fun mixing all caps and lowercase lettering. Because... why not?
This is the final design:
Clean, vibrant, punchy, creative.
Were there other concepts? Yes. But each of them stemmed from this. This was definitely the most extreme of the concepts, so I branched from it and played with more traditional styles just in case I was veering too far from industry standards. But after much deliberation, Bev and I both determined that this was it, this was the cover with the wow factor that was going to appeal to her target readers.
A lot goes into the design of a book cover. Make sure you do adequate research, appeal to your readers, and STAND OUT from the crowd.
From the moment I first laid eyes on the Finicky Designs website, I knew I wanted to work with Melody.
She was an absolute pleasure to work with and is so unbelievably talented. Each of the initial book cover designs she showed me were gorgeous and fit amazingly well with my book. It was difficult to choose just one! Every step of the way Melody was quick to respond with questions and changes. She clearly really understood my customer and my vision for the book, even if I couldn't put into words what I wanted the cover of my book to look like.
Melody really took my book to the next level and made it look and feel professional. I can't help staring at the cover and smiling! Anyone who has the opportunity to work with Melody is in good hands and I know will be thrilled with what she comes up with.
–Bev Feldman, The Busy Mom's Guide to Creativity, 2016