February 23, 2018, 12:36:47 PM

Author Topic: Cover for Mystica: Fera - Feedback welcome  (Read 167 times)

Offline swan

Cover for Mystica: Fera - Feedback welcome
« on: February 12, 2018, 02:39:16 PM »
I'm not going to lie. Designing book covers is perhaps the most difficult thing I've ever done. All told, it took around three years of trial and error before I happened upon a concept that excited, enticed, and could extend itself throughout an entire series.

I tried everything. Character-based covers, scenery-based, you name it. I had almost given up last year and stood on the verge of hiring Damonza to do my covers. Damonza, by the way, houses the finest book cover artists I've seen. Probably explains why best-selling authors use them.

My shazam! moment was to simplify yet catch the eye. Each cover had to be unique yet make it obvious the entry was part of a series. On top of that, I saw how I could include elements that hinted at Mystica's main inspirations of Ancient Rome, the Celts, and Norse without strictly adhering to them.

I'm doing Fantasy, after all, not Historical Fiction.

The end result was a template that consisted of the author name, the logo, a tagline to hint at the plot or character, and title, all set against a minimalist background with a color scheme that's easily modifiable for each book. That is to set the books apart.

How I alluded to the inspirations for Mystica (not that the following is actually important for the cover's main goal, which is to entice):

Ancient Roman - the depiction of eagles which make up the Mystica logo.
Celtic - the overall feel of the logo.
Norse - lightning signifies Thor beating his hammer.
Dark Ages - while the banner for the logo is not exactly the Dark Ages, it is similar to what followed that age in so far as heraldry.

The font used for the title and author blends characteristics of each society. Lastly, the main color of each cover relays certain aspects of any particular story.



Go here to see the covers for the first trilogy in the Mystica series.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 05:25:37 PM by swan »

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Cover for Mystica: Fera - Feedback welcome
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2018, 04:44:35 PM »
Since you asked for feedback, here's mine. First, I do not dislike your approach or the final product. That said, I do not think you succeed in expressing the elements that you say you wanted to. I am not debating whether you should - I'd have to know the work and your goals, etc. - I am only saying that without knowing you or the work, I picked up on none of the nuances you mentioned. Here are my observations on why:

Ancient Roman - the depiction of eagles which make up the Mystica logo.
- Roman eagles are always head-on, not in profile. These reminded me, more than anything, of a motorcycle logo. After some staring, I did detect what I *think* is a olive wreath in there?

Celtic - the overall feel of the logo.
- I don't pick up any of that, or even anything vaguely Dark/Middle Ages about it. The neon-colors are very modern. The use of stylized images is very modern. And what, exactly would "Celtic" look and feel like, in the minds of most people walking around?

Norse - lightning signifies Thor beating his hammer.
- Did not pick up on this at all. I wasn't entirely sure it was lightning - the green opened the door to "evil power" in my visual dictionary. A hammer would be a better reference, as it's more specific to the Norse than lightning.

Dark Ages - while the banner for the logo is not exactly the Dark Ages, it is similar to that age's heraldry.
- Not recognizable to 90% of people, I think.

The font used for the title and author blends characteristics of each society.
- I would suggest that the fonts cannot blend; they either adhere to a society by echoing their script somehow, or they do not. If they do, they cannot also evoke other societies'. I didn't mind the font or anything, but in looking at it to see if I could detect the societies you mention, it reminded me of circus font:
Spoiler for Hiden:

Lastly, the main color of each cover relays certain aspects of any particular story.
- I think this is a good approach.

I'm not trying to bash your cover - I liked it, and I LIKE that it doesn't try to entice me with a key moment or a character, etc. Most of my favorite books take this approach. I just didn't want you thinking that what you saw was necessarily coming through - and I am not sure it even needs to.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 04:46:30 PM by The Gem Cutter »
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Offline swan

Re: Cover for Mystica: Fera - Feedback welcome
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2018, 05:10:42 PM »
Thanks for the honest feedback!

All the explanation I gave isn't really important for the cover. I simply provided my thinking behind the elements. As you said, though, doesn't really need to come across. As long as the cover is good and attracts the eye, states "This is Fantasy", those are what matter.

Huh, the similarity between the fonts is uncanny given I had never seen the circus font before. Modifications could be in order there. lol

Offline Skip

Re: Cover for Mystica: Fera - Feedback welcome
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2018, 05:15:20 PM »
I agree with Gem Cutter here. The covers are solid, just leave out the background explanation. I don't see the historical elements either. Also, there's really no heraldry in the Dark Ages (roughly 600-1000).

I do have one suggestion. Try putting the title at the top and the author name below. I would also make the author name a bit smaller. Look at other book covers. If your name is Stephen King or Clive Barker, then that gets top billing. If you're unknown, not so much.

Everything else about the covers works for me.

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Re: Cover for Mystica: Fera - Feedback welcome
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2018, 05:20:23 PM »
I like the colours and the general feel of it, it would make me pick it up to check what it's all about :)

And I agree with this:
I do have one suggestion. Try putting the title at the top and the author name below. I would also make the author name a bit smaller.
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Offline swan

Re: Cover for Mystica: Fera - Feedback welcome
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2018, 05:27:23 PM »
Think the suggestion is good that author name be made smaller. Will try flipping it with the book title. Not sure how re-positioning will play with the tagline, but worth a try to find out.  ;)

Offline swan

Re: Cover for Mystica: Fera - Feedback welcome
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2018, 05:28:17 PM »
I like the colours and the general feel of it, it would make me pick it up to check what it's all about :)

Glad to know the covers do that. Thanks!

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Re: Cover for Mystica: Fera - Feedback welcome
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2018, 05:29:11 PM »
Not sure how re-positioning will play with the tagline, but worth a try to find out.  ;)
It could be:
<Title>
<tagline>
<image>
<author>

You don't need to change the size of anything but the author's name.
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Cover for Mystica: Fera - Feedback welcome
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2018, 11:37:23 PM »
You can send your $135 Cover Consultation Fee to www.greedyGemCutter.com   ;D ;D
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"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell