Designing for the stars, part 2

FROM RAY TO RICHES by ERNEST LEE THOMAS

We’ve created a book cover design for another Broadway star.

Ernest L. Thomas, a veteran of Broadway, television, and film, has the distinction of having a hit television show or movie in every decade since he began his career forty years ago. He starred as the popular character Raj in the popular ABC hit sitcom, What’s Happening, and the number-one syndicated show nationwide, What’s Happening Now. Award-winning director Spike Lee chose him to play Sidney X opposite Denzel Washington in Malcolm X. Millennials fell in love with the character Mr. Omar, a role created for him by Chris Rock and Ali LeRoi for the global hit show Everybody Hates Chris. TV Guide chose him as one of America’s favorites in the issue titled Stars We Still Love.

From Raj to Riches is a motivational autobiography about how to overcome show business and life through faith.

Ernest is still a busy man and there was never much time to consult, but in time we managed to please him with a wonderful cover.

If you want us to create your book cover design too, visit us at MaryDes.

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CD cover: Baladas Flamencas

Divucsa

Divucsa is one of the greatest independent music companies on the Spanish market, with more than 30 years of activity in the market and almost 100 releases each year. Divucsa has an extensive catalogue with more than 40.000 songs, including the greatest Spanish music and flamenco portfolio in the world.

They needed a cover for a digital record which will be called “Baladas flamencas”. As may be obvious from the title, the cover needs to combine a flamenco touch with a romantic touch. The content are melodic songs with a strong Spanish root.

Flamenco

Flamenco, in its strictest sense, is a professionalized art-form based on the various folkloric music traditions of Southern Spain. In a wider sense, it refers to these musical traditions which have, themselves been deeply influenced and become blurred with the development of Flamenco over the past two centuries. It includes cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance), jaleo (vocalizations), palmas (handclapping) and pitos (finger snapping)

CD cover creation

In our design we wanted to visualize the guitar and dance as key ingrediency of the Flamenco. Then we have embedded a well known characteristic of Spain which has an irresistible attraction for many tourists: sun and sea. As usual, we do not cut and paste just to mix some parts together. We blend, recreate and transform all elements to deliver a unique design with a warm atmosphere that will attract many people. Pay attention to all details, shadow and light that enhances realism and invokes curiosity of the viewer.

Oriol Orfilo was so impressed of our design that he ordered also to redesign their YouTube channel based on the same cover design.

Excellent work, quick and capturing the ideas immediately. Definitely recommended.”

Oriol Orfila – Divucsa Music

It was a pleasure working with Oriol and if you want to know more about their music, check their YouTube channel.

Of course, if you’re interested in our designs, visit our website. Plenty more to be amazed of.

 

Book cover: Beautiful Angel – David Ho

ABOUT THE BOOK

The story has been described as a cross between “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” and tells the story of a successful and wealthy businesswoman who runs into a homeless person whom she doesn’t realize was actually an old high school classmate whom she despised (the homeless person DOES recognize her, though).

Shortly after this encounter, the business woman gets into a near-fatal accident and is taken back to her high school past, where, in order to save her soul, she must help this homeless person (who is now in his teens) avoid his grim fate.

GUIDELINES FROM THE AUTHOR

The story does have a message of not just the “strong” helping out the “weak” and being a mentor to them, but of different people reaching out to help each other. In that sense, I kind of like the logo my friend drew for me with the two hands – one a young, healthy hand and the other an older, more frail hand – reaching out to help and support each other (because the logo could also be interpreted as two “different” hands supporting each other. Not just an old and young).

I see the book cover as, which is a beautiful, glowing Christmas tree, brightly decorated with the beautiful angel doll on top.

The Christmas tree is set inside a small to medium banquet sized room (which is how I see the main room of Westside shelter as). Behind is a window where we can see a beautiful, starry Christmas night and we also see the Westside logo above.

 

ABOUT OUR DESIGN

There are several reasons why it is better to have the angel not on top of the Christmas tree:

Visibility: When your angel is at the top, it is to small to attract attention and even less to see details. When put prominent on the front it draws attention.

Message: When placed at the top, your audience will see an overall Christmas setting, but don’t get the message. People will not understand the importance of your angel in this design.

Marketing: You’ve done a lot of effort in writing your story but your work does not stop with writing, you will need to convince your audience to read your story, therefore it is very important to have elements in your design that can facilitate marketing. The angel on top of the tree will not do this for you, on the other hand, my angel can do this, and, I don’t know if you have noticed, but the character “A” of “Angel” has a pendant on her leg which can be changed to, for instance, the logo. So my design offers many marketing possibilities.

Contrast: My design deliver you contrast. The warmth of the interior against the cold outside. I have learned at school that playing with contrast is very important to grab the attention of the viewer.
There is a lot written on the internet about this:

“When a page is without contrast, our eyes don’t know where to look first or what is important. Contrast captures our attention and forces our eyes to focus on the important elements of the design. Also, it can be used to make headlines and subheadings stand out, therefore, making them more readable. Above all, contrast plays an important role in establishing the visual hierarchy of the page.”
(Courtney Clark, Managing Director, User Experience)

“We designers are constantly trying to establish hierarchies of importance, draw people to certain areas of a page and communicate a clear and concise message at the very heart of our work. Creating relationships between different elements of a design is just about the most important thing that you can do.”
(John O’Nolan in Fully Understanding Contrast in Design)

Font: I have used a Serif font which will increase readability when your cover is presented as thumbnail.
Readability studies have actually found that serif typefaces are easier to read because the added strokes make each character more distinctive. More distinctive letters are easier for the eye to recognize quickly.
The amount of attention a design garners is not based on a typeface alone. It is a matter of color, contrast, imagery and typography. It takes all of these things to grab someone’s attention.

So the design I’ve presented to you is really well thought of.

 

“Wow. These look great! I love the “heart shaped” center on the Angel’s chest.”
David Ho

Thank you David, it was a pleasure working with you.

Look for David Ho’s Beautiful Angel on Amazon.

Check out our other covers.

 

Book cover: Abraham Frost – The Cup of Jamshid by Andrew Old

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What Andrew Old, the author wanted:

I’m looking for a cover for my book, Abraham Frost – The Cup of Jamshid. This is the first of a series of eight novels, all about Abraham Frost and his friends, aimed at children aged 12 years and up. The series is contemporary fantasy initially set in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, and Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains, but will cross the globe, travelling to locations such as Mount Olympus, the Pyramids of Giza, Persepolis, and the fabled Asgard.

The cover will need to work both as a physical print book (hence the blurb on the back, and ideas around what I imagine on the spine) but also as a thumbnail on amazon.com

CREATING THE COVER

First let’s analyze the order:

This book addresses children, so the cover should be adapted to their age but not childish. It is part of a series and therefore some branding should be done. And the cover should be still nice looking in thumbnail format.

In other words: no adult references, full of contrast, high recognizable design, detailed but not overloaded.

In order to get the branding right we wanted to work with replaceable elements? The subtitle of this book is “The Cup of Jamshid”. It was obvious that we would use a cup as main element placed on a reusable background for branding reasons. This background was formed with the Wheel of Runes together with particles and light effects to enhance contrast. This would give the book a more mystic appearance. It would also allow us to easily change the background color to any other depending on the subtitle. This way we could give every book of the series a separate and unique atmosphere but still keep the branding.

A lot of branding was done on the spine too. The series is about Abraham Frost, a boy with freezing capabilities and therefore we used an ice crystal as top icon with the name Abraham Frost beneath it. This will return on every book in this series. Followed by the number of the book in the series, the subtitle, name of author and a representation from the front element as icon on the bottom. This way you even don’t need to read the subtitle on the spine, you just recognize the book by it’s icon.

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“This really is amazing work, I’m so glad I found you. I couldn’t be more impressed at the beautiful cover and banners you’ve made.
I’m extremely happy we teamed up!”

– Andrew Old –

Also:

Look at the book trailer we’ve created.

More about this book.

Want to know more about our book covers and other services? Visit our website.

 

Book cover: Death on Paradise Island – B.M. Allsopp

We are proud to announce that we have created a special cover for B.M. Allsopp’s first book Death on Paradise Island, as part of a new Fiji Island Mystery series.

Our mission according B.M. Allsopp:

CREATE A BOOK COVER FOR BOTH E-BOOK & PAPERBACK (front, back, spine)
Death on Paradise Island is the first in a series of police procedural novels set in Fiji, featuring sometime saviour of Fiji rugby, Inspector Joe Horseman and Sergeant Susila Singh.
The cover needs above all to convey a sense of place – a boutique native materials resort on a tiny coral island. Elements should include a coconut palm, azure water, white sand. I’m not sure whether any building or figure should be included, or whether the image should be a drawing or photograph.

Design should be strong to display well in thumbnail format. I see it as overall bright and light – perhaps a threatening element could be storm clouds if you think that’s necessary to establish genre.

 Creating the book cover

After doing some research on Fiji Islands, a place we’ve never been before, and searching for the right pictures we came up with this design.

The palm tree is creating an arch which makes it possible to play with contrast: threatening dark clouds broken by sunlight beams Illuminating a heavenly tropical island. Thumbnails do not ask for many details, but when a design is in normal format it may not lack details. This is why birds are flying over the azure sea and you will see footprints near in the sandy beach near the title and disappearing after the palm tree. This contributes to the mystic atmosphere without the need of dead body’s or blood. Contrast is also created with fonts. The serif font makes it also readable in thumbnail format and the red colour draws the attention of the viewer. However: nothing of what you see is real. The sand, the sea, the beach, the palm trees at the distance, the palm tree in front, the little shack, the footsteps, birds, clouds, all are separate pictures merged seamlessly and enhanced with colour and light effects, as if it was real.

MaryDes has designed a terrific cover which will attract readers to my book. She has excellent English communication skills and responded quickly to my many amateur comments with revised designs and explanations. Maryna is a talented perfectionist who is generous with her time and expertise. Next time I will ask for MaryDes.” – B.M.Allsopp

Death on Paradise Island is shortlisted for the Impress Prize for New Writers.

Since cover creation is only one aspect of all designing work that needs to be done, we also helped her out with her marketing issues. We’ve created social media banners, flyers, business cards, bookmarks and book trailers for her.

We wish Bernadette a lot of success.

See her book trailer on YouTube.

Visit her website at: http://www.bmallsopp.com/

Order her book at Amazon

Want to know mor about our services? Visit our website ar www.marydes.eu.

Book cover: A Quarter ’til Life – M. Andrew Cockrell

If your author gives you the message:  “I AM NOT SURE WHAT I WANT!!!” you’re in for an adventure. Luckily Andrew Cockrell gave us some ideas to work with.

“The best idea among my inner-circle that has been offered hearkens to the aforementioned epilogue. That idea involves a box – possibly on a quilt or obvious bed cover – with some of its contents scattered outside of it. Some of the contents could be specific to the story (especially the headband tiara, a ticket to a Sound of Music production would be great, photos) and others could be mementos typical of any love relationship (hand-written notes, cards, etc.).”

About A Quarter ’til Life

Michael and Elizabeth are the most unlikely couple on the campus of Campbell University. They come from vastly different backgrounds and have completely different interests. Unbeknownst to each other, they’ve been heading in opposite directions for the past two years. Yet when they meet, sparks fly – quickly and intensely. Is this connection merely a case of “opposites attract,” or are the common desires of their hearts more powerful than their significant differences?

As their bond grows stronger, a major decision looms for Michael, a decision that will have a significant impact on their future as a couple. Will Michael and Elizabeth allow themselves to be vulnerable and transparent with each other as they share their respective hurts and heartbreaks? Can Elizabeth accept Michael’s decision, regardless of its implications on their relationship?

“A Quarter ’til Life” is a ‘falling and being in love’ story that will tug at your heartstrings and pull you into the characters’ world. Michael, Elizabeth, and all of us will find redemption in unlikely ways at unexpected times.

Behind the book cover

Sometimes as a designer you need to be creative to get the images you want for creating a stunning book cover. In this case I took the box and its content picture at my home in a setting the author liked, then I searched until I could find a real ticket to the sound of music and blended everything seamlessly together. Since I needed a mature woman I had to make her look older. I really wanted to create a tender atmosphere but with enough elements to draw the attention of the audience and persuade them to take this book at hand.

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We won Andrew’s contest and afterwards he wrote:

“This was my first contest, and it was not easy. I didn’t provide much help in the way of specific guidelines, so designers were flying blindly. Maryna has gone above and beyond to create a design that would work. At every step, she has responded promptly to feedback.

Thank you so much! I look forward to continuing to work with you to get this project to the finish line!”

Now Andrew’s book is available at Amazon and got until now only five star reviews. We are so happy we could assist Andrew in his designing need and are proud to share his success.  We hope to have a longtime relationship with him as we do with all our authors.

We wish you a lot of success Andrew and thank you for trusting us.

Find his book on Amazon.

Follow Andrew Cockrell on Twitter.

Goto MaryDes for more covers.

 

Behind the scenes of a book cover design.

At MaryDes we create new designs that are fully adapted to the theme of your book. No clipart with some text, but everything worked out in detail. Such that the cover reflects the atmosphere and the location of the story in your book.

We did not use less than 16 images for the book cover “Bishop” by William R. Berryman, which we poured seamlessly into a new design.

The story is set on the shore of Lake Michigan in the United States. We have done a lot of research and used Google Earth to look virtually on the spot. What type of housing do you find there, are there lighthouses and how does the landscape look like? Before we collect images, we really want to know what we can and can not do. Our design should be realistic, but at the same time intriguing and sufficient in detail.

After this we’re looking for pictures to realize this design and to provide the right atmosphere.

First, we create a temporary design with the base setting of the cover. Then we dress this design with details. In reality, the location of this cover does not exist, but it could well be.

Maryna, our designer, knows how to bring images seamlessly together as if everything seems real. When you see her work and knows how her designs were realized, you would not believe any picture any more. Look at the Bishop cover, the sea, the clouds, the storm, the light and its reflection on the sea, the neon of the tavern and the shadow that it casts on the rowboat.

Nothing is real, but looks very realistic. To every detail is paid so much attention that you understand that we do not create just a cover, but that each cover of MaryDes is a real work of art.  Of course we would love to give you the opportunity to get such beautiful cover, which fully corresponds to the contents of your book, too.

Learn more about book covers on the website of MaryDes.

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