The Pitfalls of Design

I ordered a paperback copy of my latest book, The Devil Within Us, for my wife. She is one of those readers who prefer to hold a book rather than look at an electronic representation of it. I do not view such people as luddites, and not just because I am married to her, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Indeed, I think it is the many differences in us that make people interesting to one another.

Getting quite excited when the parcel was delivered I opened it and felt an immediate sense of disappointment; the cover was too dark! The devil in the top right corner looked very good, but the image of Artemisia Montessori was very difficult to make out. I had chosen a very film noir style for the cover so it was supposed to be dark to begin with, but the effect does not work if you cannot see the light between the shadows. This is one of the problems with using online design facilities for something that is going to appear as a physical copy; what you see is not always what you get.

However, the problem really is not that serious. I mean, if you take your work seriously, and if you are offering it to the general public then I think that you should, as the originator, feel obliged to solve it. In this case it was not particularly difficult. I loaded the last version of the cover into my digital image manipulator of choice and altered both the light level and the contrast. By playing around with these elements I was able to bring the image of Artemisia into better relief. The use of shadows and light remained strong, but the outline of her body was easier to make out.

Of course, Amazon offer a preview copy of the paperback version of the book after the initial design is completed, but it is not free. I suppose I should indulge and buy it, but this is the first time that I have experienced this problem with my cover designs. Next time I will be sure to double check the image before clicking on the ‘Save’ button.

A slightly lighter take on a dark subject

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