Friday, March 19, 2010

Draft cover for Cobra

Here is a draft of a cover design for my mystery, Cobra. The clip-art snake image is copyrighted material I will purchase from ClipArtOf.com. The rest of the work is my own, using Paint Shop Pro X.

The story itself, which I'll self-publish, is a detective novel set in urban U.S. with flashbacks to Cambodia. Unlike my previous works, this one is serious.

So here's my question: Does the cover make you want to read the book? I'd really appreciate people's input either way. If anything in the design doesn't work for you, please tell me. Thanks!




29 comments:

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Very cool cobra, Bob. Yeah, that would make me open the book. It's very bold.

ubhapE2 said...

Not from my point of view, but my sons'? They love Cobra snake things for the kick a** tough look of it. The neon green throws that off. Maybe more color to the cobra? WE are all partial to the green color. But somehow, there should be a touch more venom in the look of the snake? Idk. My first reaction. They are 18 and 19 yrs now. We all love this type of reading. Can't wait to see your final copy. Inside and out!

Sue said...

I like the clipart and the lettering, but I think more toned-down colors, even black and white, would work better for a serious subject. It's only an opinion though--I'm certainly not an artist or book marketing expert.
Best of luck with your venture!

Sue Ellis

Bob Sanchez said...

I'm not sure about the colors myself, especially the green. Since I have no design background, I looked for complementary colors from a color wheel. The red felt appropriately threatening to me, and then green is the complement. Maybe that's too simplistic, though? And what about the snake? If not white, then maybe a lighter green...

Rasana Atreya said...

Hmm. My opinion is pretty close to Sue's. The neon color would tell me to leave the book alone possibly because it looks like a YA book. Invariably, muted colors catch my attention.

Anonymous said...

The cobra is intriguing; however, you've already told me the title is "Cobra". Do I have to be hit with a picture of the snake? How about something that gives me some insight to what the story is about? Don't know the story, but how about a man and woman trapped by a cobra?

-rick bylina

Nancy said...

Complimentary colors create the most contrast. That is why some folks are finding the green jarring against the red. Also that shade of green has a lot of yellow in it...which makes it even more jarring than a more subdued green would be. It all depends on what kind of mood you want to convey. This color combination is quite bold and conveys a sense of unease and alarm. Colors which are near each other on the color wheel, when combined, tend to create a more calm or even soothing effect especially if they are toned down with lots of grey, for example, sage green is a very soothing color.

Other Lisa said...

it doesn't quite work for me -- just looks a little clip-arty and not really pulled together. If you have a little extra coin, I'd look into getting a designer to tweak it for you.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Maybe a darker green. Or better, a snake skin pattern background! A snake skin pattern on the spine would stand out on a bookshelf.
Just whip that up, Bob.
Okay, at least that little cobra symbol they have on their hoods on the spine would be eye-catching.

Holly Jahangiri said...

Honestly? No. It looks like clip art, and as others have pointed out, the neon green is off-putting.

Why not use something like this, if you're willing to buy an image?

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-the-cobra-image7746089

Or this:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-3d-snake-cobra-isolated-on-a-white-image9571680

Shruthi said...

The green is too green. I like Amanda's snake skin idea, in muted colours.

Bob Sanchez said...

I like that image you suggested, Holly. Thanks!

Holly Jahangiri said...

You're very welcome! Hope it works well for you, Bob.

monideepa sahu said...

Title, lettering and art are eye-catching. But the neon green threw me off a bit. You might consider photographs of lush foliage for the background. Dark forest green, leaves, undergrowth.

Best of luck!

Patricia Johnson said...

Hi Bob

The bright green is really bright. That may grab attention, but it also looks a bit too bright to me. It is a good color choice for the snake image, a poisonous green. The snake image is very large and scary! It matches the bright background color and works together with it.

Candace said...

Hi, Bob! Love the title, that would make me want to pick up the book. The clipart graphic is just OK from my point of view, not compelling, not repelling. It looks like a clipart graphic. The neon green I personally find repellent, it's too visually loud and flat. If the color varied or the image was more complex I might not feel that way. The combination of the neon green, simple bright red and generic clipart graphic comes over to my internal stereotypes as aesthetically amateur. I think toning down the background color would go a long way towards fixing that, at least to my sense. Hope this is helpful, it's just my aesthetic and hardly the last word on design!

Helen said...

If I did a book cover, I would have to hire an artist, since I am definitely not one. As a reader, this cover wouldn't attract me. (And my mother wouldn't even pick it up since she's deathly scared of snakes.)

I like some of the suggestions here - the snake pattern on the cover or spine or the jungle foliage to go with your Cambodia part of the book.

I would tone it down and make it look more "professionally" done. Do you have any artist friends who could give you suggestions?

Helen
Straight From Hel

Julie A. Winrich said...

if it's about snakes yes, if mystery, how about a touch more maybe a gun or blood dripping knife? might lead me to grab it and look more. Good Luck, Julie

G. E. said...

I don't "get" that the book is a serious mystery from the cover, Bob. I want a sub-title, I think. The color is also the lime green from the 60s and 70s Mopar muscle cars, which is okay by me.

Ignatius Aloysius said...

Bob, love the title! I love snakes. In Indian folklore, they are considered the guardians of earth.

The hot green may be out of the CMYK gamut -- meaning that the printing company may not be able to reproduce the exact color as you've shown it here, since the color may not be reproducible (perhaps, you've already checked on this. If so, disregard the comment). So if you can do it in PaintShopPro's color palette, choose a Pantone process color swatch, since your cover is likely to be printed using CMYK process on a standard press (if it's in the US).

From my designer's perspective: nix the drop shadow altogether, and use a bolder, upright sans-serif font for "Cobra" (at the largest size) and, for "a novel by"(at a much smaller size of the same sans serif font). Keep your name in the current font style and size. Of course, one can come up with several design options, and should.

You've arranged the text and cobra pic in about the same size and position on the page. In design terms, this is known as lacking salience. Something here must take precedence to draw a person's eye into the cover's design. Moving the elements into a design grid of thirds will also help to create a more dramatic visual appeal. Could you obtain rights to use an close-up image of a cobra from a royalty free stock image source on the web, at 300 pixels per inch (print quality)? Just a thought. I guarantee this move will change the visual appeal of your cover instead of the clip art.

Hope this helps. Just myOp. I'd be glad to take a second look if you wish. All the best with your publication. What an accomplishment!

~Ignatius Aloysius

Karna Converse said...

Sorry Bob, but the neon green screams "self published" to me. Also, yYou said the story was more serious than your others, and for that reason, I'd suggest a more neutral color.

©DGreer said...

Bob, how about a thick black border with the apple green limited to the center around the cobra? Also, if there is something exotic about the theme, you might try a font that communicates that. Just my 2 farthings worth.

Dani

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment below that the colors are too bright. Otherwise, I also think that it's best to have a cover not actually depict the title, but maybe bounce off of it--e.g., have just a pair of fangs about to bite into something, or a view of the head rearing from behind--but not the whole shebang.

Or, just have something 'atmospheric' that isn't actually a snake but sets the mood you want.

Hope that helps.

Lynne H said...

For me, it brings to mind Carl Hiassen, probably because of the neon green. I like it, but that could be because I'm expecting a Hiassen-esque based on the cover. If this isn't one of your offbeat humour romps, maybe that's not the reaction you want to illicit?

Thea said...

Bob, Looks good-what about a subtitle to give one a little insight into the genre?

Thea

Christina Rodriguez said...

I'll throw in my thoughts as an illustrator:

1. Stay away from Clip Art. You'd be better off licensing a nice photo from a stock photography site and working it into a more intriguing design.
2. The green is far too bright and off-putting. Green CAN be a great background color as a "cool" tone (versus the "hot" tones like red) that emphasis foreground imagery, but here it's not exactly working.
3. There is little here to suggest what the book is about. If I saw it on a shelf, I'd assume it was a nature book about cobras, and not a mystery.

I would actually emphasize the settings for your novel on the cover instead. Urban US with flashbacks in Cambodia? That's so cool and definitely evokes a rich imagery, both gritty and lush, and is more appropriate for your genre. One could easily work the cobra theme into that, too.

I'd love to see more drafts on this if you're willing to rework it.

Bob Sanchez said...

Everyone's comments have convinced me that the cover is "rubbish," to quote one harsh but accurate assessment.

The novel has been complete for years, but the title, "Little Mountain," had the problem of not being evocative enough. "Cobra" is worse, because it draws the reader's mind away from the real setting, which is mostly domestic U.S. So the title is up in the air too.

Thanks to everyone for your excellent comments.

Chris V. said...

The green and red are too Christmasy. The title should be much bolder and larger; and I'd put your name on bottom under cobra pic for balance.
Someone mentioned - black and white (I'd do a black background, large red title type - I'd use a stronger, more block font) with your name in white could look very striking. Compare some other covers. A striking name needs a stronger, more striking cover, imho.

Bob Sanchez said...

My thanks to everyone who posted such good comments. You've convinced me that I'm on the wrong track with both the cover design and the title. So I'm closing out comments on this page and moving on.