Book Cover design: An example of process
As an illustrator, sometimes you get clients who know exactly what they want, down to the smallest details, and sometimes not so much. So what do you do when you have an indecisive or indifferent client and how do you avoid any surprises or disappointments when revealing the final product? I'm going to take you through my process for working very closely with a client on their book cover, step by step.
Step 1: Research
When starting any project, research is my first step. I mostly get commissioned for YA book covers. What's popular at the moment? What do the covers to bestsellers look like? This is where Pinterest comes in handy and helps satisfy my love of mood boards or inspiration boards.
Step 2: Get a good understanding of what your client wants and make thumbnail sketches, lots of them.
(What are thumbnails?: tiny little drawings that give you an idea of composition and layout)
For this project I created about 10, all with very different layout and suggestions. This gives the client choice because even if they don't know how to put what they want into words, they still have a vague idea. This step helps avoid any massive changes as changes to composition are definitely the most annoying
Some very hard to understand examples of thumbnails with notes
Step 3: Get to work
Now that I have a good idea of direction, it's time to get creating. This part I will usually do independently of the client and only ask for feedback about small details I may have forgotten (Does the horse have a saddle, how long is long hair, etc)
For the project featured in the images, I couldn't quite get it to look the way I wanted to so I played around with a lot of small details. Everytime I would change something I would paste the image here to compare it with the ones before. This is not something I do for every project, but it actually served me well with this one.
Step 4: Client review
This is the step where I gather all my courage and show the client a semi-finished work, and from here we work through any revisions. In this particular case the client wanted much darker and sombre. We ended up changing the colour scheme completely.
Step 5: Final Files
Once any changes to the image have been approved I send through the final files and that's that. This particular project went on a bit of a journey in terms of details and colours but the original layout stayed the same, which highlight the importance of communication at the start of a project like this.
The final product with the section with the author's name removed