book cover options for a fantasy book
This project was the final assignment for a photographic manipulation class as part of my photography degree. The brief was to create three different concepts for book covers within a studio context. The concept had to relate to the content of the book and had to pick up visual cues from the story. The final results had to be created using appropriate props and studio lightning and had to be perfected in post-production in photoshop.
This project was the final assignment for a photographic manipulation class as part of my photography degree. The brief was to create three different concepts for book covers within a studio context. The concept had to relate to the content of the book and had to pick up visual cues from the story. The final results had to be created using appropriate props and studio lightning and had to be perfected in post-production in photoshop.rops.
I have always loved reading, and I can lose myself in a story completely and not come out of it until the book is finished. This assignment was, therefore, a dream assignment for me. I really love the descriptive parts of fictional books, and it was a pleasure noting down the most important parts and creating a cover out of it.
A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.
– George R.R. Martin
Finding the balance between making the cover interesting and inviting displaying key elements of the story without giving away to much of its content and leaving room for interpretation. Further, a cover image has to be a strong independent image, but has to also work in relation to the title and type of the book design. Therefore, it has to be a supporting element and not the whole focus.
To make the cover interesting and matching to the book’s content, I read the book thoroughly and took note of strong reoccurring themes or visual cues. In order for the reader to still have a lot of room for interpretation, I represented those cues or concept in a very minimalistic way. The minimalistic and desaturated nature of the photographs make them optimal for a cover in combination with type, as it will support it and not distract away from it
TARGET AUDIENCE AND NEEDS :
Readers, book lovers, imaginative people
The audience is interested in books and is most likely well read. The target audience is mainly female, young adults that are interested in fictional books. They most likely have their own opinion on book covers. As every reader has their own imaginations and interpretations of the book, it is important to keep the design quite simple and leave room for interpretation. Fantasy books usually have illustrated covers, as this seems to leave more room for interpretation. The target audience is, thus, a little critical with photo book covers.
Firstly, the book was read thoroughly and notes were taken of important visual cues and leading thematics.
Isobelle Carmody (1987, penguin books – Australia)
In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities that would see her sterilised or burned if discovered, it is also dangerous. There is only survival by secrecy, and so she determines never to use her forbidden powers. But it is as if they have their own imperative, and their use inevitably brings her to the attention of the totalitarian Council that rules the Land.
Research was underdone on photographic book covers that incorporated a person and were quite simplistic overall. To get a better overview and feel for it a mood board was created.
For the second category minimalistic and symbolic covers were researched.
For the last section landscapes, places and maps were researched as an overall theme.
IMPORTANT CUES AND MOODS
- The Great White — ‘holocaust’ destruction, poisoness, evil. The color WHITE is portrait as something dangerous and bad-> color WHITE as something dangerous and bad
- A society of fear – fear of the Great White, the before timers, everything that was before the Great white, People who are different, Blacklands (places where the Great White hit hard, they are still meant to be tainted)
- Strict elimination of those who are different (burning, council farms (work camps)) -> resemblance to Nazi Germany
the colour fading out to where there is no colour at all
CUES AND MOODS
visual cues and overall moods for the different categories were selected to create concepts for each section.
Preparing the shoot
I decided to do a portrait of the main character for the portrait cover with the iron collar. I had to organize a female model that would resemble the descriptions in the book and make a collar. To make the portrait soft on the edges and frame the model I put vaseline on my cameras filter. For the landscape cover, I decided to portray the strong visual cue of the maze. As
For the landscape cover, I decided to portray the strong visual cue of the maze. As the restriction for this assignment was to create it in the studio context I had to come up with a way to photograph the maze inside. I sourced astroturf and cut out a maze. To enhance the overall reduced color, and white-on-white theme, I sprayed the astroturf with white spray paint.
To create the symbolic/ minimalistic cover I chose to photograph a falling leave, as that resembles the main character’s situation in the society. Her faith and path of life are heavily influenced and determined by outer influences — like the leave is directed and carried by the wind. However, she also has some powers and potentials, and there is still hope, this is represented also through the floating state of the leave, which has not hit the ground yet but is still staying afloat.
To optimize the outcome of the studio time the books were photographed in many different positions, from varying angles, and with different props.
After the shoot a contact sheet was created and printed out. This way the images could be compared and the most successful ones could be picked. This was also the first print test, so colors could be adjusted accordingly in the post production.
THE FINAL OUTCOME
mysterious – simplistic – minimalistic – cool tones – clean
As the final step, the most successful images were edited in photoshop to do color correction and edit out any small blemishes the books had.
A passioned reader, I love the worlds that lay in-between the pages. Therefore, I understand the importance of visually pleasing, interesting book covers that are at the same time open for interpretation and don’t give away too much of the story. I have a good understanding of the target audience as I am part of it.