This feature is becoming more and more fun. I found many awesome cover designers lately and it's a pleasure to welcome such talented people on WTSL. My first two guests were Ravven and Once Upon A Time Covers, and my guest today is Allison from B Design!When did you start designing book covers?
I've been a Graphic Designer for a few years now, but when I decided to self publish my debut novel, I wanted to try the cover myself. I showed it to a few writer friends who thought it was pretty good and I went on with my life. Then after a while I noticed I was getting asked to help out on covers a lot and realized I had a lot of fun doing it! So I began to build a portfolio and here I am!
Do authors usually have a clear vision of what they want the cover to look like? Is it sometimes difficult to meet a customer's expectation?
I'd say it's pretty split down the middle. Some know exactly what they want and others have no clue until I show them something and that usually sparks some creativity. It's always difficult to meet expectation for book covers because as an author myself, I am not sure how I would be handing over the thing I've poured my heart and soul into for the last however many months/years to a stranger just based on some pictures I saw. BUT I've yet to see a disappointed client.
Can you describe the process? What programs do you use, where do you start first, how long does it take in average...
I am very hands on with the author. I don't feel it's really about me or my style (there are things I can't do or am not comfortable doing, but mostly it's about the story). I use Photoshop to create all my covers. The first step is to have an in depth conversation with the author about the story, the feel and the expectations. Being upfront is always best. After that I usually take what they asked me to do and do something radical that probably makes them wonder why they chose me... but I like to push boundaries right off the bat just to see what my limitations will be. Sometimes a client will be closed in or conservative about their requests because they don't know what else to ask for. After that it's a lot of back and forth about image and font. Boring really, to anyone outside the process. I book a week and I take a very limited amount of clients because I like to be able to focus and do the best I can.
I know this is like asking a mother which one of her children she loves most, but is there a cover that you're particularly proud of? Or one that's been especially challenging to make?
There is a cover being revealed mid/end of February that is probably the best cover I've done all around. I love all the stories I get to work with but this particular cover is dark, edgy, beautiful, frightening... it really tested my skill as a designer and it's very different than what I'm used to doing. I just love it.
Do you think there are some "trends" for book covers?
With the rise of self publishing, covers have to be eye-catching at thumbnail size so in my opinion contrast is the major seller. I think that could be why closeups are becoming more prevalent, too. It needs to be seen at a small size.