Front Cover Design: Start to Finish

Posted by

The process of designing a cover usually begins during a meeting called the Focus Meeting, attended by the Publisher, the Marketing and PR Manager, the Creative Director, and members of the book team. The title and subtitle are discussed, and decisions are made on how best to approach the cover.

What is the main purpose of the book? Is it a project-based book, or is the author teaching a process? Will the book have styled photography?

Usually if the book will not have styled photos inside the book, a styled photo will not be used for the cover. Often, the drawback of a styled photo is that a quilt is slightly obscured by the setting of the photo. A book based on a detailed process really benefits from a flat shot, so the reader can really see the results of what the author teaches. This is especially true for a book about quilting, such as Angela Walter’s new book, Free-Motion Meandering.

However, a styled photo tends to be more inspirational and conveys an overall sense of style from the book. In Jera Brandvig’s Quilt As-You-Go Made Vintage , the styled photo shows a variety of quilts, but the full quilt designs are not easily apparent. However, the setting and the props used give a sense of the vintage style and colors.

Is there one “wow” project that would communicate what to expect inside the book or is it more important to show the variety of projects?

Christina Cameli’s book, Wedge Quilt Workshop, was an exception to a few rules. The book does have styled photography, and the variety of designs created from wedges is an important selling point for the book. Ultimately, we chose not to use a styled photo or show multiple quilts, however, but rather one stunning quilt detail that really highlights the wedge shapes used in the quilt. Wedges are often assumed to be found in radial designs, so by showing a more unconventional wedge quilt, the cover still conveys variety and finding unexpected patterns.

Once a cover design has been strategized in the Focus Meeting, the information is passed first to the photographer for any photography requests, and then finally to the designer to put it all together.

As the designer, my process usually starts with research: all the documented meetings about the book, the author’s online presence and style, and also the competitive covers out there to see what needs to fit in and what needs to stand out.

Once materials are gathered and I have a pretty good base knowledge, I start throwing things together. In the beginning, it really is like tossing things around to see how they fit (very similar to working with a design wall). I start with fairly basic fonts just to see how the title works on the page, and then I work with font combinations to maximize the style and readability of the final work.

Three to six cover options are presented in an audition to the CEO, the Publisher, and the Creative Director. A cover option is chosen and refined, then sent to the author for their input and approval. Here are a few cover “sketches” from Free-Motion Meandering (final cover shown above). 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

  • behind the scenes
  • Free-Motion Meandering
  • Angela Walters
  • Wedge Quilt Workshop
  • Christina Cameli
  • Quilt As-You-Go Made Vintage
  • Jera Brandvig

View Comments

My Obsession with Precuts

Ask any quilter what his or her favorite precut bundle is, and you will get a lot of different answers. Some people favor fat quarters or even half-yard bundles, while others are all about strips or squares, or perhaps triangles, or hexagons. It's exciting to be a quilter today because thanks to innovative and forward-thinking fabric companies there are [...]

Read More »

Circle Takes the Square Quilt

Happy National Sewing Month! Please enjoy this free project taken from Double Vision Quilts. You can enter to win your own ebook copy of Double Vision Quilts right here: a Rafflecopter giveaway. Finished Size: 42" x 42" Materials and Supplies FIRST LAYER (BRIGHT COLORS): 49 squares 6 1/2˝ × 6 1/2˝; 25 squares are for the inner quilt and 24 [...]

Read More »

How to Clean a Self-Healing Cutting Mat

Hello sewing friends. My name is Sarah Markos from Blue Susan Makes, and I have a little tip to share with you today in honor of National Sewing Month. My very favorite sewing tools are my rotary cutter and my self-healing mat. I use them with almost every sewing project I ever make. Seriously, what did people [...]

Read More »

A Leaving-Home Sewing Kit

September is National Sewing Month. It is also the month when many families launch their children into independent lives. One of the things I am sure young adults miss most when they leave home is the on-call sewing services of someone to sew that lost button back on or to repair that hem. But not to worry. If your [...]

Read More »

Fastest Sew in the West!

Instead of the fastest draw in the west, I’m writing to tell you about the fastest way to make a pillow. This title should not be confused—I'm definitely not saying I’m the fastest sewist! (Not that every time you make a pillow it needs to be the fastest and the easiest way. I recognize that sometimes slow [...]

Read More »

Free Create a Card Project

With this free project from the second edition of  The Best of Sewing Machine Fun for Kids, children can create their own one-of-a-kind greeting cards and discover stitching around curves and corners. Plus, to celebrate National Sewing Month, we're giving away a free ebook copy of The Best of Sewing Machine Fun for Kids, Second Edition. You [...]

Read More »

Make a Foxie Pillow

I am obsessed with pillows! Lately I want to make pillows of every shape and size, but my favorite is the rectangular sofa pillow. Let’s put together three of my paper-pieced blocks to create the rectangle. This pillow will fit a 14” x 28” pillow form. One of my favorite animal blocks is the Fox from my  Cute [...]

Read More »

Trying New Techniques

I’ve done my fair share of teaching workshops on a variety of quilting techniques, and I’ve learned quite a bit from my students. Not necessarily about quilting, but about learning styles and confidence levels. I’ve observed so many different attitudes and perspectives on ‘trying new things’ or ‘reaching beyond one’s comfort zone.’ For me, as a teacher, giving quilters [...]

Read More »

Organizing Scraps for Improv

Organizing your scraps for improv is a little different than organizing them for more precise piecing. Improv scraps don’t have to be any particular size, and sometimes those awkward cuts are just what you need to add a spark to an improv block. I keep small, colorful baskets at the back of my cutting table, organized roughly by color. Any scraps [...]

Read More »