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
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,
However, a styled photo tends to be more inspirational
and conveys an overall sense of style from the book. In Jera Brandvig’s
, 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).
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