Odobenus rosmarus

I found this picture of a walrus skull (odobenus rosmarus, according to my friend Ross) in the British Library archives, cut away the background, made it black and white, lifted it into InDesign, added the background colour, changed the transparency mode so the skull turned shades of blue, found and added the fonts, and exported it.

If you knew what you were doing with Photoshop, this would probably take you about four minutes. But I don’t know what I’m doing, and it took me all night.

ALL BLOODY NIGHT.

Anyway – this is a first draft of the cover of my flash fiction collection Marrow, which I’m going to self-publish in the next few weeks. I’d appreciate any thoughts, positive or negative, about the design. I want something lean, but is it too simple?

Marrow final cover PDF1 crop small

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2 comments

  1. Vera Chok

    Ah, I hadn’t seen this. If you’re going for lean, then the title font may not help as the image is strong.
    Title font says: staid, restrained, styled, harking back. I had liked the tension between the mannered font and the base, bare skull of the extinct creature.

    Image: I like it and esp. in relation to the idea of marrow or lack of.

    Font for author’s name: competes with title font and image.

    If you’re playing with contrasts you could go all out and have florid, cursive matching fonts. I would probably math the fonts.

    The colour is strong choice with strong associations: hospitals (almost), old-fashioned books, museums, bulletins from old universities. To modernise, if you want, I’d punch up the shade of the blue font and image (darker, richer and less powdery) to contrast with the background. Or go off white textured paper background, with off-black (grey, gunmetal blue, brown?!) for whole hog effect of a journal.

    The paper you print on will make a huge difference, the starker the design.

    I don’t know other flash fiction book covers but I imagine yours will stand out. If you want to “explain” the book more via the cover (not saying that you do), you could add a sub-heading.

    I’d love to know how you get on with it and self-publishing in general. May I pick your brains?

    • simonsylvester

      Thanks for such great ideas, Vera! Round two has indeed gained matching fonts, a deeper blue (and I’m working on something deeper still) and better spacing all round, plus a textured background. It’s getting there.

      Happy to talk about publishing and self-publishing, but I’m pretty new to it all (and very amateur). Marrow is a collection for sale at readings, more than anything else; I wanted to have something good quality to sell at open mics, and wanted to do it all myself. If I can help, I will. I’ve been using InDesign and Photoshop, and I’m rubbish with both of them.

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