Want Your Cover To Look Better? I Can Help!!! || Critiques and Graphic Design Advice

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#1

This is the first post that I’ve ever made and while I could go make a fancy little graphic page describing everything that I’m capable of doing, ya girl don’t got time for dat.

**So, here’s what I can do: **
-Tell you what’s wrong with your cover
-Tell you how to fix it

I’m a certified by the state of Utah, or the USA, as a graphic designer. That means that I have the training to help you upgrade your cover into whatever dream you want it to be, and the knowledge to tell you exactly how to fix it. No, this is not going to be one of those things where I sit down and I judge you from 1-10 on how good your covers are. If you leave your cover in the description, I’ll leave behind honest advice that you can use at your own discretion.

(tbh, you might be asking why I’m not offering to create covers. Problem is, that requires time and time is not a thing that I have at the moment. Maybe later, but not now. Although you can certainly ask.)

Here’s the information I need to know:

Genre:

Intended feelings: (the feelings that you want your reader to feel when they look at your cover.)

Cover:


Is there a place I could ask for feedback on a cover?
#2

The designer can’t edit it anymore, I just want an opinion though, I do love it, and she is making one for the second part of the series (she has done these first two for free, and for use on Wattpad only for now, but someday I do hope to actually commission her and such for the series)


#3

I get what you mean when you say that the designer can’t edit it anymore. That’s okay. I’ll talk about ways things that you can focus on for future covers then.

So when I look at your cover, the first thing I see is the moon. That’s pretty natural, as your eyes tend to be drawn towards the brightest and darkest colors in the composition. Now, when I look at the moon, I notice two things. The first, is that the moon is squished. It’s not really a big thing, and most people who are glancing at your cover won’t notice it, but it is kind of an odd shape if you stare at it. The second thing that I notice is the brightness and the contrast are a little off. What I mean when I say that is when you’re looking at the image, you want there to be a balance. So when you look at the moon, you want to see both the moon AND the wolf at first glance. But because of the overwhelming brightness and size of the moon, the moon kind of washes out the wolf and it takes you a moment to focus in on it to see it for what it really is.

The answer to this is pretty simple: you can ask the designer to lower the brightness of the moon or just make the wolf larger than before.

The next thing I notice is the amount of detail. I know this is pretty standard since fantasy covers tend to include lots of detail to help set up the world, but in some places it was a bit much. For sample, take a look at the sky. If the moon was really that bright, you probably wouldn’t see all the stars that exist. This also affects the balance of your cover as your cover is really top-heavy and it’s relying solely on the text at the bottom to fill up the rest of the image. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite fill it all the way, meaning that your eyes will naturally drift more towards the top than towards the bottom.

Answer: Remove some of the stars, or leave the sky darkened and put in more texture around the bottom. Not something obvious and that contains a lot of white, like stars. But something subtle. These can be trees, rocks, mountains, etc. Just a couple different shapes that are a little bit lighter than the background that helps balance the image a little bit better.

After that, I notice the title. The text is really quite beautiful, but if it’s the third thing I’m noticing, something’s wrong. The title of your story should really be the first or second thing someone notices when looking at your book. You want it to be this way because then it will stand out more. People’s memories for cover designs tend to get blurred together, especially when there’s a lot of covers right next to each other and many of them look very alike, like what we see here on Wattpad. This means that your title needs to be one of the first things they see so that they know your story, even if they decide not to click on it. (Also, since your image is top-heavy, the actual text I see first is the Legend Series: 1. but I already explained how you can fix that so it’s not the first bit of text your eyes focus on which is: decluttering everything else.)

Answer: Raise the brightness in the title. If you turn the title white, you can still achieve that purple, glow-y feel that you’ve got going but through filters like “outward glow”, “inward glow”, etc. (I’d go more into detail about the specifics but since you told me that you had someone design the covers for you, that wouldn’t really help you that much…)

The second to last thing that I see, is the text at the bottom. One thing that really confused me was why your name and your tag line (a tag line is the part that says, “like fire and ice”) were the same size. Usually, to help keep your name more of the focus, like the title, you make it larger. The second thing that confused me was why the tag line was brighter than your name. Point is: name needs to be larger and brighter, not outshining the title or the top text in anyway, but certainly not the same size as the tag line or darker.

And finally, the last thing I noticed, is the corners. At the bottom they look fantastic because they’re very clean cut and you can tell what they are. At the top they’re different colors and the right corner literally blends into the image. I didn’t see it at first until I noticed the other three corners. However, while the corners are pretty, I don’t think your cover actually needs them. I think it’s another detail that only clutters up the image and gives the appearance of too much going on in such a short time.

Maybe ask your designer to give you two copies next time, one with the corners and one without. If you really love them, keep them. But if you think it looks better without, then by all means.

Overall, your cover is actually pretty decent. I know that I made a lot of points but that’s mostly because I wanted to be thorough. If there are two things that I have to suggest you really, really focus on, it’s the balance of the image and making sure that your text is more of a focus. Those are the two most important things that can really help your cover in this situation. And also, tell your cover designer that the font they used is beautiful. If you’re going for magical, it really does have that magical vibe to it that makes it interesting to look at.


#4

I realized that a couple weeks after receiving it and by then it was too late :woman_shrugging:


#5

It’s okay! Designer’s mistake, not your own! Honestly, if there wasn’t as much smoke, or texture to the words, I could fix it for you myself. But I doubt I could do it and make it look as clean as it is.


#6

These three go together for my SoD trilogy, which I am editing and revising the first book so I can do the same with the few chapters I have for the second before continuing and finishing it so I can start the third and final part of the series and finally end the trilogy

My question with these is: How do they look individually and how do they look side by side as a series?

Again, not made by me, also not by a professional. I don’t know how to make covers myself, I want to learn someday, but I don’t have the computer or anything else for it right now.


#7

Alright. So since you asked me to do these individually and as a series, I’m going to break up my critiques for them into different parts using “---------------”. You’ll see what I mean. Also, sorry I couldn’t respond to this when you first posted, I had actually just gone to bed :sweat_smile:

~~

1st Cover:

To be honest, as a designer, this cover gives me a lot of red flags.

  1. The attempt to blend the two images into one needs serious work, as the girl looks like she’s just been copy and pasted there.

  2. The hue and saturation on these images are wayyyyyyyyyyyyy off. What I mean by that is you have the girl, she’d very very dark in the composition of the image. So, naturally, if the girl is as dark as she is, the background would be a similar shade to her. However, since the background is this really brilliant, flaming red, it essentially washes out all the detail in the picture of the girl. If you look at it, (what I mean is just close your eyes and then open them again and see what the first thing you notice about the picture is) your eyes are going to zoom in right on her face because the white spot is the only detailed part about her, since the rest gets drowned out.

  3. The name on the bottom needs to be scooted up a bit. I say this because if the cover designer were designing covers that you could potentially sell, they need to have enough room for a bleed. This means that when you’re designing, you’re keeping in mind that the people who print the designs are humans and that they can accidentally mess up–or in other words, if you actually sent this to be published, there’s a 9/10 chance that the printers would be cutting into your name half the time.

Number three is what worries me the most. Because if they don’t know about bleeds and not putting your title on the very bottom, then do they know about the copyright and fair use laws of fonts? I don’t know. I can’t say they do or that they don’t, but it worries me that I even have to wonder that.

  1. The font. I love the fonts that your designer uses, however, as an air of caution, I would ask them what font they used for your title. Because, unless they design all their own fonts, they could potentially be stealing from other people. I use websites like Canva.com, BeFunky.com, and Pixlr.com which are commercially open to everyone and have no fines for copyright fees. However, there are other websites out there where you can download designed fonts, ones that kind of look like your title, and use them. But the catch with those is, that becomes a work of intellectual property, or art because they went through the hassle of designing it. So that means that if you ever were to publish these, you could end up with a copyright strike on your covers or being sued. :confused: It’s a 50/50 shot. Just ask your designer. And if they tell you they download fonts, ask them to stick to common fonts. That way you’ll never have to worry about it in the future.

  2. Overall, the composition of the image is just very simple and unoriginal. This gives me another red flag as they don’t actually know how to design, they’re just attempting to reproduce mass-produced, mass-market covers. If you want an example of what I mean, I mean they’re trying to reproduce something like this:

example%60

Or this

example1


2nd cover!

This image gives me some relief. There are obvious design components to it and the whole thing just looks and feels better than the first cover.

But again, same problems.

  1. They need to push the name up a little bit so it’s not running into the bleed.

  2. They need to work on blending the hue and saturation of the wolf better, plus they forgot the wolf’s shadow, so anyone looking at the image will, without a doubt, know that’s been photoshopped.

  3. They need to lighten the background a little bit. My focus isn’t on the wolf but on the trees behind it, similar to the last background with the red forest.

  4. Same concerns with the font as last time. Although, I will say, that the angle that it’s positioned at is really the best thing about this whole cover. It’s titlted in this, adventure, survival kind of grunge that screams, “this book is going to catch your attention!” Seriously. That design change flipped the entire theme of your composition like a flapjack on a griddle.


3rd book!

I don’t know how they managed to take a huge step forward with the second book in terms of design skill, angle, art, and composition, but Idk. This cover needs as much work as the first one.

  1. Again, the name needs to move up a little bit.

  2. Saturation of the sand/color of the sand needs to be lightened so the attention focuses more on the scorpion than on the sand itself.

  3. The image needs to be slid down about 3 cm so that the scorpion isn’t on top of the title and the title isn’t on top of the scorpion.

  4. I don’t know where they got their little wash out, paint brush thing from but it doesn’t fit this concept of “Survive or Die”, it screams, “teenage contemporary romance” and probably just needs to be removed in general.

  5. Font needs to be increased. In the last few covers it was bold and daring, now it’s trying to fit into this little tiny mold that it doesn’t need to fit into.

  6. Tag line needs to be bold again, like on the 2nd cover.

Here’s the thing that I’m looking at when I’m looking at these two covers. Cover two was awesome so they’re trying to implement the same things that they did in cover 3, but without actually using the same template. But the problem is, while they’re doing that, they’re also trying to say, “this is 100% a completely different book cover!” So they’re both trying to replicate but at the same time, not replicate what they already did. And if that makes you confused, that is kind of the point that I’m trying to make. It is confusing the heck out of me. I don’t know whether I should try to assist to make it look more like the 2nd cover or more like it’s own cover.

Anyway, excuse my frustration.


Overall?

Do the covers look like the same, consistent series?

Yes, and no.

Yes, because they have the same fonts and same name placement.

No, because the 2nd cover looks so much higher quality than the rest of them, that it kind of just stands out on its own.

Also, image 1 and image 2 are connected by photoshop, whereas image 3 is just them taking an image off the internet and then slapping a title on it. (You could actually test that by taking your image, copying it, and then pasting it into google. If they really did do that, you’d know immediately.)

Also, the whole contrast with the girl versus the wolf/scorpion is a little jarring. Most of the time, like in the Mortal Instruments, ACOTAR, etc. They decide early on an icon or a concept. If we went by that, all of your covers would have girls on them, which would be the surest way of making them all look like they belong to the same series.

Other than that, I don’t know what else to tell ya. But I am highly uncertain about your desingers’ photoshopping skills, I shall say that.


#8

I went with different things that are of importance in each part of the series. The girl was supposed to be my MC (I usually don’t like having faces on my covers, or if I do I prefer it to have it be unable to be seen) and the wolf? It’s supposed to be my one character, a wolf, named Ghost. The scorpion is supposed to represent the main antagonist or villain of that story, who is nicknamed the Scorpion

The second cover I actually requested first, the other two came after, I may go to someone else, and thanks about the font, I’ve been wondering that myself as the one who designed Legend’s cover pointed out the use of copyrighted images and fonts to me as I was curious.

Also, thanks again!


#9

No problem! They should be disclosing that kind of stuff to you anyway, because it would be you who got in trouble, not them. And I would probably agree. Going to someone else might fix this whole problem entirely.


#10

not a lot of people seem to be looking for critiques that are more than just a number rating :thinking:


#11

I blame it on societal thinking. No one actually wants to be told what they did “wrong” but everyone wants to be told how good they are, ya know? I don’t blame them.


#12

I like facing the music about stuff, how does one get into learning graphic design?


#13

I actually started designing covers for myself. Then people liked my covers and asked me to design theirs too. Next thing you know, for about two years, I was running different cover making platforms on different websites. I gave it up after I got accepted into college because I didn’t have time for it. But then I took my state tests proving that I knew my stuff, got legally licensed and now I’m trying to get back into it.


#14

That’s awesome!


#15

Yup! It’s actually a pretty solid career path, if you were ever thinking about it. Depending on what you do, a single customer could be paying anywhere from 50 to 50,000$. Especially if you get into the mix with big companies like Disney. If you can land yourself a job there, man, you’d be rich.


#16

I am hoping to turn my love for writing into a career, so, I probably will try to get my Bachelors in creative writing (thanks to my career planning class, I know that if I have that I will at least be taking a step in the right direction) write now it is making me search for schools


#17

That sounds interesting. I love creative writing too, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be on this website. But I’d never go get my degree in English. Me and English teachers… we don’t get along. I probably couldn’t pass the classes if I tried.

But it sounds like you’ve got a plan ahead of you. How old are you, btw? I’m almost 20. But, yeah. Boring age.


#18

16, I graduate when I’m 17, by the next school year after I graduate, I’ll be 18 as my birthday always lines up somewhere in the first few days of school


#19

DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG. I remembered when I was your age, I didn’t want to go to college at all. I thought I might seriously die if I go to college. XD XD XD XD You’re a smart cookie, friend.


#20

I don’t wanna go, I just wanna be done with school, but if it makes things that much easier…I will do it…and keep in mind why I am forcing myself to continue school