The cover of your yearbook is the first thing you’ll see. When the boxes of books arrive and you finally get to hold one, it’ll be the cover that will, if we’ve got everything right, make you go “wow”. Your cover should represent you and your institution and it’s the part of the book where you really do have complete creative freedom. Sometimes that can be a little daunting, so this week I’ll try and give you some tips on coming up with a great design and also how you can best communicate that design to us.
Some example cover designs
1. The Basics
Using your “Manage cover” button on the “Sections tab” you will find a page that will allow you to send us your ideas and for us to create drafts for you to approve or reject. This is very much a conversation so feel free to ask questions, even if you’re worried they may sound stupid, we’ll always do our best to explain things.
You can send messages to us from this page as well as attach files such as photos, logos and mock-ups. Once you feel you’ve submitted enough information remember to check the “Cover is ready to make” box.
2. Coming up with an idea
This is the hard part. There’s no right or wrong here and the possibilities are endless so you’ll probably want to do a little bit of research. Going to the library and looking at real, physical books is always helpful and we have plenty of examples for you to look at too.
To start with it’s useful to focus on three things;
What does the cover need to say? What font should it be in? Is that font a classy serif or a sleek sans? (Refer to last weeks article for some more ramblings on that subject!) Do you want the text in an unusual shape like an arch or a wave?
What colour is the background? What colour is the text? What’s the overall colour scheme? Does your school or uni have a set colour scheme that you’d like to use? Do you want it to be dark or light? Bright or muted?
Where do things go? How big are they? Is the logo above the text or below it? What do you want on the back cover? Is it nicely ordered or is it a glorious chaotic mess?
3. Communicating your idea to us
Once you’ve considered the above issues you may want to start coming up with drafts of your own to test things out and, eventually, be able to show us exactly what you’ve come up with.
You could simply write down what you want, this works fine, but doing a bit of design yourself can be very rewarding and means we’ll end up closer to your vision. Pretty much any image software, such as Photoshop, will do the job for this, even MS Paint at a stretch. Anything that allows you to roughly show what you want is fine, we’ll be using what you send us as a guide anyway. There are now even free online tools that will do the job of a professional image suite such as;
Alternatively, you can forget this altogether and send us a hand-drawn scanned bit of artwork by one of the creative people on your team. This is great as well and we can often put some filters and effects on these that will make them look even better. Just make sure these are print quality. By that I mean, the higher the resolution the better!
4. Getting the ball rolling
Okay, so maybe now you have some idea of what you want your cover to look like and you’re ready for us to start work, or perhaps you’ve still got no idea what you want on your cover, that’s totally fine too! Just let us know what it has to say on it and tell us “I kinda like blue” and we’ll go crazy! You can be as specific or as vague as you feel comfortable with during this process, though we will exercise our creative license when we have no information on an aspect of the cover. Whether that’s an awesome or terrible thing kinda depends on what you think of our creative license!
Whether it’s a long list of measurements and pantone references or it’s a sentence about how much you love unicorns, you’ll still need to jot this down in a cover message and attach any relevant files.
On the point of attaching files, I will reiterate; If you’re sending us logos or photos for the cover, these need to be of print quality.
“Oi Lee, you keep using that term but what on earth does it mean?”
Glad you asked. If you were to take one of the covers we create and look at it at full size on your laptop screen, chances are you’d be to see barely 1/8th of the whole thing. Printing is done at much much higher resolutions than the web so if that lovely image you want spread across both front and back cover looks a bit small on your laptop/web-browser chances are it’ll be far too small to be used for print. Below is an example of what we would consider a “print quality” logo.
Chances are relatively high that in the past your institution has created some form of printed work. If so, they will have print quality versions of their logo . . . somewhere. IT and Admin departments are the best place to ask. We do have the capability to clean up and even entirely remake low quality logos but never with 100% accuracy and the eventual effect may be a bit dissapointing.
5. The Drafting Process
If you’ve managed all that and the cover has been started, we’ll go into the drafting process. In this stage we take your ideas and create cover drafts based on them. Once we’ve got something that we think looks nice we’ll send it to you. This is where you can tell us you love it or that we’ve got it totally wrong. Feel free to be as honest as you like, us designers are well known for our thick skins. Do remember to check all text and pictures to make sure everyone who should be there is in there and that there are no spelling mistakes.
Once you’re happy with what we’ve done it’s time to hit the approve checkbox! Congratulations!
Check out some example cover designs