book or magazine cover for The Coffeeist Manifesto

Steven Ward picked a winning design in their book cover contest. For just $299 they received 124 designs from 24 designers.

I was absolutely floored at the number and quality of designs that were submitted for my contest. I did not expect to have such a hard time choosing. In fact, for the money I saved over hiring a freelance designer directly, all my expectations were completely blown out of the water. I expected I would end up with a couple acceptable designs. Instead I had about 10 that were all fantastic. And besides all this, it was fun!
- Steven Ward

Here’s a peek at the client’s brief

Contest title


book or magazine cover for The Coffeeist Manifesto


Join the revolt against the coffee bourgeoisie.

Background information

Organization name

The Coffeeist Manifesto

Description of the organization and its target audience

Billion dollar cafe chains are robbing us, not just of our hard earned dollars, but of the very enjoyment they purport to sell us. They have inserted themselves into our lives in a way that is unnatural and convinced us of a great lie: that we need them to dumb down and simplify coffee for us because it is too complicated for us to make on our own.

This is the book the cafe industry doesn't want you to read.

Fact: Making great coffee requires time and attention. This means that to make a billion dollar for-profit coffee industry, you MUST find ways to cut corners and short change your customers.

Fact: Yes, there are many factors in preparing great coffee, but it is possible to sort out the 20% of coffee knowledge that will get you 80% of the benefit, and this is enough of a difference to bring your home coffee to the next level.

Fact: There are some GREAT coffee shops out there, but they can be hard to identify, making it easier to just settle for familiar chain coffee.

Fact: With a minimal investment in time and education you can make the best cup of coffee you've ever had in your life in the comfort of your own home. This book shows exactly why billion dollar for-profit coffee chains are inherently unable to to produce coffee of the quality you can make at home with ten bucks worth of equipment (that you probably already have, by the way).

By the end of the book, readers will have a foundational understanding of the cafe industry, know how to identify the good ones from the bad ones and how to beat them at their own game by making coffee at home that blows the cafes out of the water.


Food & Drink

Content details


I need a book cover that will work as an ebook cover and a paperback cover.

If you can't tell by the title of the project, I'm borrowing heavily from overblown WW2 and cold war propaganda themes for the branding of the book. I have in mind a cover that borrows heavily from cold war propaganda posters.

I have two ideas that are each slightly different directions. The first is basically the flag of Vietnam with a coffee bean in the middle of the star. I'd also like to see a version with a red star, on a black, white or red background.

The second idea is a modified old soviet propaganda poster. This might be too "busy" to be practical, especially for the small thumbnail size that shows up for Amazon Kindle.

I like these two ideas because:

1) They're not boring. Currently existing books about coffee are either ridiculously boring and too flowery/wishy-washy/romantic in their imagery. I think coffee is awesome and it has a history that is entwined with rebellion and history-making ideas, and the literature on coffee ought to be in line with that.
2) Inherently visually striking art that attracts the eye all on it's own.
3) Appeals to a rebellious nature that is reflected in the theme of my book.
4) Gives potential customers the feeling that they are part of something bigger than just their morning coffee; a movement.

So those are the things I'm looking for. I've also got a few things I'm NOT looking for:

1) Designs that take themselves too seriously.
2) Using imagery that includes figures like Lenin, Stalin, etc. I like the rebellious/call-to-arms feeling of the soviet propaganda posters, but I'm not wanting to promote the ideology itself.

I really love an ad that M&M's did using a similar idea to promote their red M&M's. It's similar in spirit to everything I'm going for:

[couldn't get the links to paste correctly, so I just uploaded some examples that I like. I do not have the rights to any of these]

The book will be published primarily as an ebook, so it will need to be designed to look good for the Amazon kindle store (in thumbnail image size). I will be doing a small run of paperbacks (basically for me and friends/family) too though, so the design should be eye-catching in a variety of sizes, but the focus should be on designing for Kindle.

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