We're developing a book, along with a website to promote it. The winning contest image will appear on the book cover and on the website (and wherever else it might be promotionally useful), but this contest is only for production of a single image (it's not a contest to design or lay out an entire book cover). While the winning image might also serve the function of a logo to some degree, this isn't a logo contest, either.
Please use the attached JPG sample file as your starting point. The letters in that sample do not look like real metal, but all entries' letters need to look like real metal in order to avoid being summarily eliminated. We don't know software, but we're guessing Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator (at least, by themselves) are not able to create a potentially winning entry because (as far as we know) they can't render real-looking 3D metal objects. Something like Autodesk 3DS Max is probably needed. If we're correct about this, that's very good news for the minority of you who have the more powerful software, as there should be far fewer designs for you to compete with than are typical in a 99designs contest. Read further for more detail, but please understand now that ANY SUBMISSION WITHOUT LETTERS THAT LOOK LIKE REAL METAL WILL BE ELIMINATED AS "OFF BRIEF," WITHOUT COMMENT.
The provided JPG sample file is a good starting point for the image we're looking for, but we're not exactly sure what we want, which is where the creativity comes in! We *are* sure, however, that we want the same pair of words shown in the image (identical spelling), stacked on top of each other with about the same vertical space between them as in the sample image, with CANADIAN centered (not left-justified or right-justified or stretched horizontally) over the word it is on top of. The letters of both words should be the same font and point size, with no text effects (i.e., not bold, underscored, italicized, etc.). We think we want the font to be the same as is displayed in the sample image, which is a common font named "impact." Other, similarly dramatic\epic fonts might work, too, so long as you avoid mixing different fonts in the same image. In any case (heh), all letters should be capitalized.
Various views (angular perspectives) of the word pair are welcome, but we're pretty sure we don't want anything head-on, nor do we want the perspective to be skewed very far left or right or up or down. We're pretty happy with the angle shown in the sample image, so that's a good place for you to start from.
No duplicative effects, e.g., no double images. We don't want the word pair to appear more than once in the image.
We definitely want the letters to look like real metal (silver), and to appear to have sunlight or other white light shining on them (the sun itself should not be visible). Avoid sunset lighting, as we don't want the silver to look like gold.
Some sort of interesting or arresting or even dazzling lighting effect *might* work. We're pretty sure we want the light to look like its source is actual sunlight or electric lights or electric spotlights. The letters themselves should not appear to be glowing\incandescent. We're envisioning reality (the letters look like actual solid silver metal objects floating in actual 3D space, as in a photograph) or possibly hyper-reality.
Avoid cute, ironic, cartoonish, and kitsch.
Some type of (probably blue) gradient background is also needed. This could be a virtual room artifice (no shapes or objects in the background, please), or simply an actual photo of clouds against a blue sky. If you don't have a cloud photo which you can show is copyright-free, you can use one (or try both) of these two photos:
It will probably be necessary to somehow make the faces of the letters significantly darker than their sides, otherwise the words might appear "washed out." Perhaps make the letter faces look as if they've been coated\plated with blue glass? Or maybe just do the lighting such that the front sides of the letters are in shade?
Be sure to avoid a low-resolution background so there are no digital artifacts such as pixelation or bands.
The edges of the letters (where the fronts meet the sides) should not be beveled, smoothed, or otherwise rounded off in any way.
While we're theoretically open to various colors, the working theme is "sunlit sky," so it's hard for us to imagine any viable colors in this project that depart from shades of blue and white\silver\gray. Sunset-ish colors like copper and yellow and orange are to be avoided (because they could make the silver look like gold).
Acceptable file formats for this contest:
PSD (though software that can render 3D metal objects might not save in this format...we don't know because we know so little about software).
24- or 32-bit BMP (can't go wrong with BMP!)
We'll provide feedback for images that are in-brief. If your design is eliminated without comment, please RTFDB.
(Read the Friggin' Design Brief)
In case anyone is wondering, the JPG sample for this contest is from an oDesk project which we ended up paying nearly a hundred dollars for. That gentleman's slow progress using Autodesk 3D Studio (working by the hour) was what motivated us to seek the completed image here at 99designs.
Also in case anyone is wondering, our one other 99designs contest so far -- to create a modern-day portrait of a man we'd provided an eighteenth-century image of -- was ended by us during the qualifying round when we realized that the contest format was inappropriate for a high-quality portrait, and that we were consequently going to need to hire a highly experienced artist. (George Patsouras won the commission, over at oDesk.) We understand the challenges of spec work from the designer's perspective and are trying to make it as easy on you as possible! Speaking of which, if/when we see a single image in this present contest we'd be satisfied with, we'll change the contest type to Guaranteed.
Another thing we'll try to do is eliminate entries that seem to have simply copied the top-rated previous entries. We want to reward creativity, not copycats.