steveFHE got their new book cover by running a design contest:
I need a post apocalyptic book cover that oozes gritty realism
Check out steveFHE's Book cover contest…
Among the Dead
Stephen Kennedy is an award winning writer who doesn't like bragging about himself. He loves drama, action/adventure, comedy, thrillers, suspense, happy endings and sad endings (as long as they make you reflect on life or other important things).
This is a post-apocalyptic drama/action novel, the first of the trilogy. A pandemic ravages the globe. The virus turns people insane, causing them to attack anyone they see. Society collapses, armed forces are overrun and soon everyone has to fend for themselves to survive. In upstate New York, Samantha survives the initial onslaught and takes shelter in her home. After things calm down, she decides to travel across the country to find her husband who was stranded in Los Angeles. Along the way, she meets another surviver who is also traveling west. Together, they face the hell that the United States has fallen into.
Target audience is males and females aged 18-45. They are likely fans of franchises like The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and the Netflix show Narcos. They like action and drama with gritty realism.
Book cover type
I really like the movie poster for Sicario. It gives a gritty feel, plays with double exposure and leaves room to breathe a bit. Not every space is filled, which I like. But it gets across the feeling of action, seriousness, and realism. I'd like to see some of the main characters, but not just silhouettes of them. I feel like that's been done a lot. As I mentioned before, I like empty space. I feel like that will make the cover stand out. As for font styles, I'm open to suggestions, but don't want anything too outrageous. I like the thought of simple, as in not an overly-crowded cover filled from edge to edge. Pointing back to the example of the Sicario poster, it has detail in it, but it's contained and structured, so it feels like it has room. I'm open to truly simple designs, as long as they capture the right tone. The main female character is an attractive woman in her late 20's to early 30's, brunette with a greek nose shape and green eyes. The main male character is a handsome man in his early 30's with dark hair, either clean shaven or has stubble. Both are dressed in worn, casual clothes. T-shirt or button up shirt and jeans. Use of stock photos is fine. I would like it if which ever stock photo model is used has multiple pictures/angles since this is a trilogy and eventually I'll need 2 more covers. Not a requirement, but it would make things easier in the future and I'd greatly appreciate it. I'm wanting to print to a 7.5" x 4.25" book cover, but may have to adjust that later on. I'm estimating the spine width to be around .8875". Again, this may be adjusted later on.
What to avoid
I really don't like book covers that have so much going on that you get overwhelmed and your eye isn't drawn to anything in particular. As I browse books, if the entire cover is filled with imagery, I just pass it by because nothing has jumped out to catch my attention. I think having empty space on the cover goes a long way to directing the eye and getting noticed. Also I'm not a fan of some of the 2D or 3D animated characters I've seen on some covers. That doesn't mesh with the gritty realism I'm going for. I included a picture of the cover for The Oncoming Storm. This is an example of a cover that's too busy in a chaotic way. Every inch has something going on and it makes me not even want to click on it. It doesn't draw my attention to a specific part, so I just get tired and scroll past it. The other examples I gave are ones that I like. They are busy, but it's in a structured way. The use of empty space draws my eye in and makes it easier for my brain to want to look at it and see what's going on. Also, The Oncoming Storm cover is animated/drawn, which is something I want to avoid.
It all began with a design brief.
A quick, interactive guide helped them understand their design style and captured exactly what they needed in their book cover.
Designers across the globe delivered design magic.
steveFHE collaborated with designers to refine their ideas
When design entries come in, you can rate them so designers know what you’re looking for in your logo design.
99designs has great collaboration tools so you can pinpoint and capture your ideas
And then… they selected a winner!
Working with Joey was fantastic! I'm so glad he participated in the contest I created because he nailed a majority of what I wanted with the first design. He was patient, a pleasure to work with, and quick to reply and address any requested changes I had. He even went over the top with adding a banner, wallpaper, and a few other things in addition to creating the two files I needed for my book cover! I can't recommend him enough, and I will definitely be getting in touch with him again when I need my next book cover! :)
Along the way, they met lots of talented designers…
We think contests are a super fun way to get design.
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