Completed contest

BOOK COVER for Career, Money, and Life Skills book for Graduates

realsolutions needed a new print or packaging design and created a contest on 99designs.

A winner was selected from 73 designs submitted by 23 freelance designers.


One of the designers who made it happen

Winner - TeaBerry
TeaBerry has been extremely helpful even though I've had several edits, and requests, really understanding what I needed from the start. Great job, I'm very happy with my book cover design, and can highly recommend working with TeaBerry!
- adiba.barney

How realsolutions started their print or packaging design journey


This book is the first in a series of a minimum of four (possibly as many as eight) books. We'd like to give all the covers to one designer. Also a possibility of designing booklets with a similar design for the same audience.

Brand name

QwikSmarts® Take Charge book series

What inspires you and how do you envision the design for your business?

We have written a book for college seniors/grads filled with career, money management, and life skills advice. We need a cover that will be eye-catching as well as appealing to this young adult audience, so they will want to pick it up and take a look.

This is the first in a series (the next one will be for freshmen), so the cover design chosen will need to be workable in different colors and with different photos/art to match the audience and topic.

As we move on to the next books in the series, the spine and back cover will remain the essentially the same (with different subtitle and text, of course) so only the front cover will change.

We’d like to award all covers to the same designer. We have two to four more books in this series slated for release next year and possibly two or more the year after. There is also a possibility of being awarded design work for covers on smaller booklets for the same audience (probably 4”x9” with a similar design to the books).

We’d like the title to be a ‘stylized’ type of font, recognizable on its own (like the Chicken Soup for the Soul font is easily recognized as ‘theirs’ no matter what the topic of the book).

The information in this book is presented in bullet (rather than paragraph) format, providing the fastest way to find the information the reader needs. We'd like the cover the demonstrate, to some degree, a feeling of speed, but this shouldn't be the overriding theme.

The cover design must work well both in full color and in b/w (for print materials) and must be eye-catching and readable at all sizes (take a look at the size used on Amazon’s website).

We are in the process of lining up people to write the introduction and foreword and also endorsement statements, all of which will be used somewhere on the front and/or back covers.

We will be marketing the book to corporate and organization sponsors, so there must be a space on the front cover for adding a sponsor’s logo that will be eye-catching, but not dominant.

The books will be 6” x 9”. Once the front cover design is selected, the spine and back cover will need to be done, but they will be very easy.

If you will be able to produce a 3-D image of the cover later, that will be a plus. Also, if you can later design a banner for a website/blog for the book series, that will be a big plus as well.

The winning designer needs to sign either a work-for-hire agreement or a rights release on the cover design. We will require 300 dpi JPG’s of the cover for color and b/w uses as well as vector graphics and the native files (or whatever our printer requires) so we can make small tweaks if needed at the last minute.

For complete details, our logo, and contact info, visit and download the PDF.

Here are the elements which need to appear on the front cover:

Title:    Grads        Take Charge

Subtitle:              of Your Career, Your Money, and Your Life!

** we want Take Charge to be very powerful; to grab people’s eyes as they walk by the bookshelf

**the word Grads needs to be prominent enough that, at first glance, it’s obvious who this book is written for (but this doesn’t need to be a dominant element). This word will change on subsequent books in the series. For instance, the next book will be :

Freshmen     Take Charge      of Your First Year in College!

Series identifier (probably should be at the top of the cover, but not detracting from the title):

The QwikSmarts® Take Charge Series

(use our QwikSmarts® logo jpg; Take Charge should be the same font as it is for the title)

Somewhere on the cover we also need these elements:

The only resource the new graduate needs to make a smooth and successful transition from school to the ‘real world’ of work and independent living!

Foreword by George Washington (we’ll get the actual name later)

With an introduction by Abraham Lincoln (real name to come later)

Space for a corporate logo, when needed (but the cover needs to look complete even if there is no sponsor)

Author name: Kathryn Marion

Photos and/or art to make it clear that this book includes valuable advice for twenty-somethings on a wide variety of topics related to work and living on their own. These (and many more) topics are covered in the book:

• Finding and landing a job
• Performing well on the job/getting promoted
• Budgeting, banking, investing, and using credit
• Cooking, laundry, time management
• Moving to and decorating an apartment, living with roommates
• Giving back to the community, voting responsibly, dating.

NEW: I just uploaded a b/w version of the QwikSmarts(R) logo to



- A fresh, eye-catching design that will instantly appeal to the young-twenties crowd, getting out of college;
- A design that will work for the other books in the series;
- A design that looks complete even if there is no corporate sponsor's logo on it, but looks balanced when the logo IS on it;
- A design that's readable and appealing whether in b/w or color, and at any size;
- A readily-recognizable title (Take Charge) so there's no mistake that the books are by the same publisher and in the same series.

Don't want

- A cover that's too 'busy', making it difficult to understand what the book is about or who it's for;
- A cover that can't be easily recognized and read when it's b/w and small (like in a printed catalog);
- A design that's 'square', 'cold', and 'corporate' looking; today's young people are confident, tech savvy, and looking for information they can relate to, not a user manual.

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