Creating a Cover Design

Creating a cover design is a difficult process.

I always start with a cover concept in mind.  My latest novel is a thriller which has as its theme how conflicting priorities can change who we are: our identity.  One of the characters is a international, freelance journalist, who has found that long-term relationships don’t work very well when one is working in a country like Afghanistan.  She has therefore decided to focus on her career in journalism, and, in doing so, she has won a Pulitzer prize.  But, she is lonely and longs for a loving relationship – a relationship which will make her the person she wants to be.

Given this theme, I asked the cover designer to produce a graphic which included a transparent human head inside of which are toy soldiers engaged in combat.

Here is what they came up with initially:


Not surprisingly, I didn’t like it at all.  My wife said it looked like the cover for some kind of a cult book.  I objected to the spirals; I was told that they are watermarks which will be removed when the head image is purchased.  I didn’t like the iridescent blue: that had to go.  The dozens of small images in the background just added confusion.  The soldiers (which one can barely see in this image) were too small and didn’t look as though they were fighting.  After some discussion, I sent the designer copies of the images below:



I found these images on the internet, and the only problem was that they weren’t high resolution.  The designer worked on the images to sharpen them.

Then, rather than have a transparent, three-dimensional head, I opted for a simple, two-dimensional outline of a head.  I asked that the colour scheme be simplified: red, blue and black only.

Then we got into a lengthy back-and-forth about the fonts on the original cover, which I didn’t particularly like.  My wife and I were in Rome a couple of weeks ago, and at the check-out counter of a local supermarket, she spotted the cover of Paulo Coelho’s latest novel which appeared to have an embossed font.  Very stylish!  I sent a picture of the cover to the designer, but it turned out that if ‘Hidden Battlefields’ were to be in that font, it would have to be on two lines rather than one.  So we compromised on the font.

So, here, at last, is the cover:

Peace Cover Web

 The book itself should be available in a week to ten days.

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