Bad Cover Art…Redesigned: Room 403

Welcome to Bad Cover Art…Redesigned! Where I bring you the most horrible of all cover art I can find on the world wide web and try to come up with an alternative (that I hope is better).

This week I bring to you: Room 403 by Elliot Langley

According to Amazon, Room 403 is about a 19 year old girl called Susan Walker whose best friend is behaving oddly. Grant has been skipping school, never at home when she calls in and is increasingly despondent. One night, however, he turns up at her window and she discovers that at the route of all these problems is a place in a derelict building, Room 403. As Susan finds out more she slowly gets dragged into the strangeness surrounding that room. Dun dun duuuuuun!

I now bring you Room 403…Redesigned!

Thoughts – 

This week I spent a good while trawling through Amazon looking for a cover and realising my recommendation list will never be quite the same. I hit upon this cover and whilst the candle is quite cool the font makes it look kind of amateurish and I just thought about how much more awesome this cover could be. About how it could pull in a ton more people if it was a little bit more mysterious or drew you in more rather than looking like someone made it in about 5 minutes.

The first thing I thought was literally ‘DOOR’ I thought it would be great if you could just have a door with a glass panel on it and the title ‘Room 403’ could be made to look like it’s just on the door. So I set out in search of a door! I must’ve spent the best part of 3 hours looking at doors…it’s not the most fun way to spend time I can tell you. It’s even more infuriating when you can’t find the kind of thing you want. I wanted a straight on door and that wasn’t happening. I searched through Deviantart and SXC but couldn’t find a thing. I did, however, stumble across the above photo and just instantly thought it was creepy and could potentially work.

In my mind I originally though the font could do along the wall but in practice it didn’t work because the wall isn’t long enough and so the font gets lost towards the end so I settled on the floor. I actually learnt a couple of new things doing this cover. For example, I kind of made the font from scratch. So the original font is Coolvetica and I found this tutorial online about how to distress fonts. So I set about distressing it with the eraser tool. I changed the colour and put a little blood splat behind some of it. I then manipulated it used the Transform>Perspective tool so that it looked more like it was laid on the floor. I also manipulated the sign above the door so it read 403 rather than 13 and had to merge the layers and age it and put filters on so it looked like part of the original photo.

I’m still not entirely keen on the font but I can’t figure out if it’s because I’ve been staring at it for too long? I’ve tried multiple different colours and positions for both fonts and this result is the one that makes me less frowny faced. I could probably fiddle with it for a good solid day if I let myself.

I like the new cover because it conveys more mystery than the original in my opinion. The solitary candle is quite intriguing but I sort of like the depth and the contrast between light and dark in the new one. At first I didn’t like how light the exterior room is but now I find I like it because it contrasts so heavily with the interior of Room 403. The description of the novel talks about Susan getting sucked in and I think this cover kind of conveys that notion. I feel like people might be more likely to pick it up if they saw it on the shelf?

Process – 

This week involved an awful lot of pressing buttons and seeing what happened so I can’t entirely remember the whole process step by precise step.

Step 1 – Changed the sign above the door. So I extended the white section with the rectangular selection tool and then I smudged the edges so they didn’t look so crisp. I then added the 403 on in a regular text box and reduced the opacity of the layer so it didn’t look so new. I then merged the background layer, the white square layer and text layer into one layer (be careful when you merge layers once you do it you can’t move them independently of each other) and then I applied a Photo Filter of Deep Blue over the top of this new layer to make all the elements look the same.

Step 2 – I adjusted the background. I played with the Colour Levels, Photo Filters, Diffusion Light, Brightness and Contrast, Shadow/Highlight and so on until I arrived at a result I liked.

Step 3 – Started work on the font. I placed the Coolvetica font on the cover, chose a colour I liked and then Rasterized the layer (this allows you to treat the text like a normal layer and let’s you Transform it how you want, which you can’t do when it’s text but you need to make all text changes before you do that). I then chose the Eraser tool and picked a brush that comes with PS, I think it’s the oil brush, and then started to distress the font by taking chunks out of it with various oil brushes. I set the Blending Option to Overlay so the font went sort of see through and gave it an Outer Glow. I then used the Transform>Perspective tool to adjust the font so it looks like it’s laid on the ground.

Step 4 – I added blood splatter behind some of the font but also by the wooden floor where the door is open just to add a little something extra. I darkened these splats and gave some of them a Drop Shadow.

Step 5 – I added the author font and got annoyed because it didn’t fit anywhere so I put it in a place that made me least angry!

Elements – 

Main Font – Coolvetica

Author Font – (Check when I get home)



Font Tutorial (If you’re interested! I kind of took the first couple of steps and then did my own thing)


Thanks for looking! Sorry it’s so long this week.


You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Cole says:

    Well done! I like it because it’s much more ominous than the first one. I also enjoy the bruise-like shadows throughout the cover. Very nice. One critique: I do not like the placement of the author’s name. Nonetheless, brilliant job.

    I also have found a few bad book covers that I think could work for your projects. If you ever need a suggestion, just message me and I’ll send them your way 😀

  2. Elliott says:

    Hey beckiw!

    So I just finished reading your blog after stumbling across it on the Interwebz and I thought I should say a little hello. Your cover is…wow. I love it. I’m literally astounded that you put so much effort into redesigning it. Three hours staring at photos of doors? I admire your commitment.

    I agree, your alternate cover is far more interesting to look at than the original. There’s so much more going on, it’s gritty, moody and brooding with tension. The rust-covered door has a great contrast with the sparseness of the white walls. I also really like that there’s almost a film-grain texture to the photo, it gives it a real David Lynch quality.I totally get that the open door is sucking you in. It’s almost like the depth-of-field between the door and the title is like a pathway into the room. I think you did some really fine work here.

    Some thoughts on the original: I didn’t really have much of a say in it’s creation. (I should probably mention at this point that I’m the author of this book!) I have mixed feelings about it myself. I think the publisher really wanted to push it as a young-adult/teen fiction release, and as such really flared up the romance story that’s in the book. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I get a total ‘Twilight’ vibe from that cover. The placing of the font, the focus on the single image, having black as the dominant colour…do you see where I’m coming from?

    One minor comment about your cover: despite the story primarily being ‘psychological horror’, there’s not a single act of violence in the book. I think the closest it comes to bloodshed is one of the characters eats a chicken sandwich (yikes!). So the splatter of blood is a little out of place, though to be fair you weren’t to know. But even so, it’s presence adds to the feeling of dread in the piece.

    Great stuff! I feel privileged to have had the ‘bad cover art redesigned’ treatment.

    • beckiw says:

      Wow! Hello! Gosh…I feel like I should apologise or something.

      Thank you for all your kind words. I have imagined a scenario similar to this but usually in my head it consists of an author chasing after me with a pitchfork and then throwing a copy of their book at my head. So the fact that you actually like the new cover, love it even, is rather a relief!

      The effort is neither here nor there. I get rather perfectionist about these things and kind of want to do it justice! I can’t very well assign the title of ‘Bad Cover’ to something and then not try my darndest to make my effort the best it can be.

      I see what you mean about the ‘Twilight’ vibe. It seems to be the vogue in covers at the moment to have that single object and a dark background (Fifty Shades of Grey anyone) and I understand that you don’t get much say in the cover! I guess it makes sense for people who have a clearer view of the market and the trends and what pulls readers in to decide on covers but I still think it’s a missed opportunity not to ask the creator of the work for their opinion at least.

      Oh dear! That poor chicken sandwich. Didn’t see it coming I bet. Would we class that as a spoiler though? Uh oh! Perhaps if I ever revisit this cover I might change the blood splat for a spilled chicken sandwich. As a food lover that would definitely fill me with dread. ‘That poor sandwich! It never hurt anyone!’

      Thanks for stopping by and giving your opinion though! (And being so ridiculously nice).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *