Bad Cover Art…Redesigned: The Guardian’s Chronicles

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 you: The Guardian’s Chronicles: A New Dawn by Ann H. Barlow

This cover was suggested by Cole and I must say Cole…you have quite good bad taste!

According to Amazon, the novel is about a young girl called Sahara who is an artist and plagued with unexplained happenings such as being able to move objects with her mind. After choosing not to ignore her weird powers, and thinking something more sinister is going on, Sahara is set on a course to save man kind! Sounds all very dramatic to me.

Now I bring to you The Guardian’s Chronicles: A New Dawn…Redesigned!

So last week I went into detail about how I actually made this. I’m going to do some of the same again but people asked for more of my thought processes. So I’ll give that a go.

To tell the truth I had a tough time this week. I originally started doing another cover suggested by another YWSer because I had such a strong idea for it. However, because I try to only use royalty free resources and things I don’t have to pay for, it can be difficult to find what I want/need. I ended up getting so annoyed that I changed my mind last minute and decided to make a different cover.

Usually to begin with I’ll look at the original cover and read a synopsis of the novel. I then seem to zero down on certain words that trigger an idea in me. For instance here I obviously focused on the word ‘Dawn’ and also the word ‘Chronicals’. Dawn gave me the idea of using a sunburst, one with strong lines, and Chronicles made me think of something old, of parchment or crumpled documents. That’s when I thought it might be interesting to do a sort of grunge looking sunburst for the cover.

I also liked the idea of using a strong symbol and strong colours. This novel seems to be part of a series or potential series, so I thought it might be interesting if each book cover in the series were to have a separate strong colour and symbol. Say if the next book were to have something to do with the sea. You could use blue and block waves. I do love minimalism in covers.

Obviously again it’s quite different from the original cover and I’m not entirely sure why I chose to go down this route. I suppose it’s a nice idea to think that a collection of books with strong colours and symbols together would look quite nice and have a strong brand identity. Sort of like when you see all the British Harry Potter books in a row. You know immediately they are Harry Potter. I also sometimes think that the introduction of model looking people on the front of covers, mainly for Fantasy or YA, could potentially be off putting. I mostly read these genres for escapism and characters I feel I can connect with. If I saw the original cover I feel I would be instantly put off. Whereas the redesigned cover could attract a slightly wider audience.

This is a basic break down of what I did –

Between steps 3 and 4 I played with the Blending Options to make the effect that the sun burst is worn down a little. I also changed the Blend Mode from Normal to Linear Burn to give it the darker effect. Blend Mode is always fun to play with. I also gave it a slight outer glow. The rest is just simple placement that, as usual, I took a few hours playing with. Fiddling with which way round everything should go until I found something I liked. Still not wholly keen on the font and I tried a lighter one but I think this one works better.

Resources are as follows –

Fonts from Fontspace: ‘Tweekd’ for the main font and ‘Imprint MT Shadow’ for the author.

Texture –

Sunburst Brush set –

Grundge Border –

Let me know what you think and if you have any horrible book covers you want redesigned!

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5 Responses

  1. Cole says:

    It looks great! I might have actually purchased the book if the cover looked like that.

  2. Heather says:

    I love the new cover! It’s a little more plain than I would normally like, but the texture and the sense of light are really awesome.

  3. Chiridawn says:

    Ah, that is so much better! One thing to note though, if the text was tweaked it’ll look even nicer (placement & possibly colour). I agree with your reasoning, often less is really more (in disguise).

  4. Hannah says:

    I am interested in knowing what makes text look good on book covers with pictures. Like, with many home-made book covers it seems like the text is what’s keeping it from actually looking professional. Is there a shadow? An outline? An underlay that sets it apart from the picture?

  5. beckiw says:

    I spent a good two hours playing with the font. I trawled through fontspace and tried so many different fonts and tried it in different colours. At one point I had a colour that was kind of a bright orangey yellow and then I did one where the outline of the font was a bright yellow and the inside of the font was a reddish orange. Oh man, it drove me mental lol When it got to 11:30pm and I had to be up by 6am…I decided to just give up and go for the lesser evil!

    I think usually what the problem is, Hannah, is that people just pick a font and plonk it on and leave it at that. That’s basically what you’re seeing on my cover. A font I found and just put on the cover. I usually try and play with the layer style a bit. Here you can give your font an outer glow or you can drop a shadow. Sometimes just dropping a shadow behind the font makes it look that much better. Also playing with the blend options like whether you colour dodge or screen or linear burn can all have an effect on how the font looks.

    Then sometimes it’s just about finding the right font. Sometimes you just come across a font and it just looks right. I assume that within the actual design industry, they make fonts for specific books or brands. The same way they’ll make a specific new colour on the colour wheel for brands/logos.

    But I don’t know all the trade secrets! lol So your guess is probably as good as mine. I sometimes find it hard to walk the line between trying to blend the font more into the background so it looks better but still making sure it’s visible enough to be seen if the cover were on a shelf.

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