Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds
© Marian Thorpe
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The lovely manor house and clothing of the female figure definitely put us right in the historical fiction genre, for sure. But I'd have to say, this one could use a bit of polish.
If I were designing this, I'd bring the image of the house down a bit and add more sky to allow more room for the title to be split on to at least two, possibly three lines. It would have the added bonus of cropping out the tree stump in the foreground. (Some good photoshop skills could get rid of that too) Unless it is a feature in the story, it's just distracting.
I would probably choose a less bold version of the font for the sub title. It's not fighting for attention with a busy background, so a more delicate font would feel less clunky. Also, I'm not sure the quotation marks are necessary. I might also choose a different font altogether for the author name. But KUDOS for being bold and letting it take up some space.
The character does definitely catch the eye, but is most surely a cut and paste that is not blended well into the scene. When I zoom in, I can see the building through her chin and hat. And the lighting doesn't match. Clearly the building light source is a fairly strong light from the upper right. On the girl, at least her face, the lighting is from the lower right. But the thing that strikes me most is how, curiously, her face is a bright orange, while her arm seems more of a normal skin tone. Just evening out that discrepancy would go a long way to improving this cover.
Cathy? What say you?
Overall, this cover design immediately sells the reader that this is a historical fiction novel. Both the title and the quote on the cover hint at a potential historical romance novel as well.
The background image of the estate is a good solid photo that also works overall – but my eye keeps going to the tree stump in the foreground. On one hand, I wonder if the tree stump ties into the story somehow, does it? But if on the other hand, it does not, then I think it simply needs to be edited out as it is a distraction. We have three elements in this design: the manor house, the lady and the tree stump. I would recommend narrowing that down to just the lady and the house. Those two elements are more than enough to sell this cover.
What I would suggest is blending in a more dramatic sky over the manor house and bringing the house image down to the horizontal center of the cover. The lady could be much larger and shifted over to the left side of the layout. And with a little more detailed design work on her, she can better blend into the layout. I see some issues with the edges of her dress, hat and gloved hands not being clipped out of her original background quite cleanly enough. And I suspect there are a few smudges of white left over from her original background that are floating over the dark grass to her right. And her skin tone needs to be balanced – her face is almost orange while her exposed arm is quite pale in color. We have a very bright sunny day on the manor house yet our lady seems to be in more diffused lighting. I would balance that out so the entire design is equally sunlit.
The typography, with a little editing and font choices, could have better impact as well. If the manor house is shifted down a bit, then I would stack the title and increase the point size of the letters to fill the top portion of the cover. White is commonly used by non-designers for their text – so to help give this cover a more professional feel, I would use one of the colors out of the bricks of the house or a blush color, or a dark color. The author’s name would be better balanced centered across the bottom, but the font is fine – perhaps not in italics though. The quote – if this is simply the sub-title for the book, I’d recommend not using the quotations at all. And I would place it closer to the title, not in italics, but perhaps all caps.
I hacked up the background enough so that I could play around with the typography placement to better demonstrate what I am suggesting:
I hope that helps. The cover has good elements in it, so with a little extra design work, it could have more impact – especially at thumbnail size.
Discovering Diamonds will be reviewing this title on 9th August