Thursday 1 April 2021

Critique Corner - March

Welcome to our Discovering Diamonds feature, Critique Corner, where our cover design experts volunteer kind, expert, and constructive critiques to help our readers make the most of their cover designs. Since Discovering Diamonds began in 2017, Cathy Helms of and Tamian Wood of have been co-judging the monthly cover design competition for the site. And since their selected designs have been so well received, they would like to share with all the #DDRev's fans and followers, some pearls of wisdom from their combined 40 years in the cover design business - so, over to Cathy and Tamian...
This month we have a cover submitted by Diane Byington:

Thanks for sharing your cover Diane! We appreciate your participation.

Tamian's response:

I have to say, there's not a lot I can pick at on this cover. It's clearly well done. The font choices are clean and classic, there's a pure and simple concept, it's not busy or cluttered and it has good contrast. If I had to guess, I'd say this was professionally designed, and not a DIY. 

My only nitpick would be that I'm not seeing anything that places it in the '60s on this cover. Perhaps had there been some kind of psychedelic graffiti/peace sign, or some other iconic '60s symbol on the shoe, (a daisy flower maybe?), it might have given that hint. All in all though, It's quite lovely and inviting. Nice work.

Cathy? What say you?

Cathy’s Response:

A nice, clean and balanced cover design! Typography is easy to read and well placed. I like how the title fits nicely inside the shoelaces where they are laying on the background.

Without looking up the title on Amazon, I would guess that this is a modern mystery. But I see that the genre listed is Historical Fiction. The shoes do look as if they might be from the 1970’s or 1980’s? But they are not immediately placing me in the past, if that makes sense? I’d like to see some other detail that would clearly place this novel in the correct period so potential readers would know what to expect overall. That could simply be done by using a period font for the title as I would hate to change anything about the overall design. While the font chosen for this cover (possibly Sabon or Garamond font families) is used quite often on historical, classical covers, I still feel that we need something else in this design to nail the correct period for this novel.

Also a suggestion: one of the top details in book cover design trending now is allowing some part or element of the background/artwork to intersect with the title letters. So, I would have let the shoelace interweave or lay over the title to give the cover a more three-dimensional feel which is so popular in publishing right now.

Below is a quick and dirty edit of that shoestring to illustrate what I am describing:

Overall, this is a well-crafted book cover design. Good job!

We do hope that our readers might pick up on a few tidbits of good design points while reading our commentary. And again, we thank our volunteer authors for willingly submitting their book covers for a free and no-strings-attached constructive critique of their designs. 

Until next time, be safe and be well!

Anyone wishing to submit their cover for our two graphic designers to critique, please contact either designer directly:

Tamian at

Cathy at

Due to their schedules, future critiques will be posted here once a month on  the day following the Cover and Book of the Month announcement (i.e the end of each month)  and often re-shared on Tamian and Cathy's individual blogs. as long as we have enough submissions.

Discovering Diamonds will not always be able to review the book selected for a cover critique and cannot, therefore, guarantee the quality of the text narrative.

Copyright Disclaimer

The Fair Use Doctrine of copyright law states that there is no copyright violation when a necessary portion of a work is presented as part of commentary or criticism of that work. Copyright restrictions on a book cover are further weakened by the fact that a cover is meant for exposure and advertising; while this is a critique article, the book covers and authors are still receiving exposure for potential new readers. The bottom line is that we, the designers offering free design critiques, are not liable for how any of the suggestions discussed in this blog may be used, interpreted or incorporated in published works. We have offered our help with no strings attached – use any of our suggestions at your own risk.

We will always supply a direct link to Amazon whom the authors/publishers have authorized to promote and sell the books we display on this blog. It is ultimately our goal to help authors better present and market their books – our area of expertise being design and marketing. However, we offer our professional input solely for the betterment of the authors who have willingly submitted their published book covers for our review. We do not accept any monetary compensation for the review.

Views Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this blog entry are not necessarily held by Discovering Diamonds or any of its affiliated members. The opinions expressed in Critique Corner, while given by both formally educated and experienced graphic designers, are still open to interpretation by the best of those in the publishing business.

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