A blog or website by the graphics and layout?
A book cover, blog or website home page are often our initial point of contact. Although we know better than to judge on appearance only, it's tempting to do so sometimes.
What draws or brings us to a cover or site?
A familiar writer or author? Catchy title? Bold image? Beautiful illustrations? Interesting subject? Striking scenery? A recommendation? Research? Curiosity?
The answer varies of course, as all of the above may have applied at some point. We've different tastes and interests, and what draws one may not draw another. Our views are subjective, and we associate topics with life experience, expectations, and worldview. When images and impressions are contrary to expectations they can put us off or intrigue us.
With this in mind, how do we know what will draw readers? Design choices are endless, and especially difficult for the artistically challenged. How does a writer choose images for a blog or site, or the right words for a post title, or an author choose a cover (when they have a say in the selection)? We only get one chance to make a first impression. How can we put our best foot forward?
It helps to consider the following:
- Target audience
- Is the image clean and crisp?
- Is it pleasing to the eye?
- How is the flow of the cover or site, is it too busy or cluttered?
- If a title, what keywords can be utilized to grab readers' attention?
- Enlist help from a graphic designer or artist.
- Ask for input from friends, family, and colleagues.
- View covers, images, or titles for similar books, topics, or sites - don't copy, just observe what works, what doesn't.
Consider also this advice from graphic designer David Lange. When asked what first came to mind in regard to a good cover he replied, "Having a strong, compelling image or graphic."
(Yes, he is my son, and here is his website. Shameless plug over. :)
Have you judged a book by its cover lately? A blog or site by its design? What draws you to a cover?
The cover above is for my next book, due out this fall. :)