Why is it so Difficult to Design Book Covers? – Final Critique, Young Guns 2 Ep. 10

July 25, 2019 posted by

so when we're designing I think it's important for us to know what that one word is if we can reduce down big idea into a smaller smaller until we are able just pull out the essence what is up everybody here we are at the book cover design challenge and we've already given the designers some feedback on their work Matthew has pitched in to also give some guidance and now we're gonna get into the critique so first up we have Maitreya and she's done three covers and to remind everybody what we're doing here is we're doing book covers for a classic literature and we want to make sure that there's a house style so there has to be unifying elements now a couple of things that we didn't talk about before but I want to make sure I communicate that to our audience today a book cover is an introduction and it's you giving visuals to stories this is what you're supposed to be doing and what you need to do is to make sure you represent the author the publisher and the audience well in this piece of communication it's how you interpret and translate what you've read so it's not about illustrating a scene from the book but touching upon the bigger themes so let's see how my Trey E and the other designers did so when Chris said that he can see this design system working I felt really relieved because you not only that my eyes Asian part was good but I think I can take the science to another level so the thing that I kept thinking about at that moment was how I can take it to another level and maybe add a few hints on the cover without giving away the spoilers of the books now I'm more confident about moving forward because now I have a clear vision on what I have to do I'm actually very excited to see how it turns out read you wanna walk us through your concept here yeah so I took three books that I really know because they have amazing storytelling storylines the Hobbit the Christmas Carol the Dracula has there are all fictional but they have amazing storylines so that's why many people gravitate towards it I wanted to try a minimalistic layered style illustration to convey the key elements of the story my thoughts here is I like I think your design system is very tight they all look very cohesive right if these were on the shelves I could see 20 or more of these all in the same one where you have the main character and some kind of landscape it seems like that's the reoccurring design system here I feel like the themes of the book aren't necessarily coming through I feel like this is very obvious in terms of here's the character here's the scene what else you know so for me as a viewer as we were looking at with an S the ciaz is like she has a very well-thought-out concept but she gave me too much whereas like if you just took away a few pieces and I think it might be a little bit more interesting and I'm feeling the same way here but where I'm having a challenge is like I'm not sure what the clear concept is outside of the design system the system is good but what is the concept for each of these covers like what is that little aha moment like what is the little magic trick this is fine this will work as a system and design system and even if this you try a bunch of stuff and you're like you know what this this is terrible I've gotten nowhere you could just present this and it will be fine and Chris will have things to say about this but I think there's a great opportunity to explore positive and negative and one example of that is let's see I think it's the Dark Knight poster if you're looking at this image we are at the base we're at the we're on the bottom of the city and you're looking up and you're seeing all these buildings crumble but as the buildings are crumbling the sky is actually creating the + symbol yeah so that's like one of those clever moments where they're combining something like the environment and they're playing with silhouettes – and playing with the positive and negative in a clever way so that could be how you're doing the teeth here for The Hobbit I'm gonna do my best to walk you through the thought process in terms of how I'm looking at the work the first thing is I'm just gonna pretend I don't know anything about this story and I'm going to read the images in terms of what I see so I'm gonna say that like I'm an idiot I'm just gonna tell you what I see so for Christmas Carol I see a clock tower some decrepit old look in the hand with some fingernails that are overgrown I see a crescent moon in the background or what I believe to be a crescent moon and a snowflake what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to look at this and it's a visual puzzle I'm trying to solve I'm wondering what the designers intent the creator's intent was and what they're trying to tell me there's an element of time perhaps a changing of seasons or at least winter I see the moon and maybe different phases and I'm not quite sure the hand why it's tied to the clock tower I'm not quite sure I think individually the components are pretty interesting together I'm not sure what it's saying I'm not sure all these components are adding up so when I'm searching for an idea and I can't figure it out after a certain period of time I just give up and I'm not sure I see it now we don't want to fall into the trap of well let's hear what the designers have to say because when you walk in a bookstore or were you browsing for books on Amazon sadly the designer can't be there to explain to every potential customer what is it they're thinking so design like typography is thought made visual and we have to kind of rely on what is made visual right now not what you say or what you're thinking or your intent even so that's why I don't spend too much time trying to listen to what people have to say to justify their design I hope that sparked something in you and in terms of how you think about book covers and how you can interpret the story and how you can combine different visual elements to communicate the story let's move on to the next person so I just saw the critic video yeah I think I screwed it up huh I actually concentrate more on objects than the concept and sometimes I feel that I've got the concept but then again I'm designing the objects and I discussed this thing with Matthew that's what made me actually aware of it hey I've been actually concentrating on objects than the concept and that shouldn't be it so I think that this is a big takeaway from me for me so the thing that I've learned being on this show is not to defend your designs that much that it turns into an ego and you don't learn anything from it this is such a challenging project that you can spend like once and days and hours on it and I definitely should have spent more time on concept and I think I'll keep doing it even if the challenge is over okay next up we have Annie and I want to look at her initial designs and also the improvements the revisions that she made after having talked to Matthew so this is the original design here her three books or The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger for hi 451 by Ray Bradbury and the stranger by Albert Camus so that made way check-in was so painful to watch I was obviously not prepared for that at all the concepts I created were so surface level compared to how much deeper I dove for the next part of the challenge I should always trust the process and never rush it because I definitely skipped a big step when creating concepts rode my three books and it definitely showed and Chris definitely saw I still don't feel like I quite nailed the designs that I created but I think they are a huge improvement from the first three concepts and ultimately I'm I'm pretty satisfied with the outcome but it can always be improved this was my Irish only wood board when I presented it to Chris I wanted to play with type and basically have the type be like a riddle to solve and kind of pin at what the theme and the story of the book is so if you click the next page this was like previous design that I presented and I realized after meeting Chris that there are very surface level designs and concepts they were getting somewhere but I didn't dive deep and I definitely had to like research more about what the main message and takeaway and themes were so when I look at your concepts I think there's a lot of thought that has gone behind at which you shared and this is interesting right so I think the two on the right the stranger and Fahrenheit 451 with the slight tweaks will probably work really well catcher in the right again I understand it conceptually but it's not obvious enough I don't know if there is anything from the book like is there some kind of object that represents the character or something that Holden uses or something is reoccurring in the book that might come into play here in a subtle way and I look at this there's this one example here on Pinterest where I love that cover because yeah it's like ducks but it's coming from his smoke and this is his imagination so you could tell because he's got like character there's a certain wonder just like when people look up at clouds and then they see shapes it's very similar I mean it could be like so I'm seeing all these things with Peter Pan and I know it's irrelevant in terms of seeing these kids fly but then it it brings me back to the cover we're looking at where he's smoking and then he sees the duck is there something with the typography or the typography is taking off I catch her in the Rye and then rye is like starting to float up in there or even the typography all of that Catcher in the Rye like it's a little dimensional and feels like it's floating off the page like that could be something interesting so I get to remember just one concept I had that I end up not doing I don't know if it's a good one though how do beginning our thinking just as a concept the catcher is like maybe colored in like really neatly and like I'm done with like very crisp and clean and then like say the other half like in the Rye is like just like a kid has like colored it and like it's like super messy it's out of the lines and and maybe colorful but just to show that compare like the contrast and comparison in contrast adults and children I don't know that there's like close is better than what I did but I was just worried like that might be super that might not go with the rest of the designs as so much so I didn't do it so but I okay now that's it's very strong concept the idea of coloring outside of the lines the interpretation here is there looks to be the typeface and the title the Catcher in the Rye and it's becoming undone or the threads are coming apart and the threads are turning into these I think ducks or geese or no it's ducks right ducks kind of flying and that that same stitching effect is used so from my understanding again thanks to my lovely assistant researcher Ricky editor Holden is a character who was in a psych ward and he's trying to remain young and it like a child like forever so I see that there's a split in his psyche his personality and so that's pretty cool and that the juxtaposition of the sans-serif typeface with this hand scrawled type is indicating a childlike innocence but I think there there might be another way to do this that doesn't feel so I hate to say this just aesthetically unappealing to me there's just something and maybe on purpose that's visually like feeling really off-balance but these kind of a hand end things when it's done with using digital tools really throw me off you're much better off writing this in pencil perhaps and then scanning that in and then trying to keep some of the texture the patina of the pencil mark itself and mixing those two so I think this is a good idea it's just not executed well but I like this idea this one I totally get the thinking in terms of like something unraveling here I think but the execution again Falls a little bit short for me so kudos to you for coming up with two interesting ideas on what I think are very difficult the idea is to communicate to people but in this instance here I would have loved it if you had actually taking taking the type and make it fall apart and illustrate that in a much more convincing way it does appear to me right now that you've taken the typeface and have filled in with lines and where it falls apart you just didn't fill it in as opposed to having it feel like the string itself could be pulled and it's coming apart I would have liked to have seen that so if you're talking about the Catcher in the Rye transferring from density from heavy to medium to light there's also a weighting issue here because you'll notice that the word in is heavier than the word thug and this thicker than that so there's some weird things going on here what you want to just remember is you're leaving clues for the audience to pick up and follow so we can see patterns 1 2 3 now you can predict the next number right so if you go thin medium thick to really thin I can't predict what's happening next so it would probably be a little bit more logical if it were thick medium thin and thinnest so I can see the progressions I know where it's going now let me illustrate this idea here so if you have the word rye at this part maybe this the string comes apart and these things so that this transfers over to the bird somehow so it gets thin and then it gets thicker as we go I'm not sure I don't I don't love that these birds feel almost too orderly I would like to see a little bit more asymmetry a symmetrical balance here you can probably put another bird up here three birds are probably enough anyways the idea is to take this maybe makes an unraveling or an organic way so that they're connected and it feels like it's being pulled apart what I like to do is to ask our audience between these three designs which do you prefer in terms of what she did last week or what she did this week so the Catcher in the Rye which one do you like old or new Fahrenheit 451 old or new and lastly the stranger old or new let us know in the comments below see if we agree or we can agree to disagree so I watched the critique and it seems that Chris didn't get any of my designs overall I feel really frustrated because my first midway check-in I was so embarrassing that I couldn't even tell Chris about the take away and so I had hoped that this time I would be able to proudly tell him how much research I did and how deep I dug into each of these books definitely the hardest part was a balancing the design so that it had just enough to hint what it was about but not too much where it was obvious and I told you the whole story if I were to do it again or ever had more time I would look into where that balance is for these cover designs huh I was really hoping that I was almost done with this book design project I don't know why I naively thought that I was just gonna show Chris these designs and he was just gonna be like oh yeah this is great just let's change the font and Melissa change the colors and maybe like try doing this but I felt like it was like you just need a new concept so I feel like I really did too much and I wish I would have shown Chris more sketches and maybe not done so much work I was really hoping that I would have liked but almost complete design so we could just focus on texture or like little small changes I really was not expecting that I just needed a new concept all together I'm definitely just feeling like I don't know anything if there's anything that I've learned from this whole experience it's just way harder than I thought it would be from coming up with an idea to creating them a dream to the typography I just kind of struggled with it all my confidence is dwindling it didn't start out very high but now it's definitely moving down next up we have Megan and she chose Jane Eyre the Yellow Wallpaper and the bell jar these are three books I know nothing about except for what Ricci has supplied me with and based on that we'll get to this okay first up let's just look at this and take it in there is it there is a consistent thing that's happening in all three images they do feel like they're part of a family there's some interesting typesetting going on and a color palette that unifies it so we've accomplished that I'm starting to realize how difficult this is for designers to design not only one book cover but to do three that especially this is not your forte it can be very daunting to do three conceptual images that's the bar I'm hoping for we just remind everybody we had said you know allowed to use photography unless you take it yourself and you you need to to make your own elements right so in this case this is Megan shooting herself and I thought she did a really great job great lighting and really just a strong silhouette and these are good profiles that she's building so good choice good eye on the photography there and the the theme is there are three elements placed over each woman's head to try to represent something from the story and so rather than me getting too deep into the conceptual part I'm going to talk about a little bit more about the formal qualities of what I'm seeing so here there's a birdcage and it looks like it's containing or trapping her thinking and so there's an idea there like that the Yellow Wallpaper which I understand is kind of pseudo or fantasy something strange surreal happening in the story and though the wallpaper has consumed her as if it's choking her or suffocating her and the last one is I guess this is kind of a jar this is called the bell jar it looks like a bell and it's a jar and usually these jars are used to protect something delicate it could be food or other items okay so there we are so there's an assumption here made about each one of these images okay here's an exercise let's try to switch gears and try to do this if you were to guess the idea of each one of these concepts as a one-word idea what would you guess so when we're designing I think it's important for us to know what that one word is if we can reduce down a big idea into a smaller or smaller until we are able just to pull out the essence Jane Eyre I think to me is about conforming to expectations of what society wants of women in a heavily patriarchal dominated society they're supposed to be prim and proper they're supposed to repress or suppress their own emotions and basically be a housewife or something like that that sounds to me like prison that sounds to me like a loss of freedom and a loss of self well perhaps also this idea that everybody fits into a very specific mold so in this instance here if we're gonna try to communicate that as a pure concept I might try to do something like desk you can take the same silhouette of a woman that's not a good drawing and what if we turn this into a mold or a cookie cutter made of steel and you can't see all of it but it's something like that and there's nothing there it's the loss of everything so in the shape here it's just darkness so you you you know you can buy these patterns to stamp out of dough and they're made of steel and they're an edge and so you can make a star or a circle or some other interesting shape what if it were like that and then you can put maybe your typeset inside and that could be your well cover so you're you can still continue with the theme of a strong female silhouette or profile but to maybe push it on what the interpretation is for each one the reason why I say this is because sometimes the shape is enough for you to work with think of the Absolut Vodka campaign which is really built around the shape of the bottle and it's probably one of the longest-running advertising campaigns in the history of advertising and that they're able to do so much with just the silhouette so this is where I'm I want to push you to see if you can think of other ideas like that the reason why I don't love these from a pure concept is it seems pretty easy to put something over something else for me finding that harmony between the shape and some other symbol is really where the magic is overall nice design extra points for you taking the photograph and going through the extra step and that's it for this I actually feel really good about this critique I think that Chris liked the design which is the first for me I know in the package design challenge a lot of people said that Chris was too harsh and his critique and I think in this when people are gonna say he was too easy on us so he truly cannot win Chris I think overall I relied a little bit too much on photography and it wasn't from a lack of trying I really did try to illustrate a bunch of different concepts and my illustration skills and my rendering skills just aren't quite there so a lot of ideas that I had like using a silhouette they just looked a little cheesy to me or they didn't communicate the overall mood that I really wanted to convey with each of my book covers but I think that I really need to push myself conceptually like each critique that we received from Chris I think that's the lesson is just to push things a little bit further and reduce your ideas to something really concise and save the most with the least okay next up we have Anna's Lesya and she also has had two designs submitted or two sets of book designs I feel like they have a lot to think about and I have and I feel like I have a good understanding of what I need to do but I also feel nervous because what I need to do is very hard it didn't go as expect it no because I didn't think that my ideas would make so little sense to Chris but now I'm gonna think about it the only reason they made sense to me is because they remind and then when Chris started talking about my references I realized that my designs were lower as obvious or as clever as those what's left for me to do is basically everything because I need to spend a lot of time with my designs but I'd only be Precious about them and you know I need one good idea if you could present for us the idea so what's your concept and then how did you get there explain a little bit so than the design decisions that you made so my idea was from the beginning to use typography as as you know my way to communicate the message and when I was presented with Chris the last time the feedback that I got was that I didn't really communicate anything from the book I just sort of made layouts and in my head that wasn't the case then when I looked back at what I did I realized that of course he was right so for this round of revision I tried to sort of incorporate some of the actual things from the book and tried to use typography to communicate some message from the book my main critique for all three of your cover designs is that I feel like it might be getting a little too obvious I love the subtlety and nuances that you have in the story so how would you take these three covers and peel it back and make it simplify it even more because I know Chris wanted for you guys to explore some stuff that is more minimal into design and I think where this can really shine and be very powerful is if you could reduce it down like two or three more steps or it's just bare minimum that you have there to communicate the major themes anna karenina I don't know how to say that guys so forgive me by Leo Tolstoy and then great expectations from Charles Dickens and don't tell you have ski crime and punishment I hope I said that right crime and punishment okay so so these are very graphic these are actually really nice simple executions I don't get the big idea but purely from a graphic point of view your first two designs honest Asiya are really solid the last one probably needs some work it doesn't feel like it belongs with these first two now let's look at what you did follow the week with your revisions so I want to point out here that I appreciate the amount of change that's happened in one week that you're willing to try new ideas new forms of execution and all of a sudden even though I didn't know this I guess this is through your conversation with Matthew the book covers got a lot more sophisticated so we're talking about appealing to different markets maybe we were to take Ana's story let me cover this up so we can focus on that if we're looking at these two book coverage you can say one appeals to a certain demographic the other one appeals to a very different demographic and probably just the vibe is this is more serious and there's an element of something that's being deep focused so photography is introduced into this and I think it adds a certain richness to it I like the graphic beauty of the first set I also like the sophistication of the second set and the addition of element photography element and the rendering of it starts to make it feel a little bit more appropriate for what these books are and in both instances they do feel like a family this one's starting to feel a little foreign to me I don't know why and so let's get into these two things so the same idea is carried over here it's just we're changing the execution is all I don't think the concept is different I just think the aesthetics are different and that's it this one feels different to me than this because there seems to be something about walls in a barrier versus this which is something is burning and I think at the end of the book we're talking about ideas of fire and stars fire I think represents the blacksmith and just working-class people and the Stars being the girl he's always pine for and kind of out of reach but upper-class society I think it looks like you actually burn something to create this which is pretty cool the letter forms are getting slightly degraded so this is where you might want to photoshop back in a little bit of the letter forms and kind of manipulate it a little bit and and that's it I would love to see like an edge that's kind of dark and black and crusty that's sharp generally speaking when you have blurry bits like this it's nice to have some sharp areas for contrast and it makes the blurry burn bits even stronger overall good job I like seeing the exploration you've done from taking it potentially from one kind of style to totally different style next up we have Monica's work and Monica was only able to complete two book covers ah not good again but we'll get beyond that okay life happens and I'm sure other things are happening in her life but one point that out we move on so Monica chose Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare of course and Herman Melville Moby Dick so let's take a look at these two from a design point of view they do feel like we belong in the same family these are low contrast pastel II designs which make them feel connected but the same time they're gonna disappear they're gonna disappear on the bookshelf and you want to have some contrast there and how can you do that make sure you have white and black in your design so if you just took one of the characters the silhouette one element and put a little bit of block in there I think it would give it the kind of contrast and a bite that we need design needs to jump off at off the shelf so that you can see it and you can take notice of it now I'm gonna take a step back like what am I seeing here and and the way that you presented this allows me to see the front the spine and the back so I figure there must be some kind of story where I see the cover I go to the back and it creates some kind of story that would have been a really interesting execution because two families are pulled apart think about that two families are pulled apart because of the hatred towards each other so you can actually use the book itself in the way that it opens to tell a story what do I mean by that so I'm going to draw a now next to this okay how can we do that okay so if you have a book cover looks like this if we design it that it opens I'm wondering if there's an embrace or a hand that gets torn apart and if you see it cover-to-cover and that action may I mean I may or may not make sense let's say this is an arm and there's a hand here and let's just say that that's Romeo's Han and his costume whatever it is and then we had Juliet dress in her hand star-crossed lovers that they are and so when you close the book we're not quite sure what's happening but when we when we look at it from the opposite of the spine side the page where the page is open we can see the two hands and we pull it apart the story begins so that might be an idea where you actually use the form of the book itself to communicate an idea outside of that I'm not getting a lot of design element or concept in here I'm seeing here that Romeo is holding a rose and so is Juliet and it reminds me of this poster let me see if I can find it for you that I saw for beauty and abuse let me how do I open this all the way up okay so buting the beast this is a beautiful design and I'll tell you why if you look at this design you can see that on first glance it's a rose and we've seen thousands of roses and roses for a lot of people communicate romantic relationship you don't send a rose to your grandmother that's kind of weird alright so it implies that what you see here which is really beautifully done one of the coolest concepts I've seen is one of the petals of the rose there's a shape that's missing out of it and it's silhouette of the beast with his horn and his beard and his nose and in the silhouette or I'm sorry in the petals that's also kind of bent backwards we also see Belle's face beauty and it's really really cool so some people only see the rose some people only see the Beast and then some people only see beauty but some people see all of it and it's kind of nice that the deeper you go the more you're rewarded so when we talk about a visual puzzle that's what I'm talking about that as I dive deeper like oh that's ah and it creates a feeling your mind that aha moment the lightbulb goes off and you're thinking really smart concept really smart here I'm diving deeper and deeper and I don't see anything I don't know that there's anything more to know than what I see here and there's some weird shape here I don't know what those shapes are what they represent Ricky's telling me not that there's two skulls stacked upside down and the flip but the contrast is so low in them that I can barely see it I'm not sure how many people would have the patience to stare at this and try to decipher it and figure it out maybe that's on purpose that you don't really want to communicate to everybody that fast that there's death involved even though the story of Romeo and Juliet is pretty well known when I talk about finding the elegant overlap this is not exactly what I'm talking about I think of the two covers that you made the second one for Moby Dick is more successful than the first I would have loved to see how far you could have pushed this and what you could have come up with that's all I have for you thanks for doing this I'm a bit confused about the critique as it was quite subjective which I was really surprised about since the books are well known I made the concepts quite easy to understand Romeo and Juliet is all about separation separation of Emily separation eventually by death and this concept is emphasized by the spine of the book separating both characters however the only remaining element that connects both of them is the Rose which is a symbol of love I personally cannot understand the hand concept the crease ketched because I see no story in there which he did require and I have the real confused if I saw it on the shelf as for Moby Dick it is a story about obsession the sailor's obsession with the whale and this is what I focused on I had no interest in adding a boat her pool and net maybe crew members simply because it's not the boat that mattered the boat a simpler tool had the story happened on land I doubt that anyone would consider adding a car so I felt frustrated because I really wanted to do better that being said I also know that learning and going through that curve that's just part of the process and it's something that I signed up for I think I was definitely kind of jumbled up when it came to process but yeah I think all of its me feedback was really helpful and I didn't really disagree with any of it so since I last book with Chris and we reviewed the designs that I presented I've pretty much trashed all of the design work that I did the only thing that stayed was the choice of books like everything changed I did a lot more sketching and yeah I pretty much just didn't look back because I felt like trying to save the designs that I had presented felt pointless because clearly they did not work okay last but not least we have RIA and she's chosen Romeo and Juliet Pride and Prejudice and Lolita first off let's talk about the design I like the graphic simplicity and use of patterns and this what do we call this hot pink it's a really nice color and it's unexpected and it's been it's used very judiciously throughout this redesign so you don't tire of it and I also think presenting your books mostly white books on that hot pink background really allows the book covers to jump and pop imagine if she just presented us on white maybe some of my feelings towards the contrast and the visual punch of this has might have been totally different I can't because now I've seen it I'm pink and it's a good way to present so tip and a note for all of you guys sometimes the design lacks contrast put contrast in the background and that will help you I think there's something funny and quirky about the way you draw that I think is a very unique style all your own and so I like it some things I like drawing better than others where it feels like it's your style and some things less so when you draw the hands here for some reason the you chose to do very straight lines for the fingers where everything else has kind of a funky chunky little thing and I would encourage to do that that would make it more consistent with what else you're doing here I'm not sure if there's anything else to say about this this is a really interesting form the proportion of the head is very large to the neck and the body he hardly has any neck but I did I'm just feeling it's a good style this is it for the book cover design challenge I hope you enjoyed it I hope also that you tried your hand and designing some book covers I'll learn some new things that's it and see you next time oh okay we just finished reviewing everybody's work and then I realized we have to announce a winner and so I'm going to summarize some of my thoughts based on some of the designs that were submitted okay I think for peer graphic power and visual punch I'm gonna say Rhea has this and there's a graphic power and it's mostly because of use of color and shape and pattern it's really solid so when it comes to to conceptual thinking I think it's a split between honest osseous work and Annie's work and for different reasons they're trying different things and unfortunately or fortunately I much prefer Annie's original design with the exception of this first design here they're not perfect but they're really powerful graphic and as a designer myself these designs appeal to me a lot and I can see that there's an idea that's being worked on and it's trying to tell me something perhaps if I knew more about the stories myself then that would totally make sense but that we don't get that benefit we get to look at these things as the average person does not having read the book and what it tells us is what's really important okay with the exception of Catcher in the Rye which I think has all kinds of funkiness working on nice idea just not really the great execution and in with – to see us work the the mix of symbols and treatment it's it's a good variety of things I think for me probably the weakest one is probably Crime and Punishment I'm still trying to figure out the idea there it's a complicated story salvation through confession dealing with guilt and murder I think there's a lot more we could have done with this that you could have communicated versus I think the whole prison idea I kid it makes sense crime and punishment but there's got to be a little bit more because most the times it seems like he's wrestling with his own guilt okay now I have the difficult task of walking away and thinking about what's going to win should it be the graphic power should it be the combination of design and thinking or thinking and how sophisticated it looks this episode the winner is everybody that's submitted I'm just kidding Riki which would you pick should we call Matthew in here yeah let's do see okay whoo this one is a tough one I had a call back up in the form of Matthew and seen it he came in like a whirlwind gave us his two cents and shockingly almost everything he said lined up with just what we had been talking about just in a much more condensed version okay so without further ado this week hate to do this but I have to pick one person is honest Asiya congratulations congratulations I'm completely shocked that I won I did not expect it at all I thought Andy was gonna win because she had really strong concepts from what I saw and I just I'm so surprised and I don't think I deserved this to be honest and in general I think I pushed myself a lot more into the direction of concepts that I usually do and I know I haven't presented do that with crime and punishment and I know people will be saying that it's too obvious and I know but I think I did it a little bit with great expectations in general I enjoyed this challenge so much and I went looking at my very first concepts and comparing them to what I what I submitted as final I think I made a pretty good progress so I think that's the most important thing let us know in the comments below if you agree or disagree should any of one and have had any stuck with her or two original design and just resolve this that would have been the trifecta but something happened between last week and this week I appreciate the effort Annie I always appreciate people trying new ideas and letting go of their old ideas who's to say where you went wrong it could be that you talk to Matthew and see now I'm not sure I'm that short right and also with reiha with the presentation really great style I would encourage you in the future to continue exploring this and making your own thing you could be the this generation Saul Bass in terms of you illustration style and it could be wonderful but that's it for us on this episode of young guns season 2 the book cover design challenge see you next time I just want to give a shout out to Sony who sent us a bunch of cameras so that the quality of the videos that we're going to be producing are going to be amazing Thank You Sony so in my recent videos you had somebody ask you a question about how to get a job in a new city and you said don't email them DM them so my question is how to go how do you go from hey I like your work – I want to work for you how does this transition go in like when you message this person or this studio that you like


31 Replies to “Why is it so Difficult to Design Book Covers? – Final Critique, Young Guns 2 Ep. 10”

  1. The Futur says:

    ⏳📺 Catch up on the entire Young Guns Series here: http://bit.ly/2GokttL

  2. Kriszti32 says:

    These young guns series with the critics are the best I think. I can learn a lot from it. Keep up the good work guys!

  3. fastfutureforward by Christine Weiss says:

    36:27 it's so interesting for me to listen to all those young designers given my background in anglistics, the study of english language, cultural studies, literally studies where we had to analyse so many books and do lots of interpretations of all the english literature:))))

  4. fastfutureforward by Christine Weiss says:

    again, I'm not a designer BUT this is soooo amazing. cause Chris and his team show exactely how to open a mind, how to make it fly and explore. each profession has it's own language and layers. language isn't just words made of letters, language is history, concepts, theories, prefixes, suffixes, language shifts, code switching and sooooo much more so as each profession is sooooo much more than you see on the surface. design as all other professions where you want to get to a deep understanding need to be understood and explored in many different ways, seen from many different perspectives cause design isn't just a logo, a book cover ……….

  5. Simone Blax says:

    11:33 Anyone saw the spiderman? 😂

  6. salah sadeq says:

    I have to agree with Monika. The designs told a good story and the execution is great. I was surprised by Chris' feedback too.

  7. HXT Sauce Brand Design says:

    I'm noticing you guys are spending a lot of time designing and not enough time ideating. Should be spending as little time possible on the box. The design is the easy part. The idea should take some more time.

  8. Joe Casillas says:

    Man… I remember way back doing a project like that in college. It’s not that easy to do a book cover. So, ladies… awesome job! Question, were we missing a designer? Did someone got cut from the design team?

  9. HXT Sauce Brand Design says:

    I loved the Cathcer + Rye with the hand drawn slice. It looked great. Chris is trippen!

  10. Caleb Ong says:

    32:10 that subtle epic background music with serious dialogues of design critique LOL

  11. Cuban Nerd says:

    Designing book covers for novels is hard. It requires a lot of conceptual thinking and being subtle. They did a pretty good job. I feel like great book design comes with experience and also being a literature fan helps.

  12. Veronica Eriksson says:

    I disagree with your way of judging the covers. In my opinion, a book cover is just supposed to catch attention. A great cover will not make the reader understand the themes of the book at first glance, but rather present a mystery that the reader will figure out by the time they're done

  13. Michaela Arvidsson says:

    Meghan, I loved your final designs! so appealing! And Anastasia, well deserved winner! I was so impressed by your creative work with photography. I would love to see more of this style from you! The real painting, and burning of a paper… Just wow! Inspiring!

  14. Sam says:

    i think Chris had a hard time picking a winner cuz they were all pretty bland🤷

  15. Holly Dunn Design says:

    Very interesting critique! It will definitely make me look more critically at my own book design portfolio.

    That said, one thing that wasn't touched on in this is the importance of bold typography on book covers. So many books are purchased online these days, so having a bold title is super important. I know the emphasis was on conceptual thinking, which is great, but many of the designs would struggle to stand out in today's book market because the titles aren't that big or bold. While the conceptual stuff is fantastic, I think it's important to consider the designs from a market point of view as well, if not more so.

    Nonetheless, great video! Thank you for all that you do. And what a wonderful bunch of designers!

  16. vin karume says:

    It would've been interesting if the dragon and the gang were facing the same direction. Imminent confluence

  17. den-yim moli says:

    Ria – Book cover designers read the book to be able to get the idea of how to interpret the book in imagery. I am pretty sure Romeo & Juliet is a tragic love story and not a murder scene. Pride & Prejudice is unrequited love. Lolita, is about taboo and obsession, not a man in the van. Again, this is from a book reader's point of view.

  18. den-yim moli says:

    Anastasia – the second round edits were ok… Crime and Punishment is the best of it. The 3rd set of designs with the white backgrounds were one theme BUT murdering the title of Great Expectations for emphasis is a bad move. It looks like a self-help book on "Great, Great, Great, Great, Expectations". Shadowing the word 'Great' to make it look like being "echoed" would have worked.

  19. den-yim moli says:

    Meghan 2nd round edits would be books that is interesting enough to pick up and purchase – The shape of the woman in The Yellow Wallpaper isn't noticeable and is like an Easter egg of the cover.

  20. den-yim moli says:

    The Catcher on the Rye (NEW) cover reminds me of the Jonathan Livingston Seagull book – only in black. Just saying. Fahrenheit 451 (NEW), looks better than the old one but lacks oomph. The Stranger (OLD) but not interesting enough despite the interesting flipped type.

    p.s. I am a fan of Chip Kidd and I find this episode (and comment section) very interesting.

  21. den-yim moli says:

    As a bibliophile, a striking imagery that jumps out at me makes me pick up the book. I don't have to solve the 'puzzle' on the cover, but I would like to be drawn and curious enough to get the book home.

  22. Paul Heath says:

    This was a clever mission for the designers. Novel covers are tough! and In the same ballpark as wine labels or perfume ads.. because you're trying to communicate something which is intangible and almost impossible to convey through a single sense in a short space of time.

  23. seif alden says:

    thanks for this awesome episode I hope you gonna respond to my comment and did not get killed by my long comment.

    keep it up…

  24. seif alden says:

    I just talked about RIA because before I hear your critique in every single design I pause the video and critique it first and then listen to you and see where the point I messed it but in Romeo and Juliet cover from RIA I think I have a point here so I hope that you will give me your feedback and share your thoughts why you didn't talk about it.
    thanks for this awesome episode I hope you gonna reason to my comment and did not get killed by my long comment.
    keep it up…

  25. seif alden says:

    I totally agree with you except the Romeo and Juliet cover from RIA, she's done a really good job but with 2 swords I'm not quite sure when you see it if you don't know anything about the book the swords will tell you something about war and take you away from the original story.
    I don't know if what I'm talking about it is right or got it but

    I really hope that you will see it and give me feedback. thanks this episode was helpful.

  26. jukestaposition says:

    Anastasia's well deserved! I like her experimentations

  27. Corgi Kun says:

    35:36 I analysed her micro expressions. This girl has troubles with critique, as she even says is subjective and surprised about. She shows disgust at Chris's concept and pomposity all throughout. I just wish she could do better at design so she can be in this series more often. It's because it's rare and entertaining to find such hideous people

  28. Romal Jay says:

    The feedback felt too heavily edited down. I feel like the audience would really appreciate seeing all of the feedback rather than cutting down for the sake of time.

  29. helldeirch says:

    I hope Annie continues doing her cute style of design, if she truly masters that, she'll have a great career because clients will come to her knowing they want that style

  30. Kushagra Singh says:

    These videos feel so shaggy compared to season 1 :/

  31. AlternativeTrailers says:

    What an amazing series! I gotta add though, the train tracks for Anna Karenina is not a very good choice IMHO. Imagine a book about Abraham Lincoln having only a gun, by which he was killed, on its cover.

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