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I’ve heard a few things lately about book covers and stock photos that have been bothering me. First, let’s go into a primer of how stock photos work with regard to book covers.

How Stock Photography Works from the Photographer’s Perspective

When a photographer takes photo sessions of a model (or a landscape), they add keywords to each photo they wish to sell. A given photographer may have relationships with as many as 15 or 20 different stock photo agencies, but not all photos may be uploaded to all agencies. Each agency has different audiences and different plans.

Let’s take this photo as an example. Here it is on another site.

Some stock photo sites list how many times a photo’s been sold, but that’s only how many times it’s been sold on that one site. A cover artist (or an indie author doing their own cover) may pick a photo that has relatively few sales on one site and believe they’re picking something that’s not overly popular. But that same photo may be significantly more popular on other sites.

Also, the same photo may be used for completely unrelated purposes. Like buying a new car and suddenly seeing that car all around you, buying cover art has the same perils. A photo I bought for a book cover has also been used in a Korean cosmetics ad. Not all those image uses will be to a given stock photo purchaser’s taste, so unless one wants an exclusive cover shoot for many, many times the cost of a stock photo, one’s just going to have to put up with the fact that this photo may be used in very different contexts, also with the photographer’s permission.

As a final point, within traditional publishing, covers get re-used all the time. Even covers designed to illustrate a particular book get reused, just with different text.

If You Are an Author

Unless you paid for a photo shoot and exclusive rights to all photos taken in that photo shoot, do not contact another author whose cover uses the same photo (or a photo from the same shoot) accusing them of copying/stealing your cover.

If you did pay for that photo shoot, you might want to contact your photographer first in case there was some kind of miscommunication…before engaging with another author.

If You Are a Reader

Do Not criticize an author, either publicly or privately, for using the same cover photo as another author. If the author you’re trying to support said that they had an exclusive shoot, then contact the author who you think was hurt. Let the author make that call.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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nepal earthquake relief

I’m one of 474 Creative Market shops donating some or all of their shop proceeds for the Month of May to Nepal earthquake relief efforts. Creative Market will match shopowners up to $20,000. I’m donating 50%.

Here is the announcement and a list of participating shops:

Throughout the month of May, participating Creative Market shops will donate up to 100% of their earnings to Nepal disaster relief. And in partnership with the Autodesk Foundation, we’ll also match the first $20,000! These funds will be sent to All Hands, a non-profit organization that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. So purchase great design assets, and join us in our efforts to help Nepal.

Together, we can make a difference.

At this point, I only have one product in my shop grunge textures photographed off the front of an M60 Sherman tank. It sells for $7, my usual royalty is 70% ($4.90), so half of that ($2.45) will be going to All Hands for each sale.

If that’s not your thing, and you buy some other participating store’s products by starting at this link, you’ll help both Nepal relief and me.

Thank you!

(Note: I did previously post this on my desamo.graphics blog, but the way the two blogs propagate to third parties is different.)

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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P1070897

Even if you’re not selling something directly, these may help you. It’s related to a few comments I’ve gotten about this post.

  1. Sites that load faster get higher search engine rankings.

    There are a few things you can do to improve load time. Specifically:

    • If you don’t need PNG’s transparency, use a JPEG.
    • If you want to produce retina graphics without significant pain, save a double-size image at a low JPEG quality. Usually a 30% quality JPEG is smaller than a high-quality JPEG or PNG that’s half the resolution.
    • Use a WordPress (or whatever) theme that is optimized for load time. For WordPress, that’s StudioPress’s Genesis, which was developed by CopyBlogger. The entire point of their themes is to provide a quick-loading site highly optimized for making Google ad revenue.
  2. Don’t bother with a slider. Or, if you do, it shouldn’t take up most of the vertical part of the front page. Notice that Amazon’s doesn’t. I was going to praise Creative Market’s use of sliders in categories—only to discover that they’d eliminated them.

    Why not bother? Because anything that takes more time to load, as sliders typically do, means that the most important part of your page is blank while the client’s browser is waiting for the information to render it.

    You may have a great internet connection, but you can’t expect everyone looking at your page to.

  3. Put the most important items above the fold because people will spend four times more time above the fold. Not all people are willing to scroll, especially if the page takes time.

    If you’re a publisher, new titles, preferably all the newest titles, should go above the fold. If you can’t make that work, put the titles you expect to be bigger first.

  4. When adding colors to your site, remember that some people are colorblind, and not just in the ways you expect. Take a snapshot of your site and desaturate it. Can you still see the differences?

  5. Aging eyes need higher contrast. Is your content sufficiently high enough in contrast to be read by them? Also, reduce contrast for less essential elements (I de-emphasize meta information about a post such as categories, tags, and date and time.)

  6. There is a sharp divide between the links should be underlined people and the underlining makes links less readable people. I’ve previously used underlines (or a dotted border) on hover, but I’m a no-underline person. Just: be consistent, whatever you pick. These days, you could use a much less intrusive method like:

    a:hover { border-bottom: 1px thin dotted #bbb;
      border-bottom: 1px thin dotted rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.25);}

If You’re an Author, What’s Your Number One Design Goal?

I’ll let Tim Grahl of Out:think Group take this one.

Your #1 goal in building out your website, and in everything you do to market your books online, is to grow your email list.

Here’s Tim’s post about building an author site in an hour.

(Yes, really, I’ve done it in an hour.)

People Spend More Time on the Left than on the Right of Your Page

This assumes left-to-right reading, so those of you with Hebrew or Arabic pages should reverse this.

For this reason, I personally dislike putting sidebars on the left.

However, if you’re going to put a sidebar on the left, then at the top is where your email signup form should go.

People Read in an F shape

Mostly headlines, spending less time on content.

So, use headlines in your posts. If you enable Markdown on your WordPress site (it’s a Jetpack plugin feature, and you absolutely should be using Jetpack): ## at the beginning of a line is an h2, ### is an h3. Easy peasy.

(I published this post accidentally, so I guess I’m done. Anyone want to read up on how SEO-optimized sites, making $ off Google ads, work theory-wise? I find it fascinating, even if it’s not my cuppa to produce them.)

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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My first product in my Creative Market Shop

I’m a huge fan of Creative Market. When I started to have items I wanted to sell, I applied for a shop there. I’ve been on a waiting list for a Creative Market shop for a really long time. Probably at least 8 months.

My first product is ready, too!

Last week, I got word that it was finally ready, which meant getting a ton of things done:

  1. Setting up e-commerce on desamo.graphics.
  2. Setting up a separate email list for desamo.graphics. Which I may have forgotten to complete. Ah well.
  3. Removing some of the suck from (you guessed it).
  4. Creating a header for my Creative Market site. (Shown below.)
  5. Fixing up a product that I’d thrown up on Gumroad a few months ago (and only two people looked at it, ever).

I’ve been working on everything I needed to do for several days, including re-tweaking the CSS on the site and re-generating all the image thumbnails until I was happy with them, and changing the site from the girly pink to a less girly mint—which has the added benefit of receding into the background, as cool colors are wont to do.

Here’s the facebook edition of my new shop header. Bibi is not my cat, but I’m glad that the virtual office mockup included a kitty. Mine would never pose like that!

facebook

It covers a bit of what I did last year:

  1. Poster (etc.) I did that’s on redbubble.
  2. Bora Bora photo from a year ago.
  3. One of my funny holiday cards.
  4. And a photo I sent out to my email list but haven’t otherwise shown publicly. Thank you to the 42.5% of you who saw it.

If you’re inclined to like facebook pages, here’s the link.

My Creative Market shop is here.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Hell, Yes, I'm a Feminist T-shirt

T-Shirts

Redbubble has American Apparel shirts. I totally get why some people won’t buy them, especially in this context, but Dov Charney’s out and the new CEO, Paula Schneider, is a woman. This doesn’t magically fix things, of course.

Zazzle has Hanes shirts (as well as other brands). Zazzle has more sizes, more types of shirts, and so on.

A Note on How the Glitter Prints

I thought I’d mention: this isn’t actually glitter, it’s a glitter-like effect. It prints as different hues, but is more subdued when printed on fiber. (I already knew the color would be, which is why I blew it out.)

I used that same effect when printing my purple 100 Countries pillow. Here’s a photograph:

2014-12-30 08.26.32

Other Products

Redbubble also has prints and posters and cards and stickers and stuff.

flat,800x800,070,f.u1

And there are also man purses tote bags.

tb,1200x1200,small.2u1

If you’d like some other format, let me know. Duvet cover, shower curtain, tech gadget covers, all possible.

Design Element Credits

Top to bottom:

  1. Heart: Out of a big pack o’ vector art from Callie Hegstrom over at Make Media, which I got several times over, including in a Design Cuts bundle. Here’s an interview with Callie.

  2. Background ribbon: from the same vector pack.

  3. “Hell” and “I’m A” are from the Nexa Rust type family, which was designed by four Bulgarian designers, Fontfabric, including Ani Petrova. Here’s a blurb about her.

  4. The flourishes around “Yes” are from Showcase, a type family from Chilean foundry Latinotype, and co-designed by Paula Nazal Selaive. I love this family. Here’s a profile of her.

  5. “Yes” is Nicky Laatz’s typeface, Stringfellows. She’s a South African designer.

  6. “Feminist” is Laura Worthington’s amazing Voltage typeface.

  7. Venus symbol is from Jolly Icons. I use their icons for my Twitter, Facebook, and email icons on my site. They’re a team of two, and Jucke’s female, but I don’t know if she drew this particular symbol.

  8. Glitter! Is from Nicky Laatz.

  9. (print only) Paper textures from Jennifer Howland at Joyful Heart Designs.

  10. (print only) Damask overlay from Designious.. They don’t credit individual designers for these, though. Also, not sure which of the many hundreds of damask patterns I have from them that I used….

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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What-to-Do-With-a-Rusty-Dumpster

Note: this is a much simpler form of this tutorial from Spoongraphics.

The other night, a friend of mine and I were chatting, and she complimented something I’ve been working on (but haven’t yet posted). And I said, “ehh, it’s just a dumpster.”

She replied, “I would not have assumed dumpster.”

So, here’s my dumpster space scene mini-tutorial.

  1. Acquire a photo of a rusty dumpster. I used this one ($3), but many others are out there. Or—take your own! I used a blue (sea) + rust (land) combo, but there are many other combinations that work. Scratches, however, make it seem unrealistic (though you can mend those in Photoshop).
  2. Cut out a circular piece that you like the water/land shapes on. Spherize (in Photoshop: Filter > Distort > Spherize). Rotate it, if desired, to put the elements where you most like them. (I didn’t bother with this.)

  3. Create a black area the same size. Gaussian blur it with a big blur. Then blur it again. This is the most fiddly part, and you’ll need to fuss with it to make it look realistic.

  4. Expand the shadow region until it looks right.

  5. Add inner and outer glow to the planet so it has atmosphere.

  6. Find a good lens flare photo. I used one from Photography planet I had lying around and used it at 80% normal blend mode.

  7. A good background is black or near-black, and has stars. I happened to use one from here. You can use brushes to make star patterns, or use photos of sky or nebulae—whatever.

  8. I added a different layer above the lens flare, set it to lighten 70%, then filled in a few places (atmosphere, flare itself) with 50%, 70%, or 100% black to keep the stars from peeking through.

From there, the Spoon Graphics tutorial has lovely ideas on how to make the whole thing more realistic, including adding clouds and stuff.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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A few years ago, I came across an awesome resource for seamless patterns, far more professional than most I’d seen before. Best of all, these website backgrounds are free for both personal and commercial use!

These are free for both personal and commercial use, and someone asked about using them in products for sale and was told that was fine. So—knock yourselves out. I know I will. :)

The Webtreats site has some truly awesome resources. There’s a lot of broken image links, the search function is dodgy, and it can be frustrating figuring out what you want, but it’s almost certainly in there. Somewhere.

I don’t know how much they have posted, but I know that, over the years, I’ve downloaded 3.3 gigs of images. I’m trying to see what holes I have in my collection even as I write this.

The starry blog background for deirdre.net is from this set.

The almost-black wood background on Ryan Johnson’s fan site came from either the 270 or the 504 set I mention below. I have changed that one a couple of times, keeping within the same color range.

If you truly can’t decide, I’d suggest starting with two collections: 270 tileable backgrounds and 504 additional website backgrounds. These were designed to work with their Awake theme, but can be used with any website where you can change the background and/or control the CSS.

Not Sure You’ll Like It? Preview It!

First, remember that, like paint or wallpaper, the overall effect will be much more pronounced than it is in a small swatch.

Let me show you a trick.

Visit this page of smoky blue seamless patterns.

Some of the free website backgrounds

Click on the middle pattern.

You’ll be redirected to a page that shows that pattern used as the background for the page.

smokey-blue-lights

It won’t look the same as it would on your own site, but it will give you a sense of what the style looks like as a background.

Another Trick: Save Directly to Dropbox

If you have a Dropbox account (note: affiliate link), you can save the downloaded files to your Dropbox. The filenames end with:

.zip?dl=1

Cut off everything after .zip (the last five characters), and Dropbox will ask you if you want to save it. I find Dropbox’s mechanism for syncing with a dodgy network far more reliable than a browser download, so that’s what I would recommend if you have any problems.

Still Another Trick: Finding the Image’s Blog Post Again

So you’ve got these great backgrounds, right? And they’re all neatly in numbered folders. A friend asks you where you got it, but you can’t remember the link and God knows it can be hard to find something on a site with so much stuff.

Let’s take my space scene. Maybe your friend wants to check out some of the other color variations.

The file name is: 857-tileable-classic-nebula-space-patterns.zip

Take the numeric part in the front, and that’s the WordPress post number. So, http://webtreats.mysitemyway.com/?p=857 will get you to that package.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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15954811_3065647_pm
Rule 34: “If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.”

I was making this sign for a book cover (where it’d appear on the wall as a framed print), then thought: why stop there?

Back when I worked at a backbone ISP, the first day HR training session was interesting.

“If you object to adult material, please do not walk through the art department. We make 2/3 of our revenue from adult content.”

Maybe you like the weird stuff. Maybe it just makes you hilariously happy that the weird stuff exists because then you’re something approaching normal. Maybe you just need a new shirt and randomly clicked on this page.

Whatever freak flag you fly (or, you know, don’t fly :wink:), Rule 34 is there for you.

Rule 34 t-shirt

I have various products now available on Redbubble, Society6, and Zazzle.

In addition to the clothing options on all three of the above stores, the design’s also available in a bunch of other formats, including:
Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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IndieFoundriesI know you know I love type. And fonts.

Here are my favorite indie type foundries in alphabetical order. I seem to have a thing for Latin American foundries.

Albatross

Jay Hilgert’s an Oklahoma designer with some cool fonts like Altus and Boom! Featured up top is Oil Change.

Artimasa

Artimasa’s one of several Indonesian type foundries. Up above is Hipsteria, but I also love Zakia, Casually, and Prada.

Borges Lettering

If you’re going to start doing historical romance covers and want a great cover font, investing $99 (currently on sale for $89) in Borges Lettering’s Desire will go a long way. Sadly, I’ve not personally been able to justify it yet, but I do paw at the monitor every now and again while the page is open.

Cruzine

Peter, a designer from Bratislava, Slovakia does some great design, but he’s also done some great fonts. Up top is Brooklyn coffee. My personal favorite is Rocknroll, and when I look at Memento, I always think it’s an Indonesian design.

Dai Foldes

Dai’s font, Eubie Script, is fun and bouncy, and you really need to see the demo site for it. It has an amazing try me box (better than any other I’ve seen). Nicely done, and I’ve just picked it up. (Naturally, after I finished the header graphic.)

Dexsar Harry Fonts aka Majestype

One of the interesting Indonesian font designers, of whom there are several. Dexsar Harry has several lovely designs. Featured up top is Roverd. I haven’t yet picked up Bandung, but I’m looking forward to getting it soon.

Fenotype

Emil Bertell from Finland produces some lovely swashy faces like Alek (shown in the sample above).

Kimmy Design

Kimmy Design is based out of Santa Monica, California, about ten miles from where I’m typing this. (Away for the holiday weekend.) I have most of her fonts and some of her non-font graphics. I reuse this watercolor template frequently. Up top is Lunchbox Slab

Latinotype

Latinotype’s based in Chile and has lots of great fonts. Shown in the header image is Macarons. Up at the top of the page, my name’s in Courtney, and blog post headlines are in Four Seasons Pro. (So yeah, this entire site uses South American fonts.) I also use Showcase on desamo.graphics

Laura Worthington

I’m so pleased I got to meet Laura at Typecon. Awesome experience. I was tongue-tied and everything. I couldn’t remember the name of a single font when I was trying to tell her how many of hers I had.

One of the cool things about her fonts is that she has font families that are coordinating but dissimilar fonts, all designed to go together. Adorn, in particular, is a brilliant collection. Shown up top is Voltage, one of her newest.

Nicky Laatz

Nicky’s a designer from Cape Town, South Africa, who does awesome hand-drawn things including hand-drawn type. Here’s her shop. Shown in the pic above is Vanilla Frosting.

PintassilgoPrints

PintassilgoPrints is an amazing foundry from Brazil. If I had to describe their type collection, it’s of the type of fonts you’d expect to see on small label mid-century jazz covers. Some of their stuff draws from earlier (30s) and some later, but always with a fresh new twist.

The font I used above is called Brush Up, though I keep wanting to call it Olio because of one of the promo photos.

As a bonus, the bird is from a different font, Card-o-Mat Buddy Birds.

RodrigoTypo

Rodrigo Typo is from Chile and specializes in unusual and fun typefaes, especially display faces suitable for children’s work. Another aspect that may come in useful is that they always include Greek and Cyrillic letters, which is quite unusual for most indie foundries. Shown up top is Pequena.

Thinkdust

Thinkdust is based out of the UK and has made some pretty popular modern fonts. Shown is Nanami HM.

Tipotype

Tipotype’s the first type foundry in Montevideo, Uruguay. It produces, among other things, Quiroga, the typeface I use for the body face on this site. (Meaning: this paragraph is set in Quiroga as you read this if you didn’t override styles.)

Yellow Design Studio

Ryan Martinson’s Yellow Design Studio is the only foundry where I own all the fonts. I love them all. Shown is Veneer, one of my favorites.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Unique, distinctive, and humorous greeting cards sure to please. Now available from my Redbubble store. I’ve had greeting card products available for a while, but now I’ve got some items that are only available in greeting cards, including a few holiday cards.

I Am Not a Turkey

i-am-not-a-turkey-preview

Whimsical fall holiday card. (link)

Tree? What Tree?

what-tree-preview

Whimsical Christmas or Yule card. Even alien cats get into trouble with trees. (link)

May Your New Year Be Cage Free

cage-free-preview

Happy New Year! May it be a good one. (link)

Honestly? I think that one’s my favorite.

Missed a Present? I’ve Got You Covered

This one’s in both a Christmas-y variant and a more generic variant.

sorry-your-present-preview

Link for the Christmas-y card.

sorry-your-present-generic-preview

Link for the generic card.

Congratulations on the New Addition

contrats-baby-card-preview

Great card for a family with a new baby. Works for a boy or a girl, and the birds aren’t gender specific. (link)

Designed for my favorite actor and his wife and their new baby.

More Cards

I have some great back catalog too! Click images to view the card. Most of these also have other products if you’re interested.

plan-a-25-letters-preview

all-the-important-stuff-preview

Sum-Total-450

doing-the-right-thing-preview

Free Speech Is Best Served #notchilled

This is of limited interest, and the poster’s not actually this big, but the mockup looks awesome so grant me some artistic license here.

notchilled-mockup

not-chilled-preview

Credits

Believe it or not, the new card graphic elements are (except for the tree bits) all fonts.

  1. York Handwriting by Thinkdust.
  2. Monstrinhos by Pinstassilgo Prints.
  3. Card-o-Mat Buddy Birds, also by Pintassilgo Prints.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Seasonal and timely. As usual, my holiday profile name is Dire Red Omen.

Update: I calmed this down because it was driving me crazy.

halloween-avatar-ankh-4

And the older versions….
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Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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This post, clickbaitingly called Know If a Font Sucks actually has some fascinating tidbits about compensating for our eyes tricking us.

Hat tip to Janet Jia-Ee Chui.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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This post, clickbaitingly called Know If a Font Sucks actually has some fascinating tidbits about compensating for our eyes tricking us.

Hat tip to Janet Jia-Ee Chui.

Originally published at desamo.staging.wpengine.com. You can comment here or there.

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One of the valuable things to learn when you go outside your comfort zone, that it’s going to be okay.

Probably.

When I was at the World Domination Summit in Portland recently, speaker Michael Hyatt said this during his talk. It was one of the things he said that I found most profound.

Since then, at difficult moments, I’ve been able to give myself strength by repeating this.

Hope it helps you.

Available from Redbubble in: t-shirts, tanks, sweatshirts, hoodies, phone and iPad cases, prints, stickers, cards, throw pillows, and tote bags.

A version without the background is available on Redbubble for: t-shirts, tanks, sweatshirts, hoodies, and other clothing items.

Available from Society6 in: t-shirts, tanks, onesies, hoodies, iPhone and iPod cases, coffee mugs, laptop and iPad skins, shower curtains, and duvet covers.

all-the-important-stuff-700

Credits

Thanks to Michael Hyatt for permission to use the quote.

The font is Ruba from RodrigoTypo. (Yes, purchased as a part of a Design Cuts deal.)

The halftone textures are from Rob Brink, purchased as a part of an (expired) My Design Deals bundle. The border edge (not on all products) is from Dustin Lee of Retro Supply. It’s from the Standard Issue Texture Brushes package, though I didn’t use them in a subtle manner. (Deliberately.) If you’re interested in weathered or aged effects, this is worth it just for the video that comes as a part of the package.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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For Westercon, I made a Lousy Book Cover for comedic effect. After all, I had to have one to show at the panel, right?

So I picked a great photo. I picked a great typeface.

And deliberately made a grievous error.

Behold.

terminator-2-comedy-cover

Courtney Milan Talks Type

I bring this up because Courtney Milan’s got a great blog post called How to Suck at Typography. Ironically, I missed it because I was at Typecon.

First, I absolutely love the Borges font she discusses. It’s called Desire. It is truly one of the showcase pieces of what can be done with OpenType.

What she says about free fonts is largely true, but there are some good ones out there. The one I used was Great Vibes, which is the free cousin to Good Vibrations. I mention this for a reason: sometimes there’s significantly better typographic features on the paid version of a font. And sometimes it’s the bad fonts that get thrown to the free bin. (Or packaged up by the hundred for seemingly low prices.)

Personally, I’d like less space between Te so it feels more like Ju. Similarly, I’d like a tidge more space between Da so it feels more like Ju. Given that the paid font seems the same at first glance, evidently the font designer disagrees with me on that point.

There Is One Point of Violent Disagreement, However

Font effects are the opposite of tasteful covers. They are harder to read at best, and migraine-inducing at worst. The worst fug in the world comes from font effects.

I’ll half agree with the last. Granted, she’s talking from a historical romance perspective.

I’ve been working on a poster off and on for a month. I just couldn’t get the right approach to say what I wanted to, so I put it away and get back to it.

Yellow Design Studio is one of my favorite indie font foundries. I love love love love love their font family Gist, which is really Gist and Gist Upright, Gist Rough and Gist Rough Upright, and GistX.

One of the things Gist has is the line version of the font along with the regular—so you can separately style/color. Let’s say you’re making a poster, in navy, for an upcoming nautical clothing line. Put the text in white, and make the line red (or green, as that’s another combo used for nautical clothing). Perfecto.

In this case, I’ve been fussing with this poster, and, once I decided on Gist, I started randomly clicking layer styles for the line until I got this:

layer-effects-mmmm

I love it. I love how the beveling turns the corner between the u and the s.

The catch is, it’s applied on a relatively small part of the type. It’s the mint leaf served in your chocolate dessert.

Drop Shadows and Outer Glows

There is one reason to use these two features: to separate the type from the background. I used an outer glow in my sample bad cover. It’s subtle enough that if you don’t know what to look for, you’d miss it.

As a general rule, that’s how it should be. The secret is to reduce the opacity of the effect. I often reduce it from the default 75% down to 25-35%. Also, increase the radius of the effect from a few pixels to 20 or 30.

Coming Back Around

Getting back to the original picture, there’s one aspect that Courtney doesn’t talk about: appropriateness of the type for the project. It’s not just whether it’s a good font. It’s not whether the layer style, kerning, etc., works—there’s a bigger thing going on.

Is the font, the most appropriate (within reason) font you can use? I say within reason because I love Skolar, but it’s going to be a very long time before I’ll be able to afford it.

I recently heard a cover designer say that if the book got the person to read the blurb, the cover had done its job.

I agree in part and disagree in part. When they get to the blurb, they have a mindset in place that may lead them to interpret the blurb fundamentally differently than the blurb was intended.

Your cover needs to give the reader the feel for the book. Typography’s a huge part of that. As an example, a friend wrote a historical fantasy. Someone did a cover for her, but the fonts were all super-modern, so they’d lead someone to expect a really different book. For that reason, she went with a different cover entirely. Good call.

Remember that saying I found so profound? “A one-star review means the wrong reader has found your book.”

The purpose of a cover is to find your book’s five star readers and turn away the one-star readers.

The main problem with the cover I’ve given for Terminator 2? It would find mostly one-star readers. They’d be wanting something nice and cozy with tea and biscuits, and get something else entirely.

Find your five-star readers.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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EB-White-700

Now available on Redbubble: prints, posters, t-shirts, pillows, totes, phone cases, iPad cases, and greeting cards.

I love this E.B. White quotation.

I get up every day determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time.

Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.

Design element credits

Polygon background: Justin Thanks, Justin!

Pattern overlay layers: two from 2 Lil Owls (from a Design Cuts bundle) plus 2 from Joyful Heart Designs.

Font: Brave from Nicky Laatz. Post-processed with Ian Barnard’s Inkwell.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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I found this beer bottle mockup last night, and thought I’d have fun with it.

Catch is, this particular product would probably be better vended in something stranger—like a Klein bottle. Oh well.

Click for full size:

Bottle-Beer-Mockups

It’s an homage to a Tom Smith song of the same title:

There’s many drinks you’ll drink, me lads, but this one beats them all.
One hundred fifty-three and one-half percent alcohol,
A beer brewed in a tesseract, it’ll shoot you through the roof,
And if you don’t believe me, I’ve got lots and lots of proof.

Graphic Element Credits

Font: Veneer by Yellow Design Studio I love this font, use it all the time.

Logo font: Trend Handmade by LatinoType

(Both of the above via Design Cuts, as usual.)

Beer Mockup: Original Mockups

Logo: 12 Sci-Fi Badges from VoxelFlux

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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I thought I’d go over some of the things I’ve discovered or loved in the last year, in no particular order.

  1. Johnny B. Truant’s essay, The universe doesn’t give a flying fuck about you. It’s an interesting head trip: by making everything you could possibly do look small, it help reduces fear for the consequences of what you do. Interesting NLP technique there.

    If you want to be awesome in this life, do awesome things.

  2. Bats hangin’ out on a tree. bats-on-tree-edited-sm
  3. Milford. Northern Wales and an amazing workshop. 03-wales-sm

  4. My whirlwind round-the-world tour featuring a visit with friends in New Zealand, more friends in Australia, even more friends in South Africa, and a play with an actor I like in London. 10-table-mountain-sm

  5. Overwerk. Especially when used in the Air Tahiti Nui video.

  6. Tim Grahl and his tips on book and author marketing.

  7. Tiffany Reisz. Bookalicious Pam listed The Siren as one of her favorite novels of the past year. On her recommendation, I inhaled the first four books between Christmas and New Year’s. I think her new book, The Saint, is even better.

  8. James Mickens’s “The Slow Winter” is one of the few short stories ever where Rick and I have quoted random lines to each other. Most frequently, “This does not lead to rising property values in Tokyo!”

  9. Hard-hat behind-the-scenes tour of the newly-opened part of SFO’s Terminal 3. That was pretty sweet, especially the ability to go onto the roof and watch the planes land.

  10. The number of people who search my site for the mongoose joke. (two today!)

  11. All the fun I’ve been having with Society6, Redbubble, and Zazzle. Thanks, everyone.

Here’s a Dihydrogen Monoxide Containment Shield shower curtain.

12441192_10636511-crtn_l

And, you know, related stuff….. (same link set as above)

12441662_12087789-mugs11_l

12441662_12087789-mugs11f_l

12441662_12087789-mugs11l_l

12441956_11063764-clkfkhw_l

12442188_7955223-rg23_l

12442198_12796713-tsrmw112_l

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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This is a saying of mine. I remember talking to a woman who wanted to go into technology, but felt she had little to offer because there were people with more expertise already. This is what I said to her. I hope it helped.

Sum-Total-700

Credits

Main font: Brave by Nicky Laatz, purchased as part of the current Design Cuts font bundle. I also used the stone texture from the bonuses.

Monster font: Monstrinhos by Pintassilgo Prints, also in the same Design Cuts font bundle.

Background textures: Effervescent 16 and 17, by 2 Lil Owls from a previous Design Cuts bundle.

Ubergrunge background texture from Joyful Heart Designs.

Brave font was post-processed with Ian Barnard’s Inkwell.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Now available in t-shirts, posters, prints, cards, and stickers from Redbubble.

This is one of those pieces where I sat on it overnight and took an entirely new approach when I did.

Get-Out-of-Your-Way-700

100% detail:
Get-Out-of-Your-Way-detail

Pretty much everything remained the same except the background, but that’s so dramatically different now.

Credits

The background itself is a freebie this week on Creative Market from Joyful Heart Designs.

The font is Appareo from Kimmy Designs, also a Creative Market regular, but I picked it up from a Design Cuts bundle a few weeks ago.

The sunburst, well, I have a lot of them. This particular one is from Thunder Pixels.

There are also brushes in there from another Design Cuts bundle, but I can’t point to them, because they are pretty darn subtle.

What’s less subtle, though, is the effect of Matt Borchert’s Distress Texture Pack, the concrete-like overlay over everything, including the text.

The most important part: thanks to Michael Neff for the verbal kick in the ass.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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