Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Damsel Distressed: Cover Contest Entries

Hey Everyone!

Some of you may remember a little while back I posted about a new cover design contest held by the team at Spencer Hill Press for Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke, one of their 2014 releases. I've entered several design contests in the past, and while there have been some truly amazing prizes that made the fangirl in me do an absurd happy dance through my living room, this contest is a little different. The winner of this contest actually wins the design commission, meaning their design will be the final cover of the book. *Jenny falls down dead*

I've been a graphic designer for going on ten years, but up until now majority of my work has been in the wedding stationery industry. While I've loved working with brides, this past year I've been craving a new challenge, and so I've begun to dip my toes into the world of book cover design. I have high hopes for this new business venture moving forward (though mixed in with all my excitement is no shortage of nerves), which is why this contest is such a fantastic opportunity for me to get a foot in the door.

I submitted four designs overall, and was lucky enough to have two of my entries make it to the top ten. Now that a top ten has been chosen, a public poll is open so people can vote for their favorites, with the winner automatically making it through to the final three. Below are my two submissions, nicknamed "Moody Masks" and "Black Bird" by the Damsel Distressed team. There are some truly amazing entries submitted by a variety of designers and illustrators, and you can vote for your favorites by following the link below. You can only vote for one at a time, but you can vote as often as you'd like, so technically you could vote for all ten if you wanted. If mine are among your favorites, I'd so appreciate your vote, but I'm in outstanding company so I encourage any of you who are interested to check them all out!


"MOODY MASKS"


Damsel Distressed is going to be a unique book in terms of format, with doodles and journal entries belonging to heroine Imogen scattered throughout the book. As a result, I wanted the cover to have a doodle or hand-drawn quality to it, hence the different flourishes and florals top and bottom.

Like so many people, Imogen has her day to day struggles which include pills and cutting, so I wanted to make sure there was an obvious contrast to the cover to highlight all the different elements that make up Imogen's life. The top half features warm, happy colors with things like earbuds, candy, and movie tickets appearing alongside the doodles to represent Imogen in her better moments, while the bottom half focuses on cooler colors and incorporates sharper objects like razor blades and safety pins, as well as tears and pills, to indicate her darker moments.

Imogen is also very involved in the theater, so I thought the very recognizable theater masks would be a perfect fit both literally and figuratively.

"BLACK BIRD"


With this second design, I wanted the overall look to be similar in its emphasis on doodles and handwritten fonts, but I went with a far bolder color scheme to kick the drama up a few notches and make sure it would pop online or on a shelf.

In addition to the doodles and journal entries, this book also has a huge focus on music, which was the main inspiration for the bird and its beautiful yet jumbled song made up of the highs and lows of Imogen's life.

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Voting will run through October 31st, after which time the final three will be announced. I'm really proud of how my two entries turned out, and am so honored to be in the top ten. If you get a chance to vote, that would be amazing, but if not, I'd just love to hear what you think about the designs in the comments!

38 comments:

  1. You are so freaking talented!!!!! I voted (of course I did) and I will vote as often as they let me:)))
    The first one is absolutely stunning and is my favorite. I like the black one too, but I think the Moody Masks are perfect perfect for this book and the theme!

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    1. I love you Danny:) It's fun for me to see which one people gravitate toward. I have my favorite, but artwork is always so subjective:)

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  2. GAH. Love it, Jenny! I went to the voting page and I can honestly say that your Black Bird is the one that stood out to me the most. Voted for yours, good luck! I have a good feeling that you'll make it to the Top Three at least. :)

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    1. Thank you so much Jen! I'm exceedingly nervous, I'd be flat out lying if I pretended I didn't want to win with every fiber of my being:)

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  3. Jenny I love both of your covers! The first one is quirky and fun and the second one is so elegant and pretty! You are so talented with your graphic design, you definitely have my vote! Good luck! :)

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    1. Thank you so much Jasprit! I had so much fun with these covers, it was a different kind of challenge not to use any sort of stock photo.

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  4. So this was me: scrolls down a little and reads the text. Thinking, 'pretty sure Jenny will rock this one. Her Sweet Peril designs and the previous in the past were freaking gorgeous.. so.. OHHHH. That contest is awesome! And two entries? Wow!' scrolls down some more to see the first entry. Thinking, 'WOOOOOOWWWW!!! This looks amazing!' Scrolls down some more to see the second entry. Shakes her head and rubs her eyes. 'WHAT? OMG. THIS IS. I HAVE NO WORDS. THIS IS WHAT I WISH FOR THE COVER OF MY BOOK TO LOOK LIKE. I DON'T EVEN HAVE A BOOK. I NEED TO WRITE ONE. ASAP.' It's more bold I guess and when I think of you, Moody Masks is one that would suit your personality more, I think, but to me? Black Bird feels edgier and would stand out on a shelf on Goodreads, on a physical shelf, in a bookstore? Yes! That's what I'm liking about it. It's a knock-out cover. You, my friend, are incredibly talented and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you to make it big, my love!

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    1. Black Bird is my favorite too Siiri! I agree with you it's a bit edgier, and from what I know of the book, it suits the story a little better. It also just looks more like a cover to me, but there are things I love about both. If it doesn't make it to the finals, I'll save the design for you for when you write your book ;-)

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  5. I had to see the covers first and then to read the text next. Well I was staring at that first cover for a while we can say. But it's so amazing. I love it. I love the cover, the font, design everything. I wish you all the luck Jenny! :)) I'm off to vote :)

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    1. Thank you Tanja! I feel like I'm going to have an ulcer before this contest is over, but it's been really fun so far. I so appreciate everyone's support!

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  6. Jenny, you're so talented! Gosh, I really hope you win! Your designs are fantastic!(:

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    1. Thank you!!!!!!! *fingers crossed*

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  7. Damn, girl. You're so talented! I need to email you and get some insight and pointers (we need some awesome graphics for our yearbook/newspaper and I'm such a noob with the Adobe Suite products...*sigh*). I love BOTH OF THEM!! But there's something about that first one...and the second one...no, the first one...

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    1. I know my way around those Adobe Suite products, so hit me with any questions you have Mary! Happy to help:)

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  8. Jenny! OMG! I'm just so jealous of your beautifully written reviews and now these beautiful designs. I'm definitely voting for your entries. I love both of them, but the first one is my favorite. :)

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    1. Thank you Nick! This blog tends give me the opportunity to highlight the things I'm pretty decent at, so you just don't know about all the things (like cooking, and math, and sports) that are epic fails for me:)

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  9. You are awesome Jenny! I'm going to vote for you :)

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  10. Oh my heck, how awesome is this?! I am so excited for you!! And holy heck you are talented!!

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    1. Isn't it amazing?! I was floored when I found out about this contest, it's just such a fabulous opportunity for artists like me who want to break into this world:) I'll be sure and let everyone know the outcome after Halloween!

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  11. Good luck! Both of these are great, but I think the black is a little better. The masks remind me a touch more of a poster than a book cover. (But a totally awesome poster, of course.)

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  12. Jenny! You know I'm a big fan of your work. YOU KNOW. I'm super excited by your move into the book cover designing world and I wish you all the best! (Also, I've voted.) :D

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  13. You are very very talented :) I really really love the first! You don't see many white covers!

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  14. Oooooooooooooooooooo you are talented. I love them both. On my way to vote now. *fingers crossed* for you.

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  15. I had a hard time deciding which I liked best. I think I went toward Black Bird because the contrast and the reds were so eye catching and lovely! I really should pick your brain about composition since graphic artists seem to really have that down. I want to be stronger in that area artistically.

    You are so talented!!

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  16. Holy crap Jenny, these are AMAZING! I love them both equally, so I'm not sure which I'll vote for. Both I suppose. And if I write a book, I want YOU to design the cover. Seriously, you're hired! (Though it'll be several years, if ever, until I'll need you. ;)

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  17. I am kind of leaning toward the second even though I love them both. I am absolutely certain that you will do well with book cover designs and it is something that you totally love anyway. Didn't I see another one of your designs on another book recently?

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  18. The damsel one is my fav cos it looks fun and YA

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  19. These are insanely good, Jenny! I think Kelsey would be lucky to have either of these as her cover. I couldn't decide which I liked better, so I voted twice, once for each. I really hope you make it to the final three! *crosses fingers*

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  20. I love both covers. I like the first cover a little more in terms of the artwork but think the second one would really stand out on a bookshelf. Good luck, Jenny! I hope you make it into the final three!

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  21. Hey, Jenny! I adore the Black Bird cover especially. I voted multiple times! Best of luck in your new(ish) endeavor.

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  22. Oh my gosh, so I read this blog post in my email first, then I immediately went and voted for you, and then I thought OH NO JENNY IS GOING TO SPLIT HER VOTES like at the Oscars! But it looks like other people also opted to vote for Black Bird like I did even though they're both gorgeous. *whew* That one just popped right off the screen for me, it is absolutely beautiful! You are so talented, I just know more authors are going to hire you for cover design. If I ever write a book, I'm coming straight to you. These are both so gorgeous and Sunbolt was beautiful too. I hope you win! *fingers crossed*

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  23. Your covers are always so awesome Jenny!! Love the second one with all the pretty black and red.... :)

    Tina~~

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  24. Oh, wow, they both look so amazing! I admire your talent so much. :) I too voted for Black Bird, even though I love them both. I simply couldn't resist, it's too gorgeous.

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  25. OMG! I'm in love with Moody Masks! That's the one I'm going for (Voted!) Black Bird is good too, I like how you incorporated the earphones in the design, pretty cool! But I love different colors and patterns, so moody masks it is. Great job, Jenny! I knew you were talented with words but your artistic side is even better!

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  26. oh my God, these are BEAUTIFUL!!!! I will definitely be voting for you girl! Good luck! Can't wait to see one of them as the final cover!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  27. Eee, I always love your work!! Totally voted for the Black Bird one the other day before I even knew it was yours! =)

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  28. Oh mY Gosh!! Eeekk...how exciting...I am voting voting voting!! Your covers are hands down my two favorites of the ten!!

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