Cover design in the digital age

[This is a bit of a repost from something that I originally put up on my On the Verge site a couple of years ago. But as I work on a new set of covers for On the Verge – THE ARROW OF TIME, I’ve been thinking about cover design and it seemed really relevant. So here it is again.]

I saw this post online yesterday talking about cover design on Comixology (specifically the Comixology Submit books) and while reading I spotted THE JUMPER! Luckily my book wasn’t highlighted as an example of “what not to do”. The article is a good read and it’s actually something that I put some thought towards before I designed the cover to my first Comixology book SHADOWS (THE JUMPER uses the same basic design template).

I saw a really good speaker a couple of years back at Design Thinkers by the name of Craig Mod who has a really good essay about cover design in the digital age and this has really driven my thinking about cover design for things like Comixology. You may have noticed that the print edition covers that I originally designed for the various OTV stories (versions 1 and 2) are different from the Comixology versions and one of the primary reasons for this is because I wanted my covers to be highly legible and stand out in the app. I’d love to do something more conceptual for my stuff, but at this point, I wanted the books to get attention.*

*Heck, even the colours I use – primarily the bright red/orange – were selected because they stood out. The funny thing is that I originally selected the colours based on the art direction that I wanted OTV to take and the orange has really worked out (almost like I knew what I was doing? ).


Skip forward a couple of years, I’m back working on a new set of covers to finish off THE ARROW OF TIME story and basically everything about cover design in the digital age still applies. When it comes to the overall design, my main goal has been to have (A) some kind of overall concept to the design because you don’t often see a lot of that in comics, while at the same time (B) have a simple and clear design so that it’s highly legible on digital devices. The overall goal is something that hopefully stands out above the crowd.

Here’s a couple of pictures to give you an idea of the work-in-progress: trying to figure out the best possible design to use, roughs for the cover images and final pencils. Above you can see the stack of inked covers waiting to be scanned in.


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