Cover designs, changes and curve balls

Hello again you lovely guys! Honestly, you wait months for a blog post from me and then three come along at once. Just like London busses... It seems that now the seal has been broken on the blog I just can't stop writing. There's so much I want to share with you and today, I'd like to talk about cover designs. I've written before about the importance of a cover. It's got to be impactful, stand out from the other alternatives and give a flavour of what's inside the book. It needs to set the tone, create anticipation and desire and, of course, be something I am super proud of.

Matt and I found shooting the last cover immensely stressful and I have to admit, this time wasn't much different!

I wanted something that felt aspirational, stylish and super inspirational. I was thinking a palette of greens, blacks, nudes and beautiful back light. The biggest stumbling block we always have is making the cover look like a branding book rather than an interiors book. Easier said than done.

So many images nearly made the cut.

Lovely. One of my favourite images. But not enough going on and that light is distracting halfway down the side.

I have a real soft spot for this one. It's exactly what I envisaged. But it doesn't say 'branding book'. We shot another with all the gumpf that you see below and it just looked a mess. It was horrid. I can't even bring myself to show you.

I really hate this one. It's messy. I hate the collage and the whole thing just feels contrived and lacking in life.

Too busy, too distracting. No room for text. The light competes with the title, as do the flowers.

The cover design

But this one just felt right. It isn't bold. It isn't impactful, but when combined with the beautiful copper foiling it's going to look incredible. More to the point, it's going to totally stand out from the other books in its category. A quick search for 'branding small businesses' on Amazon turns up an assortment of bold-covered, shall we say, strong, designs, which totally flies in the face of what I'm setting out to achieve with this book.

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Brand Brilliance is all about being irresistible. It's about creating desire, adding value and creating a business that really works for you. I firmly believe that less is more, that you don't need to bludgeon people into buying from you and that you don't need to shout. At all. So not only does the cover stand out for looking quieter than the rest on the page, it also sets the tone nicely for the book.

It also feels like it's come from the same company as How to Style Your Brand, but just as the content and tone of my book has subtly shifted a gear, so too has the cover. This one feels really, really me. I love How to Style Your Brand. I'm immensely proud of it and I still get a real buzz from knowing how useful you find it. But honestly, writing this book has totally shifted my perspective. I really think this is going to change the way you do business. And I'm really, really excited to see what you think.

I sent the cover over to Jo Copestick- publishing stalwart, editorial consultant and all round brilliant person and she loved it. Phew! So far, so good.

The curve ball

Don't curve balls come when you least expect them? It was Nicky, at the printers, who ever so gently and kindly said: does it look different enough from your first book? Good Question!!! I'd made sure it looked different from the competition. I'd made sure to create impact. I'd made sure it was on brand. I hadn't even considered whether it needed to look different to How to Style Your Brand!

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Most days I'm asked: How is this book different from your first? It's so different! How to Style Your Brand covers one, very specific area - styling your brand, really comprehensively. Brand Brilliance is designed to help you define your values, refine your message and take your business up a gear. Once you've done that, it'll help you communicate that through everything you do: your website, your marketing literature, your sales tools, your brand voice. It's a more comprehensive guide to branding in general.

So it's not really a case of one or other book. It's both.

In my mind, I'm happy with the cover. But to satisfy my own curiosity, provide a little entertainment for you on a snowy day and just because I can, I've mocked up a dark cover too. I do love a dark cover, don't you? That, combined with the beautiful copper foil could look absolutely stunning. It certainly has impact. But is it right?

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Here it is against the other books - it doesn't stand out as much I don't think? But I do love it. And it looks classy.

That light is kind of annoying isn't it? So for the purposes of a fair test I've done a dreadful job of cloning it out. Matt will freak. But if it works, he could totally do it properly. I do love that dark cover...

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And here it is against How to Style Your Brand.

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I showed my friend Ashley the two alternative cover images fresh from my shoot with Matt, a month or so ago and she very perceptibly said, 'the lighter one is more on brand'. And she's right. So my heart is probably with the pale one. But I don't have that same gut-wrenching reaction that I had to the contents page. I'm a little less fixed in my opinions here. So I'vc created another poll. Which do you prefer? Which should I go with?

As always, looking forward to your votes and comments! Oh, and on that note... Thank you for your comments on the Contents page. I am totally going with my gut on that one. I hadn't quite realised how strongly I felt about it til I started writing the blog post. It's a no brainer really. I'm sorry for those left-brains amongst you, I am going to take my usual renegade approach!

Over to you. Which cover should I go with?

Have a lovely weekend, whatever you're up to.

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