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Help Kate choose a cover for her cookbook!

 
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Which cookbook cover is your favourite and why?

Is there anything you'd change on any of these book cover options?

I have lots of possible images I could use on my cookbook cover... Many of them are already posted over on the cookbook sneak peek thread here. Would any of these images be a good option for the cover? Which image on the covers would you replace with it?
test-cover-1.jpg
A
A
test-cover-idea-2.jpg
B
B
test-cover-idea-3.jpg
C
C
test-with-borders-4.jpg
D
D
 
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I'm lovin' the oven. But I think having pictures of food will appeal to more people, make them hungry, and make them want to buy it. I guess I'd go with the one with both. I was thinking the larger pic of the oven with a border on bottom of pictures of food to match the border of the title on top, but I don't think it will fit.
 
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Of these I'd pick the first one, option A.  The green background to the text section feels like it stands out better than the brown of option B.  The green in the background of option D feels too bright and garish to me which feels out of place with the emotional associations the word "off-grid" evokes.  It sets up a dissonance in that one.

That said, my artistic compositional gut reaction is that the green text section of option A is too low in the overall frame.  If you take the height of that text section and split it in half that is about how much higher I would like to see it, at least as a general place to start.  Of course that would mess up the layout of the images.  Hopefully that makes sense as a written description of visual ideas.  Of course I could be wrong too and it would look awful being that high in the frame.  ;)  
 
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I like the layout of option A the best and I really love the oven picture included, but I like some of the food pictures from option D better!
 
Kate Downham
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To move the text frame higher I could make it three images at the top instead of two, but then it brings the challenge of having an awkward space in the bottom to fill up - this was resolved in idea D with a frame with lots of little pictures - but maybe this is too busy-looking?
 
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I definitely like the woodstove!

I like the green one (A). However in regards to the photo on the bottom left, it looks like goat berries. It turns me off it. Could the bottom left photo be changed?
 
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I like the layout of the first 2, prefer the brown background over the green but really like the bright colours of the food pics from the last one.  The meat pics in first couple of options aren't as appealing.  So I would go with option #2 but with different pics, keep the oven, but include more diverse, colourful food pics.
 
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I like the ones with the small picture of the oven because it gives some indication of what you mean by 'off grid'.
I liked the brown background because it picks up the colour tones of the oven, but I understand others might find it too subdued.
 
Jordan Holland
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Jay Angler wrote:I like the ones with the small picture of the oven because it gives some indication of what you mean by 'off grid'.
I liked the brown background because it picks up the colour tones of the oven, but I understand others might find it too subdued.


It does match, but I agree with the others in that it matches everything on the cover a little too much and makes it bland. The green gives it a little life, and would make it stand out from a distance and catch the eye, I think.
 
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I like B best because of it feeling calm and steady because of the blander color.

That said if I were buying the book off the shelf the last one with its bright colors would be more likely to catch my eye and cause me to pick it up to at least look at it.  So in spite of my answer above I am going to say #4 the last one should be your pick.
 
David Huang
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Kate Downham wrote:To move the text frame higher I could make it three images at the top instead of two, but then it brings the challenge of having an awkward space in the bottom to fill up - this was resolved in idea D with a frame with lots of little pictures - but maybe this is too busy-looking?



I did wonder if option D would work as far as getting the text frame higher, but using the darker green of the text in option A.  I'm not sure whether that is too busy looking or not either.  It's something I was wondering.  Like others have noted I do like keeping the stove image in.  It's both a nice picture and as Jay noted it visually emphasizes what you mean by "off-grid"
 
Jordan Holland
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A picture of an old copper tea kettle worked in somewhere would look awesome, or one sitting on the stovetop in place of one of the cast iron pots, if we're going to go hog wild on this, lol!
 
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I was most drawn to options C and D. Agree with keeping the stove in if possible, but I also loved the more colorful dishes. To play around, this is probably what I would do to have both the stove and the variety of colorful foods in there.
E.png
[Thumbnail for E.png]
F.png
[Thumbnail for F.png]
Staff note (Jordan Holland) :

You get your first apple for the top one! I think it nails it! Bail-top jars and clean, simple, rustic foods beats out the busy pics with the spoon handles sticking out (kinda looks inviting, but also like someone's already eaten).

 
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D was more catching and appealing to my eye. Then C second. Lovely pictures.
 
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Another vote for D.  The colors are attractive and the food pics draw me in.  The stove is very pretty, but I would buy the book for the food.  
 
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I like A or B. I love the stove in C, but think the others reveal more of the contents. D is nice, but those little photos won't be discernible in a thumbnail shot on a sales website. Not really loving the offset title either.

Of A and B, I agree that the green in A adds some zing. The only thing that "bothers" me (not really, but I have a suggestion) is that it doesn't "fit" into the other images. My suggestion is to pick up the barn red from the cooking pots or the yellow from the peaches and try that instead of green.
 
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Of those I like the layout of A best but D looks better as a whole. It's the more colourfull photos that make it stand out to me. I really don't like the top right picture on A and B dried fatty meat and something white and unidentifiable on a dirty chopping board.
The range looks good but will it put people off who have a "standard" cooker? The brown colouring on B just doesn't pop for me. So as they stand D.
 
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I like D but swap out one of the pictures to have the cook stove in
 
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I like basic ...so, the oven.
 
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I think the oven too.

One publishing trick is to put things so that they seem to move towards the right edge of a book cover, to get the reader open the cover! The oven makes me think of opening the door...
 
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Hi, Kate!
OK, I think the green band is more eye-catching, thus more quickly found, on the shelf, than the tan (though personally, I love the warmth of the tan), and the oven is amazing! But, the ones with the bigger variety of foods might bring more sales. So, my choice for the stores would probably be D, but with one of the larger pics being the oven.
 
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I like D the best. It has more variety of things and thus won’t scare someone off who might not like a certain picture.
 
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I like "E". I like the cropped stove photo, and I like the cheese and bread photos, and somewhat like the kimchi. (maybe a substitution?) I really like the beet soup photo, the bowls are beautiful, I don't mind the spoons...they're about to be served, they look like fat little birds about to fly off to a table! (please, let it be mine!) I also like the breakfast plate for the colors and freshness, but agree that it looks a bit like it has already begun to be eaten, I wish I saw it moments ago...just arrived, at a place setting.

I like the title without the border below where it meets the stove photo. It makes me giggle to read "Off-Grid Kitchen" and see everything set within "a grid" of black borders.

I like the idea of showing all the methods (the wood cook stove, baking, cheese, charcuterie, canning, fresh cooking, soups/stews, gardening/harvesting). Maybe there's space on the back cover for more photos?
Maybe 12 like a calendar? or 4 like the seasons? or just three at the top like the front cover, to leave space for text below.

Stuff I don't like:
"B" with the brown title and drab photos makes the prospect of a year of off-grid cooking look bleak, and bland.
Having to "figure out" what any of the photos are of. The chopped saucisson would look better as links (other picture hanging along with jambon is better). What IS that white stuff, cheese?
Seeing busy, cluttered, or dirty backgrounds... I know that if I make any of these dishes that the place will be a mess, but I don't want to be reminded of that.
 
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I like the layout of the first option with the green background, but I prefer the bottom three pictures of the last option. It's mainly the picture in the left-hand corner - I can't tell what it is and it's a funny shape for the food.
 
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I'd also avoid images where it isn't obvious what it is. The cookie is obvious. the cut sausage (?) in the first two isn't. The whatever it is in the jar in the middle of E isn't either. If you want to include completely home-made foods that may not be obvious to everyone, how about putting a recipe card nearby as a part of the layout or a label on the jar? Then you have something giving information to the buyer.

Food photography is TOUGH. My husband was a pro photogapher and took a product photography class at the local college. One assignment was pizza. With very few exceptions, the images were awful. Liquid tomatoes and bits in it, with fats can too easily look like dinner that didn't agree with you...

 
Kate Downham
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Thank you all so much for your feedback.

It’s really good to hear things from other perspectives - I can see the photos and know what they are of, but it’s great to have the input of others who have no idea what the food is, or what the story behind the photo is.

I like ideas ‘E’ and 'F' posted by Karuna Ash, and have tinkered with one idea around this, so now I present you all with idea G!

I've made this one into a smaller file, as the other ones took a long time to upload - none of these are the actual file I'll be printing.

I will tinker with it a bit more and post another idea soon.
flipped-around-cover-idea.jpg
G
G
 
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Hi Kate. First, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book!

I also agree with the choice of the green title box. And for me, Option D was way too busy, but I'm much more drawn to the food pics you used in that one.
I really love options E and F, because I just love feeling like I'm looking right into your "off grid kitchen" with the large stove pic in the bottom panel.

So my top fave is E and my next fave is G. The black borders in G feel just a little too heavy, esp the middle horizontal ones. But I really like the bottom right pic in option G (spoons and all!)
 
Kate Downham
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Here is idea H - similar to G, but the photos at the bottom are centered.
centered.jpg
H
H
 
Kate Downham
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I - same as H, but thinner borders
smaller-borders.jpg
I
I
 
Kate Downham
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J - with woodstove brown coloured borders instead of black
brown-borders.jpg
[Thumbnail for brown-borders.jpg]
J
 
Jordan Holland
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Thin black borders look nice!
 
Huxley Harter
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Maybe switch the red sauce with the jars and keep the thin borders
 
Jay Angler
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I prefer the thin black borders.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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Kate, I prefer G over H and I, although I like the thinner borders in between.

I'd crop the soup photo to keep the spoon handle in the foreground whole. It's also fine the way it is.

The bench on the left-hand side of the stove photo makes more sense when the leg is visible. Otherwise the benchtop and the pot are floating in space, it's a bit like having to figure out "what is it?" with the food pictures.

The floor space in the stove photo is a bit boring compared to the other photos, however may be an opportunity to place your name there, in larger type, or a different font (maybe the script of "A Year in an"). This would also allow the title and the subtitle to fill the green block more effectively (larger type, or subtitle not so condensed).
You might even edit the photo to remove or lighten the dark edge of your hearth (to make the floor appear seamless) or just move it closer to the stove base (to allow more clear space for your name).
 
Kate Downham
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K - Wood stove shifted to show the leg of the kitchen bench.
wood-stove-shifted.jpg
K
K
 
Kate Downham
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L - Shifted again, to make the stove a bit more centred.
shifted-again.jpg
L
L
 
Huxley Harter
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I like the centered stove
 
Kate Downham
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M - my name moved under the stove. Stove photo also got zoomed out slightly to show more of each side.
name-below-stove.jpg
[Thumbnail for name-below-stove.jpg]
M
 
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Kate, I like your most recent option with your name at the bottom. These started out good and are getting better and better!

I'm looking at this on my phone so it is hard to visualize how the font will look at full book size. But I have a feeling it would be worth trying to go up as much as you can with font size for your name and the words other than off grid kitchen in the title. I think you are right to keep off grid kitchen bigger than the rest but there probably doesn't need to be quite as much size disparity.

Your stove is gorgeous. A little off topic, but would you mind telling us what it is?
 
Kenneth Elwell
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Yes, Kate, like that! (you are quicker than I am... here's my attempt)
big-name-author-cover-idea.jpg
[Thumbnail for big-name-author-cover-idea.jpg]
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