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Jeff Lindsay is an author of Conquering Innovation Fatigue. See for more info.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Silver Coin Prize: Need Your Input ASAP on Cover Design for a Book

I apologize for an off-topic post tonight, but I really need some opinions by Wednesday night (8 pm CDT, April 15). I need them enough that I'm offering cash prizes in the form of real money, not the fake paper stuff. If I get at least 10 comments from unique, registered parties here, one of you will win a silver dollar. I expect most of the comments will be made over at Mormanity, where I've asked a third party to randomly select at least at least one of the non-anonymous, unique commenters there to receive a silver dollar for participating in this survey (two or more if I get at least 100 unique commenters). Between this and other blogs with this one-day event, a one-ounce silver eagle will also be awarded based on quality of input.

Here's the scoop. We've got a book being published by John Wiley & Sons in couple of months. Several cover designs have been presented, but the ones I like best are from local talent. We're trying to decide which of two differing approaches should be taken: the graphic (a maze) at the top (#1) or in the center (#2) of the cover. Two sample designs are shown below. Changes will be made in color and fonts, so don't let that influence you (but comments are welcome). I'm mostly looking for input on the placement of elements. Given that, please let me know which of the two designs you like best and why (single sentence may be OK). To de-emphasize color, I've also included a black and white version of both.

I'm posting this on another blog or two as well. The comment that I find most helpful between these sources will receive a bonus of a beautiful American Silver Eagle one ounce coin. I know, I know, you think I'm just posting this to draw attention to silver as one of the smartest investments for people concerned about our hyperinflated future - but I really do need input from multiple eyes.

Please let me know what you think - and be sure to login. If you don't want to register, make the comment with an assumed moniker and send it to me by email as well to identify yourself. Send it to jeff at

Click to enlarge either set of images:

So which approach do you like best and why? Or let me know if they both fail and especially let me know if you have a better idea.

The book, by the way, is a book aimed at inventors, scientists, managers, business leaders, and even policy makers. It deals with the personal side of innovation, exploring the many fatigue factors that can shut down innovation, along with guidance on how to overcome or eliminate them. The maze image is intended to show that there are ways to bypass some of the barriers and frustrations on the journey to innovation success.
Love the graphic in the center. Not sure about the rainbow colors at the top, though.
Think fonts and color selection are going to make the cover, period. I know your going to tweak them, but its hard to get past them now. There was a neat article (NYT?) a while back about fonts used by the presidential candidates and the meaning each conveyed. Very cool stuff. There are also several websites that allow you to put in the text and see how it looks; if you haven’t checked it out already I’d suggest you try a few and get feedback on what mood/feelings it evokes.

Cover2 – Would NOT pick this up and I buy/checkout a lot of books. Fonts/color look dated along with white border, even in b/w they’re dated. Like a really old econ or social science high-school or college text. Maze in middle distracts from title, which is partially covered up. The cover doesn’t match up with the topic. Since the design looks dated, I’d make the assumption that the material was dated.

Font – Hate serifs, but love the big/small all caps.
Color – love the bright color, catchy. Don’t use red – overused. Should be energizing, opposite of the fatigue. Green, orange or pink in the hue would due the trick, just not neon. Spine should have same bright color. Looking at my bookshelf, Juicing the Orange and Freakonomics catch my eye and look fresh.
Graphics – horizontal line is great separating title/subtitle. Like innovation highlighted. The circle w/slider is distracting – take it out! Don’t fully understand the maze/ladder – my fist instinct was the ladder should be starting inside the maze, then the slide goes to the ground outside the maze. The ladder outside the maze is confusing. But relative to placement I love it bleeding off the page; also it then supports the title instead of competing with it. Overall I love the maze concept –it shows me you’re going to simplify things and give me advice.
I like cover #1 but the colors of #2. The name of the book is more easily seen and read in cover #1.
Do not use the rainbow-colored approach in #2. Will be a deterrent to any business-minded individual. Pink also might be a little tough to swallow. Bright colors are fine, but not pink.
The graphic on Cover #1 caught my eye even before the words and I believe that's because the graphic was at the top. Then, because it had my interest, I looked at the words.
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