Title: Italy Travels & Adventures
Author: Steven J. Craig
Designer: JD Smith
Graphics: The cover photograph is lovely—it reminds me of many side streets I’ve ventured down in Italy—but I can’t fathom why the upper center was faded out to such a bright white. Perhaps the designer thought that was necessary to make the red title stand out. But maybe not, since “travel & adventures” has a bit of the background still visible.
Typography: The subtitle sits too close to the bottom. The three lines should be raised about half the height of the characters. The subtitle is legible enough, but I would have insisted on using the Oxford comma (after “Terre”) to eliminate possible confusion. Making the font bold would make the text more easily read at thumbnail size.
The author’s name cramps the title. It should be raised slightly and, like the subtitle, could stand to be in bold, chiefly because it rests on a busy background. There doesn’t seem to be much choice but to use black here: red would confuse the author name with the title, and white would make it disappear into the background.
“Italy” is sized well, but the remainder of the title, “travel & adventures,” is too small. There is plenty of room to increase those words. They should be enlarged until “adventures” is the same width as “Italy.” That would make this part of the title look more like a title than a subtitle.
Overall: There is little to fault in this cover. It is the sort of professional design that is within the grasp of some amateurs. Everything is determined by the photo. If that were in hand, not a few amateurs could do as well with the text—and some of them even would remember to use the Oxford comma!