Case Study 6

Title: The Uber Fights

Author: Connor J. McGee

Designer: Ebook Launch

Genre: Politics

Graphics: It isn’t often that a book about current events has a cover that immediately tells the story—or at least a good part of it. Here we have ten Yellow Cabs surrounding a dull-gray SUV. They aren’t going to let it go anywhere, and that’s the theme of the book: attempts by established cab companies to undercut, through regulation, the new competition.

Yellow necessarily is the predominant color here, so that implies a contrasting and unpretentious background. The circular gradient is fine; it draws attention to the SUV, and it allows the upper and lower text to be set against a background that might have been too dark for the vehicles.

Typography: Let’s start at the top: the subtitle is weak. The first problem is the size of the text. It’s illegible at thumbnail size, which is a pity, since its words offer more of a sense of conflict than does the title.

Why are the words “inside story” italicized? Italics make those words look like the title of a book. If they’re meant for contrast, what would be their opposite—the “outside story”? Then there’s the small problem of “vs” not having a period. There’s no reason not to provide it one.

I’d recommend shortening the subtitle to something like “regulators battle rogue apps.” This uses an action verb, and the lesser word count would allow for larger text.

The title isn’t particularly engaging, and it could stand to stand out: I’d make it a brighter white. I’d use the same white for the shortened subtitle and for the author name. Putting the latter in yellow draws attention away from the cabs and makes the author name look like it might be intended as a base for the circled vehicles. (Squint at the cover and you might see a yellow flower sprouting from the yellow ground.)

Overall: No one would call this an exciting cover, but it’s clear at a glance what the story line is, even if the subtitle is unreadable. If you have to choose between being understood and being pretty, being understood is preferable, at least if your goal is to sell books.