Case Study 19

Title: Method Acting for Writers

Author: Lisa Hall-Wilson

Designer: Lisa Hall-Wilson

Genre: Writing

Graphics: Perhaps the first thing you notice about this cover is that it doesn’t look like a cover. It looks like floating text-plus-image. The problem is the white background.

On this page, and at the book’s product page at Amazon, the text and image seem unanchored. If a cover uses a white background, the thumbnail will look odd unless there is a thin rule around the four sides. Of course, that rule wouldn’t be used in the print version; for print, a white cover is fine. But for an ebook cover or for the product page image of a paperback? No.

The stock image doesn’t suggest acting and doesn’t suggest writing, and it doesn’t quite suggest layering either. It looks like stacked fruit, not layered fruit. I suppose a sliced onion (which everyone recognizes as having layers) would have sent undesired signals, so this kind of image might be the best that was easily available.

Typography: As a rule, one should avoid ending a title line with a preposition, but in this case it might be okay. If “for” were put on the third line, that line would be the widest of the three, and some may think that having the middle line be widest—as here—is more aesthetically pleasing, so let it pass.

The subtitle needs help. The text is too small. If “Using” were moved to the second line, the two lines would be of nearly equal length. The adjusted lines would allow the subtitle to be enlarged to something approximating half the height of the title. As it stands, the title and subtitle are too far apart in height.

Aiming for a ratio of 2:1 usually seems pleasing, especially when the title is all caps and the subtitle is mainly lowercase.

Overall: This cover is functional. There is nothing greatly wrong about it—but nothing greatly right either.