The designer says:
This is the description I received from the author:
“An unforgiving fog from the nation’s most polluted river rolls over a small Indiana town one Friday night in October of 1993. For those who were caught in its path, a new day has dawned onto who, or what they have become. Their bodies have changed and their diet has become “inconclusive,” until dead bodies surfaced at their docks on the inland river channel. For police chief Linton Derr, living in Fogstow, Indiana was a real dream. There was little to no crime. Everybody knew everyone else’s name. It made his job just a little bit easier and helped make the community one of the most desired places to live in the small riverside county that was once desolated by coal mines. But all it took was one big tragedy to put things into perspective. To bring all the skeletons out of the closet and force him to see that even in small towns, evil can walk amongst them. It could hide its deeds in the shadows and when the time was right . . .”
The author received some feedback saying the text was too bright and that the red needed to be toned down, but I think that makes it too murky and impossible to read at thumbnail size. I’ve also tried using white text, but that makes the cover look bland and colorless. It was also suggested that the hand be centered, but that didn’t look good at all. I was pretty confident with the cover until the feedback from other writers started coming in. But they’re not designers, and I put more stock into what you guys say.
Thanks for making my job easy! This is 90% of a good cover, and it’s a lot easier to pile on that last 10% when the majority of the heavy living has been done.
First, regarding the type color: Remember that you’re not limited to all-or-nothing on either red or white. I pulled your picture into Photoshop to try something, and:
I’d play with the width of the red border (which I made darker so it wouldn’t be so garish), and with using an off-white instead of pure white for the centers. I also added a bit of a drop shadow, which is always a quick fix if you’re worried the type still isn’t distinct enough.
Second: The hand. I think an easy fix there would be to tip the hand on the diagonal — say, maybe 20 or 25 degrees counterclockwise. You could thus center its main visual mass while avoiding the “wine glass” appearance of having every cover element centered on the same axis.
Third: You didn’t ask, but I have some issues with the font (Freebooter, yes?). It looks fine for the title — the matching over-extending descenders of “OF THE” is a bonus — but it looks awkward in the byline, where the Ts just seem out of place. Maybe using upper-and-lowercase instead of all caps would solve that problem.