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Time With God

The author says:

The book is designed for the Christian who longs to love God with all their heart but needs a little help. This is the first in a series and focuses on spending time with God in prayer.

Time with God CreateSpace Cover3a

Time with God CreateSpace Cover3a

Nathan says:

There’s nothing wrong with what you have here.  (Well, it does seem like a lot of text on the back cover, but…)  But it would be easy to make it so much better.

If I were to look at the cover without reading the text, I’d assume it’s a nonfiction book (check) of an instructional variety (check) about time management (sorta check).  But I would assume it to be dry and functional.  Where’s the joy?

Here’s what I’d do:

  • Add some slight texture to the blue background.  I’d probably play with it so it was really only visible at the edges.
  • Change the font in at least a couple of instances — the word “God” and the byline.  It doesn’t have to be a big, flowery cursive that’s hard to read, but something with a bit more elegance and beauty.

Other suggestions?

Comments

  1. I don’t like it. If it were an actual textbook it would be fine, but nothing about this says “spiritual” to me, and nothing would make me inclined to pick it up if I didn’t need it for a class. (Yes, there’s folded hands and a Bible, but at thumbnail size it just looks like miscellaneous books and hands resting on a desk.)

    Not that every book about prayer has to be script fonts and light breaking through clouds, but you ought to follow the basic conventions of the genre so people have a clue what it’s about: Lightweight serif (or script) fonts instead of bold sans serif and muted neutral palettes instead of primaries.

    As for the photo, I get that this is what your prayer time actually looks like, but prayer doesn’t, by and large, look all that special, since it’s essentially an inward activity. So we want a picture that evokes a sense of closeness with God, and yes, that may involve idyllic forests, light from the heavens, or some other well-trodden image type.

  2. I think the picture on the cover should emphasize the human aspect. Right now the person’s hands look lost amidst the clutter on the desk. (And maybe from the description that’s what you’re aiming for.) A close-up of hands clasped in prayer, maybe in golden streams of light from above – something that shows the joy of being close to God. And I agree with Nathan that it looks like a dry book about time management. For me the blue color seems kinda blah. Don’t be afraid to be bold with the graphics.

  3. Working with inspirational/spiritual literature is tricky, and it’s been a while since we had some of it on here. Suffice to say, as with covers for other kinds of instructional literature, your cover’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: its layout makes the book’s genre and purpose instantly recognizable even before you read any of the text (e.g. I think even a Russian who doesn’t know a letter of our Latin alphabet could instantly grasp this book’s intentions just from looking at the cover). However, this instant recognition also makes it awfully generic; you’ll find hundreds of others a lot like it on the racks of any Christian bookstore. To make yours stand out, you’re going to need something a lot more eye-catching than this.

    The others here have suggested improvements to your font and pictures. Might I suggest a different color scheme? Blue and yellow contrast nicely since they’re direct opposites to each other on the color wheel, but if contrast is the only advantage, one could just as easily use black and white to the same effect. You need something more than mere contrast.

    Incidentally, from looking more closely at your portrait on the back cover, I can’t help wondering whether it got caught in the color filtering on your graphics editor: I’ve never seen anyone’s face turn such an angry shade of purple even when he was apoplectic. The purple thumbnails on the praying hands on the front cover likewise look like something one might see on a victim of cyanide poisoning. Maybe the pictures should have a bit less blue or a bit more red and green to them?

    To this end, I’ve been experimenting a bit with different color schemes on your cover, and re-balancing the hues of your pictures and logos. One of the questions that occurred to me while doing this was “What do the various colors symbolize in Christianity?” Black, I know, typically symbolizes sin and death; white stands for holiness, purity, and cleansing from one’s sins (courtesy of Isaiah 1:18); red stands for the blood of Christ to effect that cleansing (also courtesy of Isaiah 1:18, and Hebrews 9:22); green tentatively stands for new life (not strictly Biblical, but the legend of how firs and pines came to be used as Christmas trees leans heavily on this interpretation).

    As for the colors blue and yellow? That depends on who you ask: I’ve heard of blue described as the color of water (as used in water baptism) or Heaven (as in the heavens, as in the skies), and yellow as the color of royalty (as in gold) or sunshine (in your soul). In short, these connections are all rather ambiguous and tentative. In a broader context, I suppose one might viscerally think of blue and yellow as symbolizing lightning and therefore electricity (a.k.a. power), but that’s not an association everyone’s going to make, particularly among the older Christian youth and adults toward which your book is presumably targeted.

    As with all instructional guides, one thing you want your cover to do is tout the benefits of the activity you’re advocating. With prayer, the difficulty of this is that most of the benefits are abstract; closeness to God and an improved spiritual walk and better relations with your Christian friends and relatives are all undoubtedly good things, but they’re somewhat difficult to depict on a book cover. As such, I’m not sure what to tell you to show on the front, other than maybe the classic picture of radiant beams shining down from Heaven on a guy while he’s praying; it’s a bit cliche, but oftentimes cliches are used because they work.

    In the meantime, to get back to the color scheme, I’ve put up one of my experiments with your cover for you to view: a bright white-on-red number to symbolize the redemptive and cleansing power of prayer. In the old days, as we briefly discussed with one of the previous submitters on here, this much red might have had some unfortunate associations with communism; but with the fall of the Soviet Union and gradual fading of Maoism in China, we have also lately experienced the long-awaited departure of these unfortunate associations and a welcome resurgence of their use in symbolizing other things. Have a look: can’t you just feel the power of that bright arterial red coursing through your bloodstream, and that blazing white gripping at your eyes?

    Maybe symbolism of blood and purity aren’t quite the effects you’re seeking; maybe you’re looking for something more serene. Still, I think “slaughterhouse religion” is one of Judeo-Christianity’s best aspects. Peace, in Biblical terms, derives not so much from an absence of violence as from the protective power of God’s presence: Israel had a lot of violent neighbors, and prayers for peace were mostly along the lines of “Please do not allow our many enemies to slaughter our men, rape our women, enslave our children, and burn our cities.” So too, if you want to emphasize the power of prayer, you should be thinking in terms of peace through strength, and not merely the absence of turmoil.

    In broader terms, the lifeblood that the color red symbolizes stands for strength and vigor as well as redemption. I think your prospective readers could use a little strength and vigor in their prayer lives, don’t you?

    1. pssst… yellow isn’t directly across the colour wheel from yellow. Orange is across from blue and purple is across from yellow. ^-^

      Blue does look nice with yellow though.

      1. No, that’s the color wheel my art teacher in elementary school taught me, but that’s not the actual color wheel of nature.

        The primary colors of light are red, green, and blue while the secondary colors (which are also the primary colors of printing) are cyan, magenta, and yellow. Yellow, being a combination of red and green, is directly across the wheel from blue. Purple is a slightly darkened shade of magenta. Orange is a tertiary color between red and yellow. If you generate a color gradient between blue and yellow, you’ll see this for yourself, as the middle color between them is a neutral gray, consisting of all three primary colors at half their potential brightness.

        1. True, I should have been more specific.

          I find using the RGB spectrum Colour wheel to be counter productive to design as blue and yellow are basically the only complimentary colours in that wheel that don’t make me cringe in horror.

          Lime Green and Magenta… together at last!

          I find the RYB colour wheel much better at finding eye pleasing colour combinations.

          To each their own. 🙂

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