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Project Team Leadership and Communication

The designer says:

This is a textbook designed for students and business professionals who are entering into their first project leadership role. Chapters cover the basics of leadership and team dynamics, project fundamentals/management, stakeholder communication, and some common pitfalls to avoid. This cover should target students and early-career business professionals equally. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Nathan says:

The two great things about textbooks:

  1. They’re not impulse buys.  An instructor, department head, etc. will carefully evaluate what text to use for his classes.  That means that the cover doesn’t have to carry as much weight in the persuasion process.
  2. Selling one individual on the book means that dozens of copies just got sold!

Because of those factors, as long as a textbook cover provides a clear title and space on the back to describe its merits, the rest is gravy.

That said, what I would be tempted to do here — and this may be just me — is add some red or orange to a few of the icons on the front, just for variety and a touch of warmth.

Other comments?


  1. Are you doing a single-color cover to save on costs?

    Either way, I think it’s good as-is. It’s clean and professional and that’s really all that matters. A bright spot of contrasting color would look nice, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessary.

    I’d widen the letter spacing on the byline so the letters don’t overlap.

  2. I like it. I think too much contrasting color would be distracting, but making one or two of the icons red or orange would make it pop. As it is, though, it’s still great.

  3. If one did add color orange would be the better choice, I would avoid red. A lot of talk is made in some circles about red being a trigger color that heightens aggression, and hence is contrary to team building. True or false, managerial types like our theoretical course instructor sometimes tend toward snap decisions and collecting such odd bits of hearsay. It has some chance of poisoning the sale prior to the book being honestly vetted.

  4. I just wanted to thank you for your feedback. I am taking the rare self-publishing route for this book, and designing the cover (in Adobe Illustrator – a learning process all in itself) has been surprisingly fun as well as a respite for writers block.

    making one or two of the icons red or orange would make it pop

    I’ve had the same thought, in fact previous drafts (which were significantly different in other ways as well) had some red/orange present. Any suggestions as to which icons/how to do this without too much distraction? (I can move icons around, make new ones, etc.)

    I’d widen the letter spacing on the byline so the letters don’t overlap.

    I will make sure this is correct when changing back to my name. On that subject, I meant no offense by leaving it off, but my name is unique and very “Google-able” – I’ve not announced this textbook to my colleagues yet and would rather wait before doing so.

    Thanks again for your feedback!

    1. Usually, when I’m trying to do something for contrast, around blue, you either have to use a much different shade of blue–which you’ve already got–or you end up with the ubiquitous yellow or red. I try to do a lot of matching, and shoot for a creamy-orange shade, what I call “eau de Creamsicle.” I’ll start with a shade of orange that doesn’t make me want to puke, against the blue, and then I’ll tint it down (add white in increasing amounts) until I get the shade I want. If you spend some time with it, you can get nice contrast that isn’t too harsh or too boring.

      (I have a friend that somehow manages to do this with pink. She’s a designer, I’m not. You might try a fuschia and do the same tint-down-to-Creamsicle approach. In fact, the more I think about a pink approach, the more I like it.)

      Hope that helps. The rest of the gang here will be more helpful on color/location than I am. 🙂

  5. It’s good and clear and I love the technical icons. It’s the white background that is the weakness for me. Personally I’d experiment with a rich dark blue and change the fonts to suit. Somehow white gives the impression of emptiness.

  6. I can’t really see much of anything wrong with the cover, but I do recommend trying a few different variations on the color scheme: try splitting and rearranging the color channels, maybe, or going gray-scale and then colorizing it. When you’ve got a variation of this cover in every color of the rainbow, try polling ten or so associates of yours to see which color scheme they like best, and then go with whichever they pick. (Personally, my vote would probably go for Hitch’s orange-on-white “Creamsicle” scheme; but I’ve noticed that not everybody likes what I like these days.)

    What’s trendy in business literature changes like the weather; one year, it’s fluorescent colors, the next it’s earth tones, and then it’s something else after that. What you want for your book is to find out what’s trendy this year, or whenever you release it. That goes for the graphics too: those symbols on hexagons are looking pretty trendy right now, so they’ll do fine for your book, but you’d best publish soon before the trends change again.

    1. (Personally, my vote would probably go for Hitch’s orange-on-white “Creamsicle” scheme; but I’ve noticed that not everybody likes what I like these days.)

      Obviously a man of taste. 🙂 I do think that the Creamsicle approach works for various colors, so it’s something that can be tried with various shades. I too like the orange approach, but as RK says, not everybody likes what I do, either.

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