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High and Low

The author says:

Hi, I am the author of this book. This is not ready for publishing cover, but the design is (hopefully) complete.

About the book: This is a non-fiction memoir about a 600 mile hike whilst coming to terms with depression. The hike took place in 2015 in Scotland. Target audience both male and female, ages between 20 to 60, those who enjoy outdoor adventures, and those seeking help with depression.

Nathan says:

I don’t really have any complaints as far as the technical aspects; a thin gray border would keep the white of the cover from bleeding continuously onto the webpage background, and I’m not a fan of the mottled toning around the figure, but neither of those is a big concern.

The bigger problem is the mood — something about the whole layout and color scheme leans more toward “comedy” than “depression memoir.”  Obviously, since that’s a photograph of you at the time, you’re hampered in how much you can switch it around; my instinct would be to have a figure seen from the back, with a Scottish landscape in front of him fading into muted tones, and the words showing up white.

But maybe there’s more wry humor in here than you let on.  Or maybe the other commenters will have opinions at odds with mine.

(When I read your description, I turned to my wife and said, “I’m not sure that Scotland is what I’d hike across to battle depression, unless I was trying to replace it with poignant melancholy.”)

Other opinions?


  1. I think the mottling is just a layering artifact. Even by brute force, it can be taken care of easily by just zooming all the way in and coloring any non-white pixel white.
    If there is substantial humor in the book I’d agree that the cover is very good, with bright and vibrant lettering that contrasts with the morose visage of the central figure. I would consider swapping ‘HIGH’ to blue text and ‘AND LOW’ to orange text, as it might make the blue clothed figure pop more (being in-line with a bunch of orange letters).
    If the book is lacking in that avenue, something more sedate or melancholy like Nathan suggested might work better. If landscapes and such aren’t an option, simply changing the background to a very pale grey and the text to less vibrant shades of the same colors might prove an effective and simple fix. In this case fixing the mottling would become a good deal more important, as a more muted background I would expect to bring it out more.

    1. Kris:

      I think that the author is–rightly–trying to show the contrast, in BPD, between the manic (High) stages and the depressive (Low) stages, and although visually, that contrast would be good, the manic side should be “brighter” and “sunnier” (e.g., orange) and the depressive swings, well…the blues.

      Perhaps an outline of Scotland, behind the author/central figure, instead of the bluey mottling? Or even a soft, faded background image of the moors or the like?

      And I have no criticisms of the font, for a change. It’s simple, but I think it’s appropriate for the topic.

  2. Hmmm… Yes, on the whole, very good; all I have are a few technical nitpicks. As mentioned, that blank white background should be no problem for the physical book cover (assuming there’s going to be one), but the boundaries of the electronic book cover will be invisible on any sales page that uses a white background (which is most of them these days); I recommend a thin gray border, just enough to demarcate the boundaries in the thumbnail for your electronic edition. As for the mottling, it looks like an ugly editing artifact whether that’s what it actually is or not; either spread it out all over the cover for consistency’s sake (and as an alternative to giving the cover that gray border), or eliminate it entirely.

    That’s about all I see fit to say.

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