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Life Is Not Enough

The author says:

Slightly above average author Bob Brown, wrote about understanding you, others and the meaning of life in his book, Personal Wisdom. Life Is Not Enough is the backstory to that book; how Brown decided to seek to discover the meaning of life and explain what it is. This memoir describes the moment that stimulated this search, his intellectual and emotional guides, and what he learned over his fifty years of looking. Audience is older adults.




Nathan says:

The first thing I’d say, from looking at the thumbnail, is that the color scheme is too murky. It doesn’t have to be flashy — a memoir shouldn’t look like a K-Mart flyer — but it all kind of fades to gray.  A slightly deeper background color will also let the title be read more easily at thumbnail size.

The second thing I’d say is that the background detracts more than it adds.  I can only tell (guess?) what it is at thumbnail size; all full size, it’s just a digitized something or other. But it’s distinct enough that it draws attention, and then frustrating the viewer who doesn’t see any point in it.  If the original image you worked from is big enough, then I’d say to try again and render it only just blurry enough to keep it in the background from the headshots and text, but not enough so that it’s a mystery at full size.  (If the image you worked from isn’t big enough, find another image.  Obviously, it must not be important to have this specific image, because if it were, you’d let us see what it is.)  While you’re at it, look at the most visually complex area of the background image; it’s right behind the title, again distracting from it.  Rearrange those two elements so they’re not competing against each other.

The third thing I’d say is that the subtitle (or, as it were, supertitle) font should be replaced; it’s readable, yes, but it’s also so common that it looks like it was chosen without thought.  (And look at how the letters of “GUY” are mashed together.)  And while I understand that the box around the byline is to call attention to it and separate it from the background, that would really only make sense if the background were something that shouldn’t be obscured; instead, I’d recommend you enlarge the byline from side to side and center it, and let its greater size make the box unnecessary.

Well, that’s enough from me. Anyone else?


  1. The background isn’t working. It took a while to realize what it was, but that made it worse. Maybe the scene is intentionally blurred for some conceptual significance, but it’s instead suggestive of someone not taking the trouble to find a sharp image.

    The title should stand out better; the background is hurting this. With the E overlapping a photo, that just looks like a mistake. The same goes for the GU of GUY.

    The three photos need to be larger. There is a lot more room to work with; I’d use it.

  2. If I were the author, I would start from scratch. I would decide what elements are really essentials then build around them.

    First, I would question the choice of pictures. I understand the concept of a tryptic in this design, but the middle picture doesn’t match the other 2 in quality. My eyes keep focusing in it. Since it’s a book targetted for older adults, I would keep only the present age picture and put all other pictures inside the book if need be.

    Second, I would question the sub (or super) title. It’s… awkward. Maybe it has a significant meaning to the author and it probably needs more explanation. But as it is? It sounds a bit like… hum… self-praise. (Yeah, I’m canadian, so self-praise is off-putting and inelegant to us. Sue me:)) Seriously, I would think twice before picking a book with this kind of subtitle. It raises too many questions that are better left unanswered in a marketing point of view.

    Third, typography. I would choose something more elegant. And a color palette that doesn’t need the adding of a box to make it pop. I can’t help but to question the use of teal for the author’s name and why it was so important that he felt he needed to add this box since it doesn’t fit with the background.

    1. I am also Canadian and was having trouble deciding how to phrase that thanks.

      That subtitle is very off-putting. It reads like a put down, as it sounds like he is just superior than everyone else. What is he above average in?

      If it said something like “an above average in height” or “fun-loving” or “something” I would be far more inclined to take this book off the shelf.

  3. Hmmm, I’m going to have to say this is a below average cover, for many of the reasons already listed. Dull colour, low quality/unrecognizable background image, badly kerned text, overlapping serifs, hum drum fonts, boxed byline.

    I get the idea behind the three photos, it shows a progression of life, I think it’s appropriate. But I do believe they could be better utilized. Possibly by enlarging and/or changing the placement… not sure… hard to say without playing with it.

    I’m not particularly put off by the supertitle, it seems it might have been an attempt at humor, but if you are gonna pull that off, you’d best have an above average cover.

  4. Fantastic. It is enlightening to see my cover through the eyes of people who actually know what they’re doing. Your comments have been clear, thoughtful, helpful and supportive. I have learned a lot. Thank you.

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