I loved this shot of my son anyway. While his dad and I were enjoying the sunset, he was happily engrossed in the music coming from his iPod. It's certainly the most cheerful of my interpretations of the challenge. Image: Su Leslie, 2012.

I love this shot of my son. While his dad and I were enjoying the sunset, he was happily engrossed in the music coming from his iPod. It’s certainly the most cheerful of my interpretations of the challenge. Image: Su Leslie, 2012.

I’ve been enjoying Lucile (bridging lacunas) and Desley’s (Musings of a Frequent Flying Scientist) weekly Cover Makeover challenge, but hadn’t really thought about joining until last week.

I had a long (and quite frustrating) conversation with a colleague who wanted me to do quite a bit of (pro bono) work on a brochure re-design — on the basis that it was “only changing the cover shot and updating the text a bit.” In trying to explain that design is a lot more than slapping a photo on the page and adding a few words (assuming we could even source an image of the subject she was suggesting), I realised I needed to adopt the writer’s maxim;Β  “show, don’t tell”.

So I created a few alternative cover designs for The Invention of Solitude and talked through “my working out” with my colleague. I’m not going to bore you with all the iterations, but will share my “final” designs.

The least successful cover -- but the most successful teaching moment with my colleague. Image: Tom Gray, 2011.

The least successful cover — but the most successful teaching moment with my colleague. Image: Tom Gray, 2011.

The above is, I think, the least successful cover (and so the most useful for my teaching purpose). I like the image, which my son took of me a few years ago, but struggled to make the required text fit the space — while being visible on a background of both dark and light.

... and at the last minute! I shot this image at the weekend. It captured a different interpretation, and I couldn't resist using it. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

Boats moored off Birkenhead, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

This was my “late entry”– the image shot at the weekend. It is the closest to the mental image that the book’s title conjured for me.

What do you think?

This post was written for the Photo Rehab Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Makeover #4.


Photo Rehab Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Makeover #4

31 thoughts on “Photo Rehab Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Makeover #4

  1. Fabulous entries, Su. Three different perspectives and all well executed. If I had to choose I would be taking number 1 and 3 as the winners.
    Thank you so much for joining the challenge and brining your talent and skills to the Photo Rehab. Much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Lucile. I definitely think No. 2 was the weakest, but as I mentioned in the post, it was VERY useful for making the point to my colleague about design being a skill that should be acknowledged and rewarded.


    • Thanks Raewyn. I was so unhappy in that photo. We were on holiday and I’m not sure why, but the boys had really wound me up and I just so wanted to be alone. I was sitting at a lookout as some waterfall, with people all around, longing for solitude. πŸ™‚


  2. I love that photo of you, but I agree that it does present some layout problems. I love 1 and 3, but would go with #3 for 2 reasons. The first is that I agree with Susan, above. The red boat shows a distancing, etc. The second reason is that while your son is alone, he is still “plugged in.” Most people’s view of solitude, I think, is distancing yourself from the bombardment of noise, as well as rush, stress, traffic, etc. We all have different ways of obtaining solitude, of course, and it is certainly possible to draw within and go into a meditative state even in a busy park in NYC. But I think that the image that most people have of solitude is to get away from the rush and clamor of everyday. Disclaimer: I am not familiar with the author, let alone his book. But if I were looking at cover #1, I would assume that the book would be about creating solitude in the midst of everything electronic. In fact, that may be what the book is about, but I would find the first cover a little confusing. On the other hand, I could just find it intriguing, and it might make me pick up the book and buy it, but there you have it……… my own confusion reigning supreme. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Hannah. Thanks for such a thoughtful response. I’m really intrigued by everyone’s different perspectives on this. I haven’t read the book either, but Ithink #3 probably marries up with “judge the book by its cover” expectations people browsing might have. I suspect that the shot of my son might make it look like teen fiction. I realised this morning that I’d also had another shot in mind for the cover, but forgot about it. I might have to hunt it out and see what people think. It’s probably the most abstract!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hadn’t thought about the possible teen fiction aspect of cover #1, but you might be right about that. I’ll be interested in the more abstract one as well. Is this a project you are doing for work, or trying to demonstrate that graphic design and layout only *looks* simple to an outside observer? [Which is actually the aim of any artistic endeavor, I think. If we have properly prepared, the audience thinks it was easy. ;)]

        Liked by 1 person

      • It was a happy coincidence that the Photo Rehab Challenge happened to coincide with my discussions about “just” updating a brochure. The assumption was that it would be a five minute job to replace one image with another. I was trying to demonstrate that design requires time and skill. But of course you are right, good design often looks so “right” it seems effortless.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry I missed this post. Great entries!! I love the first one I think. The last one is a gorgeous scene but the first one looks like a professional book cover to me. Excellent.
    Now I’m curious about the second one – I love that you used this challenge to explain your workflow to your colleague and I’m intrigued that it was the one that was he light bulb for them. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Desley. It was because I had so much trouble making the text fit around the image — and actually the photo itself was the wrong shape for a real, standard fiction book cover. My colleague wasn’t getting that design involves lots of elements working together and that no matter how much you might like an image, and how well it might seem to convey an idea or a story, if it can’t be made to fit in the space that’s available, the overall design won’t work. The other two shots were relatively easy to add titles to and turn them from photographs to book covers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand. I was trying to do something as simple as finding a header image and text combination that worked for my new blog theme. It took me hours. Thanks for explaining. I’m so glad you were able to get your point across to your colleague.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Photo Rehab Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Makeover #5 and Wrap up #4 | lucile de godoy

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