Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cover Design: Funeral Food

I won’t make you sit through the whole presentation to see the “final” cover design for Funeral Food. So without any further ado… (scroll down a bit)


In (1990) my mother (Kathleen Taylor) started writing what would be the first of six murder mystery novels then titled The Missionary Position and then later Funeral Food.  The mysteries are set around an overweight waitress named Tory Bauer in a fictional South Dakota town called Delphi. The books were originally published by Avon and had a good run. Many years have gone by now and the books are all out of print and the rights have since reverted back to my mother.

After some success of my own, publishing my books on the Kindle and Nook formats; I started nagging my mother to do the same with her books. After all, they were just sitting there and she wasn’t profiting from any of the used book sales that she was tracking on Amazon and e-Bay. It wasn’t until a friend offered to convert her books (as a university class project) that she finally decided to go forward.

Soon after she made the decision she asked me to design the covers for each book. Of course I agreed, it would have been silly not to. I took a week or so to think about a design theme that could be used for each of the covers. The design had to be flexible enough to allow for the individual story to shine through but also cohesive enough that when you saw the cover you would know it was a Tory Bauer Mystery.

I settled on these constants:

1. There would be some kind of frame that would draw your attention towards the middle of the cover. The frame will have something to do with the story line.

2. The elements in the middle would set the tone for and possibly give a clue about the story. The words “A Tory Bauer Mystery” would be found inside the frame, also.

3. The title would be at the top and the author’s name would be at the bottom.

4. The elements on the outside would be photographic but formatted to look like they were cutouts floating above the frame.

The beginning sketch for this cover design wasn’t strong at all.  I thought the frame might be a church or a cross cutout but quickly discarded those ideas.  Then I thought I would use photographs of my hometown as elements inside the frame.  Those elements were just too busy. 

At this point I was starting to worry if I had agreed to something I couldn’t do.  I tried umpteen different versions and didn’t like any of them.  I knew things weren’t going well when my wife exclaimed “Oh! That is really different”.  I paraphrased there a little but I got the hint.

Then I had a breakthrough.  I was hoping that if I put this away for a day or two the answer would come to me and it did.  Square the frame, design a font based on popular diner fonts and limit (I mean really limit) the number images inside the frame.  And this was the first “final” version.

1 comment:

  1. It has been fascinating watching this process! I knew you would come up with something perfect, not only for this book, but for the entire series! Thank you!