Graeme

Writer's Blog

A place where I write about the writing life and writing projects in progress
 

June 06, 2013

  • Who’s 50 in Progress #3: Anatomy of a cover
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    Here’s my original idea for the cover of Who’s 50, which I gave to Carolyn McNellie who was working as the art director at ECW Press while their art director on maternity leave. Carolyn was also the cover designer.

    I wanted to do something similar to the Who is the Doctor cover which featured the eleventh Doctor running, but this time have a classic Doctor. I suggested the Fourth Doctor as he’s probably the most popular, with the tenth and eleventh Doctors also on the cover.

    I really wanted the image to, like Who is the Doctor have action in it, hence them running. I also was keen to have the action at a dutch angle, sort of like what I proposed we try on the Who is the Doctor cover.

    As with that one, I was ignored.

    In the end, I got the blue time vortex, the figures and the spot coloured item of clothing for each Doctor. The rest was sort of a series of compromises. Carolyn’s early effort looked like this…

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    We liked the scarf going through the zero, but I hated the grey background, which didn’t look time-vortexy enough and the font was not beloved by anyone. And I hated the figure drawing of Tom Baker in particular (yes, we know the show so well we can tell what looks like the actors even in sihlouette!) which looked more like a male model cosplaying as the fourth Doctor!

    The thing about books is that the covers aren’t decided upon by the authors and the designer. The publisher weighs in heavily as their marketing team has to promote the books (We’re lucky at ECW to have an amazing team that includes Erin, their thoughtful and dedicated Marketing Manager amongst others) and convince booksellers to stock it. ECW were keen to see that we not over tweak a cover they liked the look of, but were willing to give us our head to request specific changes. So after some tweaking, some presentations to booksellers and other things we were given this:

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    Which was a vast improvement. The logo was better, the figures looked more recognizably like the actors. We just asked for the figures to be slightly bigger, for Robert’s name to have a better font for the question mark (very improtant) and for Tom Baker’s scarf to be longer.

    The image which they’re using for promotion looks like this.

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    We’re assured Tom Baker’s scarf will be longer on the final book [Update: August 2013 - it is!]

    Some other odds and ends… I tried to suggest a logo that used the Pertwee / McGann Doctor Who logo in an interesting way…

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    And my plan B cover was this…

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    Which would have had 50 elements of Who done as an icon.

    Of course I probably was influenced by the cover of Behind the Sofa, a charitable anthology of fan memoirs, so perhaps I was lucky we didn’t go along that route!

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