Monday, January 13, 2014

Cover for my book on maternal genealogy

Up until now, I’ve been using the following cover for the typescript of my book on maternal genealogy, soon to be published by Gamone Press.

I’ve always been aware that this dull cover (based upon a Xmas card sent to me, 33 years ago, by an Australian uncle) was a temporary thing, and that it would need to be replaced, sooner or later, by a more attractive design. This morning, I created a couple of possible models for the cover, making use of Australian images that I can purchase (for some 50 euros) in high-resolution format (300 dots per inch).

Click to enlarge

In both cases, I’ve used the metaphor of a rural road, symbolizing, as it were, the paths of my pioneering ancestors in Braidwood and the Clarence River region. An observer can no doubt guess that "my mother's people" came from Ireland, but we cannot know, of course, what lies ahead, beyond the crest of the hill. A little bit of greenness by the roadside reinforces the title (without seeking to “explain” it, since there are several subtle reasons for my choice of this title).

You might say that the left-hand maquette is classical, whereas the right-hand maquette is more “modern”. I would appreciate any reactions to these models.

FIRST REACTION: Each new blog post that I publish gives rise automatically to a Twitter message from my @Skyvington account. And that's how I received my first reaction, from a friendly Canadian woman, Diane Rogers, whom I thank greatly.

SECOND REACTION: And here's another Twitter vote in favor of the right-hand model, from a Skeffington lady in Scotland. I thank her very much.

VARIATIONS: It's not all that easy to submit variations that might respect the suggestions of critics. Here, for example, is a version of the right-hand cover with a totally different typography:

The title—A Little Bit of Irish—is certainly highlighted here, and the readability of the cover text is surely maximal, but I have the impression that the heavy typography is being shoved down our throats. I prefer the lightweight style of the initial version with its intriguing font. To be honest, though, I simply don't know how artistically-gifted critics (that's not my case) end up evaluating questions of this kind. So, please, help !


  1. here comes the ex-art director - photo in right cover typifies the idea of the "space" in Australia, but I don't like the font you've used for the title. overall it's a clean design. I prefer the photo on the left, but the font is staid and heavy. Keep playing with it. :) your gut or heart will tell you when it's right, but in the meantime...look at the discussion you've created!!

  2. Narelle: Thanks for your evaluation. My son François (who knows Australia well) considers that the left-hand photo doesn't evoke Australia (it could even be my Vercors region in France), whereas the right-hand one seems to include eucalyptus trees. As for the fonts, I notice that many observers don't appreciate austere classical characters on a cover. I'm still working day and night on technical conversions (from RGB to CMYK, and from 72 dpi to 300 dpi) for the 254 graphic items in my book, while trying to readjust everything into the new Full Metric Royal Octavo format: 6.14 inches wide by 9.21 inches tall. So, I still have a week or so before having to make up my mind about the cover design. I believe that all this effort will finally be worthwhile in a sense that could extend well beyond my personal preoccupations. This whole experiment in genealogical publishing should interest countless family-historians faced with the same kind of challenge: How do I transform my research findings into a down-to-earth book that I can send off to relatives and friends, or even sell?