First and foremost, let me greet all of you a HAPPY NEW YEAR! ^_^ I hope 2017 will be fruitful, productive and blessed for all of us! <3
Secondly, I will admit I dropped the ball on this one. Design Talk should’ve been done ages ago, but ~things happened, so everything kinda got put in the backburner. (I know, excuses.) But anyway, Design Talk is back–this time featuring a quick interview with Tania Arpa!
I’m proud to say I had the opportunity to have a book cover designed by Tania back in 2015 (why does that seem so long ago?) when I won the #StrangeLit Long-ish Form Challenge. She was the designer responsible for the cover of The “Forget You” Brew, and is also credited for some of Jay E. Tria and Mina V. Esguerra‘s book covers. Suffice to say, if you’re familiar with #romanceclass books, you’re probably going to know who Tania Arpa is. Interview after the jump!
On her website, Tania describes herself as a web master, artist, writer, and cake eater, but she is also a resource speaker who holds training workshops on topics like new media, social media, marketing, and book design. She has been designing books since 2012, and while she’s mostly known for her romance book cover designs, she also has cookbooks and one non-fiction title in her portfolio.
What’s your design style like?
Most of my cover design work are typography and photography-based. Because I can’t draw to save my life. I try to create book covers that are eye-catching and reveal something about the book underneath. My guiding philosophy is that a book cover should sell the book first and foremost, but I also want the reader to look back at the cover after reading the story and say, “Hey, so that’s why the cover looks like this.” When I do book interiors, I want everything clean and minimalist. I want the inside pages to be laid out so that it enhances the experience of reading the book.
What do you think makes a good/bad cover design?
I think the most egregious sin a book designer can do when creating a cover is to misrepresent the book. Also, a good cover design should sell the book. That’s it’s main purpose. If it’s ugly, it fails. If the design elements are badly put together (too many different font faces, clumsy cropping), it fails. And — because so many readers look up books online these days — if you can’t read the author’s name and book title in a thumbnail image, it fails.
How do you go about creating a cover design? What processes are involved?
First I’ll get the author to describe the book to me. Then I read the book. If it’s a romance, I’ll go look at stock photos and pick a few I can use. Then I’ll make a few (usually two or three) different design studies and let the author pick which one she wants. After that, it’s I’ll do final tweaks and polishing until the author is happy with the design. With the one business book I did the cover for, I just played around with typefaces and some graphics I drew on photoshop.
What can you say has been the most challenging project you’ve done so far? What was challenging about it?
I have to say, none of the projects I’ve done stands out as the most challenging. Although when I have to do something tricky like take a model and put him in a different background, or change the model’s hair color, it takes a little more time. I actually like it when a project presents a new challenge I’d never had to deal with before because it means I’ll learn a new skill.
If you’d like Tania to create your next book cover, shoot her an email at email@example.com. To save time, she says, interested authors should include in their email a description of the book, its target audience, and the blurb.
Thank you, Tania, for taking the time to answer these questions! Happy new year! ^_^